ONE OF AMERICA'S most pressing problems - not counting the subprime-mortgage-market collapse and restless-leg syndrome - is obesity.
Before taking a bite out of that, I acknowledge the paradox that while more Americans exercise more than ever, we are fatter than ever, at least according to what I've read. As my grandmother would say, "Go figure."
With the topic being fitness and fatness (only one letter is different in the two extremes!) the Sixers and Flyers today officially will announce a plan to get Philly's gastric fluids flowing.
Your Sixers and Flyers are offering an All You Can Eat package - if you have bought tickets for carefully selected All You Can Eat seats, Comcast-Spectacor spokesman Ike Richman told me yesterday.
The All You Can Eat fans will have special grazing privileges only at concession stands behind sections 218 and 220 on the mezzanine level at the north end of the Wachovia Center (where the annual paean to gluttony, the Wing Bowl, is held).
I love that All You Can Eat is being offered to fans in Philly - termed America's Fattest City in a story a few years back in Men's Fitness magazine. (The story was horsebleep, but got a lot of coverage.)
Fans in the All You Can Eat seats will get a wristband which, when flashed at cashiers at the two special concession stands, means No Pay.
I'm thinking fans ought to be fitted with heart-pressure monitors instead of wristbands.
Before you go diving for your credit cards, the "free" food does not apply to all concession-stand food. The Free Eats are restricted to hot dogs, popcorn, nacho chips/cheese/salsa and soft drinks. Not to be a hater, but the "free" junk food doesn't even include the iconic Philly soft pretzel.
Flyers seats (just over 300 of them) in the Junk Food Section will cost $66 per game. (Seats go on sale Saturday.) Sixers tickets (more than 900) will cost $31 a game. The same seats last season were a fat-free $47.50 for the Flyers and zero-cholesterol $15 to $29 for the Sixers.
With more Americans into supersize than super sense, is encouraging gluttony good for fans' health? Is Comcast-Spectacor trying to kill their fan base with kindness?
"We don't feel we're encouraging them to overeat, and I think fans are conscious enough to know what to eat and how much to eat," says Richman, adding that Comcast-Spectacor sees this more as "making the experience more affordable for our fans."
Not to be mean or anything, but imagine the body types of fans who will buy those seats. Whaddya think - more like Nicole Richie or more like Rosie O'Donnell?
I'm not being mean to, um, heavier people, because I've had weight "issues" all my life.
As I kid I was called (by clothing manufacturers) "husky," because that sounds better than "porky." At one time (two marriages ago) I was thiscloseto 300 pounds.
That was a period of personal misery.
Food was a sex substitute and I couldn't even get into my own pants.
Back then I loved all-you-can-eat buffets. I went in there with one thought in mind: You will lose money on me.
Will fans who buy the All You Can Eat seats feel the same?
How much popcorn, nachos and salsa would they have to pound down their gullets to erase the extra they are paying for the seat, this year versus last?
And I gotta ask - will the All You Can Eat seats be any wider? They ought to be. *
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