Sports Nuts Join In 'Couch-Potato' Contest

(AP) CHICAGO Putting in long, grueling hours of couch-potato training just to win a TV sports-viewing marathon is simply not feasible, according to Jason Pisarik, who should know. At least not without incurring substantial personal risk.

"My wife would kill me if I did," the Lombard, Ill., accountant said Monday from a recliner chair in front of a 15-foot screen tuned to college football bowl game after bowl game.

Pisarik was back at the ESPN Zone sports bar to defend his title in the Ultimate Couch Potato Contest against three challengers after watching for 30 consecutive hours a year ago.

The winner, likely to be determined Tuesday or Wednesday, gets a prize package valued at almost $5,000, including a 42-inch high-definition television, gift certificates and a trophy featuring a live spud. All entrants were to receive a leather recliner as long as they lasted a cushy 12 hours in the fifth-annual competition.

It seemed like a perfect way to start the year for the four sports nuts in the competition, at least at the two-hour mark.

"I couldn't think of anything better than to sit and watch a bunch of games and get served food and drink all day," said Pisarik, a Chicago Bears fan wearing a Mike Ditka jersey.

The going only gets tough, he said, when the restaurant closes for the night and the 13 TV screens in front of them show mostly ESPN SportsCenter over and over all night long.

Stacy Gleason, a mother of three and the only woman in the competition, struggled to banish thoughts of all the laundry, cleaning and other household chores she could have accomplished instead of watching basketball, football and hockey games.

"I don't know how guys do it," said a smiling Gleason, 39, a paralegal from Lowell, Ind. "I'm doing this for girls everywhere who don't get to do this while their husbands morph into the furniture watching sports on TV."

Contestants, selected from their 200-word essays, are allowed a five-minute break every hour and a 15-minute break every eight hours but must otherwise be looking constantly at the screen. Anyone who manages to last until 8 a.m. Thursday would break the world record of 69 hours and 48 minutes of consecutive TV watching, set in September 2005 by Canadian Suresh Joachim.

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