Couch-potato champ returns to defend title

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CHICAGO (AP) – Putting in grueling hours of couch-potato training just to win a TV sports-viewing marathon is inadvisable, according to Jason Pisarik, who should know.

“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 a college football bowl game.

Pisarik was back at the ESPN Zone sports bar to defend his title in the fifth annual Ultimate Couch Potato Contest. He endured 30 consecutive hours of TV sports a year ago.

The winner 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. Every competitor making it past the 12-hour mark receives a leather recliner.

“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, 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 the four contestants show mostly ESPN SportsCenter over and over.

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 be doing.

“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 on the basis of 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.

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