Competitive eating hardly an athletic event

Competitive eating hardly an athletic event

Every Fourth of July, before the food is grilled and uncle Kevin almost blows your brother to Hades with an industrial-sized box of fireworks, ESPN airs its’ coverage of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest.Every year they spew the same propaganda. It’s all about how competitive eating is one of the fastest growing sports in America, surpassing pedestrian efforts such as lawn mower racing and professional ice hockey in attendance and advertising revenue.

Competitive eating is not a sport. It’s not even athletic. I’m impressed that some chemical plant worker from Scranton can down an insane amount of Snickers bars in twelve minutes, but why should ESPN put that achievement in an information graphic featuring Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point performance and Peyton Manning’s single season touchdown record?

That’s an insult to real athletes everywhere.

Still, Major League Eating insists their organization “combines the appeal of traditional sports with the most extreme of all extreme sports.”

Anything I can do from the comfort of my own home shouldn’t be considered a sport.

I have fat friends that sit around all day and drink untold amounts of Mountain Dew and suck on Pixie Stixs. Do I tell them to go challenge Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas in the glamorous world of public overeating?


I tell them to hit the treadmill like Marion Jones (minus the steroids) so they can live to see 25.

The poster child of competitive eating is Takeru Kobayashi, the Japanese sensation who won the Fourth of July hotdog eating contest every year from 2001 to 2006, trouncing the competition with his machine-like efficiency. He’s also the reason competitive eaters are passed off as athletes.

ESPN always mentions Kobayashi’s bulging biceps and religious gym habits, likening this to professional training regimens. You know, because Kobayashi really needs massive forearms and strong quadriceps to shove all sorts of saturated fat and grease down his gullet.

Competitive eating isn’t even good for you. Football, baseball, basketball, tennis, etc., all have a positive effect on physical well-being if participants don’t impale themselves on chain-link fences.

Competitive eating can screw you up. According to Dr. David Metz in an article published on WebMD, stomach paralysis, or gastroparesis, can result when a stomach is constantly stretched beyond its normal limits. The muscles eventually fail to contract, and the stomach will lose the ability to empty itself. It can cause chronic indigestion, nausea and vomiting.

As of now, there is no effective cure.

Still think that’s a sport? Well, then let’s all run down to the Shell station and smoke five consecutive cartons of Marlboros.

Nothing says sports like destroying your alveoli and being the first college student on your block to die of emphysema. Hooray for the athletes of Major League Smoking!

Moving your mandible while pushing your body to the point of irreparable harm isn’t athletic. It’s harmful consumption for the sake of spectators.

Gluttony is a sin, not a sport.

David Hall is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears Wednesdays.