William Oscar Johnson's story on running addiction (page 72) struck a responsive chord among many of our staffers. While addiction might be too harsh a term, quite a few of us have a keen urge to scratch various athletic itches, and get cranky when they go un-scratched.
Each day at lunchtime much of the staff clears out to jog, to play tennis and racquetball or to work out in a cardio-fitness center. We have golfers, squash enthusiasts, basketball players and an office softball team. Assistant Managing Editor Ken Rudeen bicycles up to 150 miles a week. And our runners range from Executive Editor Jeremiah Tax, who rises at 6 a.m. most days for two miles of jogging, to Senior Editor Walter Bingham, a five-time marathon man, who logs 45 to 50 miles a week.
One of the most dedicated SI exercisers is Lauren Michaels, an assistant in our news bureau. Michaels has been battling oxygen debt only since last October, but her 30 miles a week have wrought some tangible gains and losses. In the latter category, 15 pounds, two inches off her waist and another off the hips; in the former, a digital runner's watch, several pairs of athletic shoes, a training diary, a new diet and a daily regimen of calisthenics. But when Michaels injured her foot recently, she took to the sidelines. "That's how I know I'm not addicted," she says. "I hate pain more than I love running."
Our tennis freaks include a former champion, Reporter Bill Colson, who took the national 18-and-under clay-court title in 1968, and Photographer Walter Iooss Jr., who named his son Christian Bjorn. Both Colson and Iooss spent the last two weeks at Wimbledon—working, not playing. At home, Iooss keeps his backhand in shape during the winter by practicing in a lighted alley atop his apartment building; the wall is spotted with ball marks.
On his occasional trips afield, Managing Editor Gil Rogin, who swims at least a mile a day, checks to make certain his hotel has a large, preferably rectangular pool. "Making turns in a kidney-shaped pool is akin to putting on skis in a phone booth," says Rogin. Another person familiar with the therapeutic effects of water is Senior Editor Bob Brown, who frequently is up fishing at 5 a.m. on Long Island Sound. Brown's most unusual catch: a 40-foot segment of fire hose.
And then there is Writer-Reporter Jim Kaplan. Unfortunately, a Kaplan encounter with a given sport usually ends in injury long before an addiction develops. Kaplan has tried tennis, squash, jogging, racquetball and paddle tennis, and as a result has been treated for bursitis in his shoulder, tendinitis in his wrist and a pinched nerve in his neck, and has sprained or broken both of his ankles. He also has had acute chondromalacia (softening of the cartilage) in his right knee. "No sport is safe enough for me," he says. Recently Kaplan's shoulder began to ache. His doctor diagnosed it as "pinball shoulder." Kaplan had been jiggling a Times Square pinball machine a little too sternly. Sighs Kaplan, "I guess I do have an addiction—to keep trying."