SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
July 30, 1979
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July 30, 1979


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Though preferable to synfuel, energy conservation won't be painless—as the Administration's new restrictions on temperatures in non-residential buildings demonstrate. The emergency regulations require that buildings be cooled no lower than 78� but hospitals, hotel guest rooms, elementary schools and rooms containing equipment that might be damaged by heat are all exempt. "Physical therapy facilities" are also exempt but "purely recreational facilities" are subject to the restrictions.

Health clubs are feeling their way with the new rules. The manager of a Manhattan club that has cardiac patients among its clientele claimed last week that the facility was entitled to maintain a temperature of 72�. But he worried about the sauna, which he conceded was a "frill." In fact, saunas apparently fell under another new rule requiring that heat be turned no higher than 65�. A Department of Energy spokesman said that unless they can be shown to be therapeutic, saunas might have to close.

The restriction on heat may cause further inconvenience next winter, but for now, the 78� limit on air-conditioning was naturally commanding more attention. In sweltering Houston, Ken Crowley, owner of the Fondren Tennis Club, an indoor facility previously cooled to about 70�, said, "It's a steam house at 78�. If I'm held to the letter of the law, it will destroy me." In Los Angeles, ex-Dodger Pitcher Al Downing emerged from a workout at the Holiday Spa to say, "The weight room was an oven." And Alan Culver, manager of Los Angeles' new Racquetball West Club, predicted that warmer temperatures would cause "tremendous damage" to the racquetball industry. Claiming that the most desirable temperature is 68�, he said, "People are going to have heat stress."

Concern also was expressed at the Seattle Kingdome, where the sensitive computer system that runs the scoreboard could malfunction if temperatures are too high. By contrast, few complaints were heard at Houston's Astrodome, although some spectators at Astro games could be seen fanning themselves—a throwback to the city's days of outdoor baseball.

Many people were doing an admirable job of coping. Instead of simply raising the temperature to 78�, Dominick Paino, manager of the Houston Indoor Tennis Center, turned it up by stages, to 74� one day, 75� the next. The intent was to acclimate customers to higher temperatures, and the strategy seemed to be working; Paino received no complaints. Gary Shull, the manager of the Woodside Racquet Club in Westwood, Kans., noted cheerfully that after playing tennis in 78� temperatures, members were receiving less of a jolt when they stepped into 90� weather outdoors than they used to. What were members saying? Several of them patriotically asked Shull to please turn off lights in the steam room when it wasn't being used.


At dawn last Saturday, John Veitch, Calumet Farm's trainer, walked into his barn at Belmont Park and, as usual, went directly to Alydar. He noticed a slight swelling in the horse's right hind ankle. X rays revealed a hairline fracture of a sesamoid. The fracture is expected to take three months to mend, by which time the year's major races will be over. Alydar, a 4-year-old, was scheduled to go to stud next year. Because of his injury, the decision was made to retire him now.

Alydar will forever be associated in the public's mind with Affirmed, to whom he finished second by a total of less than two lengths in each of last year's Triple Crown races. Racegoers loved him, and Veitch thinks he knows why. The trainer says, "Barbers and bartenders and guys who sold papers admired the fact that he dug in and fought his heart out all the time. I remember going to pick up my laundry last August at Saratoga. I said, 'How much is that?' The laundryman said, 'The only thing I want is a picture of Alydar.' "

In keeping with what he calls a century-old family tradition, Maryland Governor Harry Hughes is planning a two-week beach holiday this summer in Delaware. This hasn't prevented Hughes from making a radio commercial in which he assures residents of Delaware and other neighboring states, "Whatever you want to do this summer, you can have more fun doing it in Maryland."

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