TV OR NOT TV?
In an article entitled "Shape Up...While Watching Your Favorite Show," in the July 11-17 issue of TV Guide, George Allen, the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, presents a series of exercises for young couch potatoes. "The physical fitness of our youngsters hasn't improved in the last 10 years—and in many cases has gotten worse," writes Allen, who, with modeling assistance from Tempestt Bledsoe and Malcolm-Jamal Warner of The Cosby Show, then offers a 30-minute workout. Included in the exercises are the TV Viewer's Leg Lift and the Book Curl, with the latter described thus: "Hold a book about the size of a school textbook in your hand, palm toward ceiling. Sit up straight and lower the book until your arm hangs straight. Raise the book toward your shoulder and lower. Repeat 10 times and then switch hands. Do twice on each side."
While Allen's effort to reach America's youth is commendable, it does seem to say, If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Perhaps he should encourage kids to 1) push down on the power button of the remote control; 2) walk outside and jog to the nearest library; 3) lift a volume of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare off the shelf; and 4) open it to The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, Scene 1. In the opening speech by Valentine are these words:
I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad
Than, living dully sluggardiz'd at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.
NO FRENCH TOAST, EITHER
Irving Rudd, the veteran sports publicist, reported last week from Granbury, Texas (pop. 5,100), where Donald Curry was training for his July 18 title bout with WBA junior middle-weight champion Mike McCallum: "I sat down for breakfast at the Around The Clock Grill and ordered a toasted English muffin, no butter. The waitress told me, 'We don't serve no foreign food here, sir.' "
What took Henry Aaron 23 years to accomplish, Mike Macenko may do in one season. Macenko is the 6'3", 260-pound second baseman for Steele's Sports of Grafton, Ohio, the fence-busting slo-pitch softball team (SI, July 28, 1986) that travels the land, terrorizing opponents. As of Sunday, Macenko had 547 home runs (gulp), and at his current pace of 2.4 homers a game, he should be approaching Aaron's career mark of 755 sometime in early September.
Macenko has already broken the unofficial slo-pitch softball home run record of 503 for a season, set by his teammate Charles Wright last year, and Mike's 1,016 RBIs this year (gasp) are also a record of sorts. His finest hour came in a double-header at Lorain, Ohio, when he kissed 15 balls goodbye (gosh). Over one nine-day stretch, Macenko hit 81 homers in 20 games. He's also batting .748, almost three times his weight.
The men of Steele's, meanwhile, are tooling along with a record of 218-9 and a scoring average of 36.4 runs a game. Even by Steele's inflationary standards, Macenko is having a remarkable year. His homers have not only been plentiful, but long; one ball he hit in Las Vegas went 508 feet.
Macenko says of his newfound prowess, "I just decided to put the old nose to the grindstone. I lifted weights, got married and stopped partying. I wish I could tell you something like, The ball looks as big as a grapefruit coming up to the plate, but actually the ball is as big as a grapefruit."