- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2000

The results of the 2000 census won't be known for a while, but thanks to an Inside Source, I've obtained some preliminary figures that tell us a lot about Americans and sports. For instance, did you know that 1.5 percent of Americans have caught a foul ball in the stands? Or that 31 percent have dropped a bag of peanuts thrown by a vendor? Neither did I.

The percentages below are only estimates, remember, and the respondents may not always have been completely honest. But there's more than a grain of truth, I suspect, in the following findings:

• 74 percent of Americans have watched more than one sports event at the same time.

• 82 percent have wished, at some point in their lives, they were as big as Shaquille O'Neal.

• 9 percent have asked an athlete to autograph their breast.

• 2.4 percent of the requests have been made by men.

• 10 percent have owned a Joe Namath Butter-Up Popper.

• 47 percent have pulled a hamstring.

• 32 percent have slept with their baseball glove.

• 52 percent don't think race car drivers are athletes.

• 18 percent play touch football for blood every Thanksgiving.

• 15 percent have fallen off a treadmill.

• 4 percent have waited until the rest of the team was out of the showers before going in.

• 27 percent would have returned Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball to him, gratis.

• 79 percent don't understand why the ground can't cause a fumble.

• 41 percent can say "Maa Tanuvasa" three times fast.

• 83 percent have made a muscle while standing in front of a mirror.

• 17 percent wouldn't come out of their room for a week after their favorite player signed as a free agent with another team.

• 8 percent wouldn't come out of their room for a month.

• 3 percent are still in their room, refusing even to fill out the census.

• 38 percent wouldn't know Street from Smith.

• 28 percent still can't believe mighty Casey struck out.

• 77 percent wish Brent Musburger would shut up.

• .1 percent have had a child by either (a) Shawn Kemp or (b) Steve Garvey.

• .01 percent have had children by Shawn Kemp and Steve Garvey.

• 23 percent have faked drawing an offensive foul.

• 34 percent have raked a huge pile of leaves together and played "Diving Catch."

• 14 percent have worn a Cheesehead.

• 19 percent have worn a T-shirt under their basketball jersey.

• 12 percent have worn a goalie mask on Halloween.

• 39 percent have had lust in their heart for Chris Evert.

• 92 percent have scored the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl in their dreams.

• 40 percent cried at the end of "Chariots of Fire."

• 6 percent have tailgated at a football game, put the grill in their trunk just before kickoff and returned to find their car in flames.

• 13 percent have double-faulted on match point.

• 29 percent have held the World Wrestling Championships on an old mattress in the basement.

• 62 percent have lost a ball in the sun.

• .2 percent were alive when the Cubs last won the World Series.

• 35 percent remember when the event was called the hop, skip and jump.

• 24 percent have done a book report in elementary school on "Touchdown for Tommy," or some other Matt Christopher work.

• 16 percent have stood in line overnight to buy tickets to a sporting event.

• 3.3 percent have subsequently come down with pneumonia and been unable to go to the event.

• 66 percent have listened to a game on a transistor radio through an earphone after being told by their parents to go to sleep.

• 21 percent voted for Bill Bradley for president, just because he played for the Knicks.

• .001 percent buy Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue for the articles.

• 2 percent consider "Slapshot" one of the 10 greatest movies of all time.

• .8 percent got their electric train set out of the attic after seeing "Slapshot" for the first time.

• 30 percent have hit a half-court shot.

• .0001 percent have hit a half-court shot when there was money riding on it.

• 22 percent have run out on the field after a game, made off with a piece of sod and planted it in their back yard.

• 11 percent have attended both ends of a day-night doubleheader.

• 68 percent have given up golf more than once.

• 45 percent have given up golf more than once in the same round.

• 57 percent have thrown a club farther than they just hit the ball.

• And finally, 98 percent have never been given a standing eight count, but 72 percent feel they could use one.

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