Ninety million adult Americans have now taken up some form of exercise in pursuit of physical fitness. Most of them will be surprised to know that, contrary to popular belief:
•Active people smoke as much as those who get no regular exercise.
•The physically active and inactive report the same amount of sleep.
•Women are taking up some form of exercise at a more rapid rate than men.
•Twenty-three percent of the general public say that nothing would be likely to get them involved in any form of physical activity.
These are some of the findings from a study done by Pollster Lou Harris for Perrier. Based on 1,510 interviews and a telephone sample of 180 runners, the poll found that while 59% of the American adult population are involved in some sort of exercise, only 15% can be classified as "High Actives," whose favorite sports are calisthenics, running and basketball. Those not so zealous are more partial to bowling, swimming and walking, which is still the most popular form of exercise.
On the basis of his poll, Harris also says that 5% of the chair-bound "Non-actives" will take up jogging in 1979 but that the jogging craze is slowing down. The rougher contact sports also have fallen out of favor with parents of both sons and daughters. Parents are one of the strongest influences on physical fitness, and Harris predicts that if they continue to have a strong impact on the sports their children take up, football, boxing and wrestling may be on the way out.
WIN AND LOSE
What are the chances of playing in just two losing NFL games in a season, yet not participating in the playoffs? Ask Greg McCrary.
A backup tight end and special-teams player, McCrary is a four-year veteran who was traded from Atlanta to Washington at the end of the 1978 exhibition season. He was on the Redskin roster for six games—all of them victories—before he was waived, sat idle for one week and then joined San Diego in time to play in its last nine games.
The Chargers closed by winning seven of those contests, giving McCrary a personal 13-2 record (.867) to contemplate while he watched the Super Bowl. On television, of course.
ALL FOULED UP
Mike Rhodes, a sophomore guard at Vanderbilt, was being congratulated. The Southeastern Conference had just released its weekly basketball statistics and Rhodes was leading the league in free-throw accuracy with a nifty 85.2%.
Then somebody pointed out that while Rhodes was leading the SEC, he ranked only second on the Vanderbilt campus. Ann Morrow, a 5-7 junior on Vandy's women's team, had hit on 26 of 27 attempts from the line, for a spectacular 96.3%.
Ben Crenshaw, who won $108,305 on the PGA Tour last season, obviously knows something about greens. That may explain why the Austin, Texas telephone directory lists his occupation as "Professional Grocer."
On Valentine's Day, Johnny Longden will celebrate his 72nd birthday. Alan Balch, the marketing director at Santa Anita, wanted a dynamite idea to promote a Longden Day for the famous horseman. "What better way than the world's longest birthday cake?" he thought. A long one for Longden. One furlong long, in fact. An eighth of a mile. Two hundred and twenty yards.
"It seemed like a great idea at the time," says track caterer Donald Williams, indicating that the thing had turned into a giant pain in the pan. "I honestly don't know if we can pull it off," he said.
The recipe is simple enough: 5,256 eggs, 750 pounds of flour, half a ton of sugar and 375 pounds of shortening. Oh, yes, and lemon flavoring to taste. But the logistics are another matter. Williams' plans read like a Mission: Impossible script. The cake will be baked in downtown Los Angeles in three-foot sections, an operation that will take 24 hours. While the bakers are baking, workers at the track will be setting 90 eight-foot tables end to end outside the rail in the grandstand, stretching from the eighth pole to the finish line. The tables must then be leveled by carpenters to prevent the cake from separating.
At 4 a.m., the cake will be loaded into vans in eight-foot sections and transported to the track. Pink icing will be used as mortar to join the sections. Seventy-two candles will be placed eight feet apart atop the cake, which will be six inches wide, except for the middle 20 feet, which will be 24 inches wide. At 11:10 a.m., 36 track employees will march out and light the candles.
As yet, no one has figured out how Longden will be able to blow out 72 candles spaced eight feet apart in a single breath. He could mount a horse and recreate his many rides at Santa Anita with a stirring stretch run while brandishing a candlesnuffer rather than a whip. More likely, the snuffing will be performed by the Los Angeles weather, which has provided the track with 9.06 inches of rain since the opening of the meet on Dec. 28. Anyone for sponge cake?
The Pittsburgh-Dallas Super Bowls (X and XIII) qualify as two of the more stirring games in the series, but they have been even more meaningful for James and Sally Smeaton of Ridgefield, Conn.
The Smeatons' first son, James R., was born on Jan. 18, 1976, the day of Super Bowl X, while his brother Brian arrived Jan. 21, 1979, almost as Super Bowl XIII kicked off.
The Smeatons have yet to announce whether or not they are going to root for Pittsburgh and Dallas next season.
With the exception of the New York Jets, every team in the NFL lost players to free agentry when their contracts expired last week. Leading the list of 142 players who can now receive offers from any other club in the league are those in the following fanciful lineup.
