Like millions of Americans, there was a time when I thought that competitive eating was awesome. I’ve also loved poker, Hooters swimsuit pageants, World’s Strongest Man competitions, American Gladiators, MySpace, and The Office. The problem is that when something gains a great deal of popularity in a relatively short time, the people behind a pop cultural phenomenon never know when to say, “Stop.”
I don’t see the charm, anymore, in watching Joey Chestnut practically suffocate while devouring 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes. And no, it’s not because I think we should be more concerned with all those starving people in
Africa our own country. Obviously, we should, but the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest doesn’t exactly make me lose the most sleep. And no, it’s not because a bunch of protesters showed up to Coney Island and apparently want us to eat kittens. I couldn’t anyway, I’m allergic. I'd just like it if for every eating contest we hosted, we also held two math contests or two engineering fairs.
But instead of rambling on about how embarrassing it is that competitive eating has become synonymous with America’s Independence Day – even our baseball teams welcome it now – I’ll at least enjoy the fact that approximately 5,000 miles away, an eating contest brought happiness to our armed forces and their families at the U.S. Army Garrison in Baumholder, Germany. I just wish their contest could have been at Coney Island, too.