Can you please stop eating? |

Can you please stop eating?

Ian Cropp
Preston Utley/Vail DailyIan CroppCoppaganda

Eating is a basic function of life. You need food to sustain the human body. Eating is not a sport. It can be a pleasurable activity, but it isn’t a sport.There aren’t professional breathing or sleeping contests. Sure, some people try to push the human body to extremes and go long stretches of time without eating or sleeping. Again, these activities aren’t sports; they are just life-threatening activities.So with all apologies to the competitors in Nathan’s Independence Day hot dog eating contest Tuesday, I would like to say that shoving food down your throat at a maniacal rate isn’t an athletic endeavor.

But that didn’t stop the commentators on ESPN from treating the hot dog ingestors like OlympiansWhen I heard a remark that there were many new, great eaters, and that it was similar to the 1983 football draft, I nearly had a reversal of fortune (a term used to describe when the eaters can’t hold down their food). You’re trying to tell me that some guy who can eat crab cakes or jalapenos at a rate that necessitates a colonoscopy should be given the same billing as John Elway, Dan Marino or Jim Kelly?One of the eaters was lauded for his efforts, and it was said that he was enshrining himself as one of the great Italian-American athletes. OK, you have a well-trained jaw, so you should join the ranks of Joe DiMaggio and Rocky Marciano. Right? Wrong.I don’t want to discourage anyone from practicing what they love and what they are good at. But a little part of me died when the announcer compared Joey Chestnut’s persistence to that of Vijay Singh, saying “Everyone is out on the 19th hole and Vijay is on the driving range. That’s what Chestnut represents.” That or everyone has left the all-you-can-eat buffet, and Chestnut is still gobbling sausage links doused in syrup.

Down goes Takeru?I must admit that I enjoyed watching the contest. And for a while I thought Chestnut was going to take back the coveted mustard belt from Japanese eating sensation Takeru Kobayashi, who had won the previous five contests. Chestnut held a one-dog lead for almost the first 10 minutes of the 12-minute contest. There was talk of Chestnut joining the ranks of American patriots (I think there was consideration of adding Chestnut as one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence). In the final two minutes, Chestnut’s pace slowed, while Kobayashi continued his machine-like chomping. All you had do was look at the two competitors’ faces to see who was going to emerge as the champion. Chestnut looked like he’d been riding the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster while eating his previous 48 hot dogs. For Kobayashi, on the other hand, each hot dog went down as smoothly as the first one of the day.”Hot-dog management is everything in the last three minutes.”

OK, ball possession is important in the waning minutes of a basketball game, but hot-dog management? That’s what an obsessive-compulsive griller does at a barbecue.”This is where they hit the wall,” No, you hit the wall in a marathon. And after a marathon, you can look back and say you ran 26 miles. That’s a lot of running. After this contest, Kobayashi could look back and say he ate 53 3/4 hot dogs. That’s a lot of unidentified animal body parts.Sports Writer Ian Cropp plans on entering the next matzo ball eating contest. He can be reached at 748-2935 or, Colorado

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