Offense: Wide Receivers—Ahmad Rashad, Minnesota; Larry Walton, Buffalo. Tight End—Jackie Smith, Dallas. Tackles—John Vella, Oakland; Roger Finnie, St. Louis. Guards—Reggie McKenzie, Buffalo; Noah Jackson, Chicago. Center—Tom Banks, St. Louis. Quarterback—Mike Phipps, Chicago. Running Backs—Larry Csonka, Giants; Wilbur Jackson, 49ers. Kicker—Garo Yepremian, Miami.
Defense: Front Four—"Too Tall" Jones, Dallas; Jeff Yeates, Atlanta; Dave Rowe, Baltimore; Roger Stillwell, Chicago. Linebackers—Stan White, Baltimore; Fulton Kuykendall, Atlanta; Rick Middleton, San Diego. Secondary—Levi Johnson, Detroit; Willie Buchanon, Green Bay; Paul Krause, Minnesota; Ken Houston, Washington. Punter—Herman Weaver, Seattle.
Not a bad team.
It is the custom at all NBA and most college basketball games to provide the working press with play-by-play information sheets at the end of each quarter or half.
A typical entry might read: "3:40—Smith, 20-foot jumper; left of key. 51-49."
But the running account of the Long Beach State vs. Cal State-Fullerton game has set a new standard by including this comment: "16:05—[Coach] Bobby Dye took off his coat."
TIME AND A HALF
The Continental Basketball Association falls far short of the NBA in all respects except all-star games. In contrast to the NBA game played Sunday in Detroit, last month's CBA contest may have been the longest all-star game in professional sports history.
The game matched the Rochester Zeniths against an all-star squad from the CBA's seven other teams. At the half, with the score 68-59 Rochester, a power failure halted play. The next day the game was continued, but although the two teams picked up where they had left off, at least insofar as the score was concerned, they decided to play a full regulation game, or four 12-minute quarters. This they managed without incident, the Zeniths winning the six-quarter affair 182-168. Rochester's Andre McCarter, who had 42 points, 25 assists and seven steals, was the game's MVP; Ron Davis led the All-Stars with 47 points.
RELIEF IN SIGHT
Even though the Chicago White Sox no longer schedule Ladies' Days, owner Bill Veeck says that women are coming to the ball park in greater numbers than ever. Thirty-six percent of the million and a half fans attending Comiskey Park last year were women. "Not only that," says Veeck, "we've found that they drink beer." As a consequence, Veeck has announced the opening of a new ladies' room behind the leftfield stands.
THAT OLD GANG OF MINE
The United States Golf Association runs 10 national championships each year. Eight of them are for amateurs only; two, the U.S. men's and women's Opens, are "open" to anybody who is good enough to qualify, which means mostly pros. Now the USGA has decided to add one more open championship to its schedule beginning in 1980: a senior open, a national championship for senior golfers, both pro and amateur, men and women, who have reached the age of 55. The prize money for the pros has been set at $100,000, and a handicap of eight or lower will be required of the amateurs.
A USGA Senior Amateur has existed since 1955, and for 34 years there has been a PGA Senior championship, which Sam Snead has won six times. But the new event could eventually bring together many golfers who have had parallel careers but rarely have played together. For instance, Lew Oehmig, 62, the 1976 Senior Amateur champion, has never played in the same field with Snead, 66. Arnold Palmer, who turns 50 this year, will be eligible in 1985, while Snead, Tommy Bolt, Julius Boros, Art Wall and others qualify right away. Most notable among the amateurs is Bill Campbell, the 55-year-old Huntington, W. Va. insurance broker who won the 1964 U.S. Amateur, played on eight Walker Cup teams with a singles match record of 7-0-1, and has played in 15 U.S. Opens and 18 Masters tournaments.
With a great old course to play it on—say Pine Valley or Shinnecock Hills—and proper TV attention, both of which the USGA can provide, the Senior Open should be a winner going in.
Interlachen (Fla.) High School, which has an 11-5 record, routed winless conference rival Pierson Taylor last week, 106-22, after being the target of an unusual form of demonstration.
With Interlachen leading 53-12 early-in the third quarter, Pierson Taylor protested what it obviously considered Interlachen's excessive zeal in running up the score by scoring nine straight baskets—all for Interlachen.
"I guess that made it 71-12," said Interlachen Assistant Coach Charles Golden. "After that, they started bringing the ball upcourt. It was bush league. We had cleared our bench by halftime."
Nine Interlachen players were credited with scoring a total of 88 points; the other 18 were credited to the team.
FAITH, HOPE AND BATTERY
In a recreation-league basketball game in Tulsa, Forward Joe Trueblood was ordered from the contest for talking back to the officials. When Trueblood's tirade continued from the bench, Referee Charles Mutch called the game with 20 seconds left.
According to Mutch, this prompted Trueblood to grab the official by his whistle cord, which he twisted while wrestling Mutch to the floor. Mutch was rendered unconscious for three minutes and was later hospitalized.
The game, incidentally, matched True-blood's Memorial Park team against Osage Hills. Both are members of the Maxwell Recreation Center Church League of Tulsa.
THEY SAID IT
•Bill Veeck, in a message to White Sox fans: "We will scheme, connive, steal and do everything possible to win the pennant—except pay big salaries."