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Tuesday, March 5

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2009

Sit And Deliver

It's New Year's Day, a day filled with bowl games, afternoon NBA games, special NHL contests and the occasional figure skating exhibition extravaganza. But all of those sporting events are meaningless without one thing.
ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Logo-crop_HIRES.jpg


Yes, it's the fan who makes all of those televised moments possible and meaningful. It's you who plops your holiday derriere into the easy chair and says, "Bring it on." But where's your reward? Where's your acknowledgement of a job well done? Where's your trophy for sitting there and enduring hour and hour of instant replay, telestrators and inane commentary?

At ESPN Zone, that's where. Tomorrow, on New Year's Day, beginning at 10 p.m., ESPN Zone will host its ninth annual Chicago "Ultimate Coach Potato" competition, pitting the best of the best (locally) in, well, sitting and watching sports. For a long time. A very long time.

Sure, you're probably thinking, "Big deal. I once sat and watched five straight hours of 'Pardon The Interruption'." Pffft. Lightweight. Try the 69-hours, 48-minutes of televised sports watching done by Guinness Book of World Records holder Suresh Joachim in 2005, or the SEVENTY HOURS and 45 minutes of TV sports watching done by unofficial record holder and 2009 UCP champ Jessica Moseley (yes, gender plays no favorites in the UCP).
2009 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch Potato Contestant - Steve Janowski 02.JPG

This year's crop of Chicago UCP all-stars face the same rigorous rules as before: No sleeping or reading allowed. A 15-minute break every eight hours and a five minute break every 60 minutes. They can drink and eat as much as they want but may only take bathroom breaks during the scheduled break periods (which is where the strategy comes in: How well do you know your bladder?). And from the official rules: "No diapers, external waste receptacles/devices/containers are allowed. Soiling oneself is not allowed."

The Chicago finalists are: Jeff Miller, a real estate business owner, Juan Hernandez, a warehouse supervisor, Jerzy Jaworski, a safety instructor at O'Hare (all from Chicago) and Josh London, an advertising sales executive from Wilmette. We asked them a few questions, up-close-and-personal style, to get a feel for how they plan to stand up to, or rather sit down for, the challenge:

1. What have you been doing to train for the event?
Jeff Miller: After competing for the last two years, I really know what to expect, so the primary training I'm doing is getting mentally ready and resting a lot.
Juan Hernandez: To train for the event, I have been working on my bladder control and staying awake full nights.
Jerzy Jaworski: I have been training non-stop since being chosen. I printed the pictures of my competitors from the ESPN Zone web site and pasted them around my living room, my couch and the TV. This little mind exercise will give me the mental toughness the others may lack (or just make me mental)
Josh London: Not much really. Gonna just go easy on the liquids the day before and let my adrenaline kick in during the contest.

2. So what's your stategy?
JM: My strategy is to get really into all the games (whether or not I care about the teams), and ration my food and drink to maximize the eight hour periods.
JH: My strategy is to be calm and take it as it comes
JJ: My strategy is based on the teaching of Mike Ditka, "Win for the city, for your family and for yourself. but if you lose get out of town."
JL: Easy on the liquids. Eat my meals 2 hours before bathroom breaks.

3. Who are your influences?
JM: My girlfriend, Barbra Carqueville entered me into the competition 2 years ago and now whenever I hit a challenging time in the competition I think of her to get me through.
JH: My influence is my daughter (Laura a.k.a Chule) who will be coaching me throughout this competition
JJ: Every great man has a great woman pushing him to be better. so my influences are my daughters (Grace, 9, and Sara, 7) who are always asking me to sit on the couch with them and watch Disney.

4. Do you have a nickname for your style of sitting?
JM: This is a question I've never gotten before! I'd say I'm less of a recliner during the competition because I'd simply feel too much like sleeping. If I had to nake it I guess I would name it "at attention".
JH: Yes, chilaxing {a combination of relaxing + chilling}
JJ: My style is called "Da MUSH Eastern European".
JL: Naw not really...I just assume my "chilling" status

5. If you were going to change your name, a la Chad Ochocinqo, what would it be?
JM: (No answer)
JH: Oso Peresoso (meaning "Lazy Ass Bear")
JJ: El Pollo Loco. Think about the sponsorship he can get plus he dances and runs like a crazy chicken but he does back it up on the field
JL: j0$# L0nD0n
ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Competition Trophy 2010.jpg

6. If you could sit next to any famous person for hours on end, who would it be?
JM: Let's limit it to living sports people - I'd have to say the best experience would be with Bill Simmons and the rest of the crew that watch football at Jimmy Kimmel's each Sunday - it'd be hilarious I'm sure.
JH: Jim Kelly (former Buffalo Bills QB)
JJ: I would love to sit in between Tiger Woods and his wife Elin for hours and really, it would be Joe Paterno, Pete Rose, and Pope John Paul II and myself. That would be the dream match up. I would sit in between Rose and the Pope (good conversation). Joe Pa would be eliminated first (because of the bathroom rule), Rose would be gone second (because the cell phone rule) so that would leave me against the late/great, the Pope my mother adores...what to do, what to do. Nice talking to you Pope!
JL: Tiger I could get tips on my game and my golf game.

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Kathy Vida / January 1, 2010 9:49 AM

Good luck Jerzy. Make your ex City of Chicago worker proud!

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