Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Competitive Eating

I’m not kidding. The Alka Seltzer Open of Competitive Eating is the actual name of an actual competition in something that has been touted as an actual SPORT. I’m also not kidding when I tell you I saw this on ESPN - not ESPN2, mind you. The original ESPN - the one that brings you baseball and football - and the things I always thought of as traditional sport... There's even a governing organization of competitive eating...

The Alka Seltzer Open was actually followed on-air by the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. I guess I should preface this to say - that at last, there is a sport that men and women of all ages and nationalities can compete together... as peers.

The Nathan’s competition was held at Coney Island - and was the traditional food eating contest you might see at the Warren County Fair, the Great Allentown Fair, The Famous Bloomsburg Fair - or my personal favorite, the Newfoundland Fair... You know - the one held between the Pie-eating contest and the chili cook off... It consisted of a long line of men and women - competing for the Nathan’s title. In front of each contestant was a plate of hot dogs and a choice of three beverages: Water, iced tea, and lemonade. (It was explained on-air that the water was good to start off on - just to aid getting food down. The tea would take the edge off of particularly flavorful foods (which are a hindrance to competitive eaters, I’m told) - and the acidic lemonade can do the same thing - which is why, I suppose, some of the competitors were dipping their hot dogs in it...

I’m guessing it’s a brilliant strategy that saves the stoppage of eating for lubing.... yikes!

The most ironic thing about this competition were the announcers. They performed their entire play-by-play and color commentaries without a snide remark - without a stifled giggle - or without a metabolism or gastrointestinal joke. Incredible... They described the “athletes” thusly: “Here’s a man who sweats gravy!” as if it were an honorable comment. Try putting that little phrase on and see how many comments it gets!

On to the athletes. The winner was an Asian man named Tokeru Kobiashi. Kobiashi isn’t fat - he looks fairly normal. He just happens to have the dubious honor of holding the world record of eating 53.5 hot dogs in 12 minutes. This year, at Nathan’s, he won the competition, but managed to ingest only 48 dogs in the same amount of time. His closest contender is a tiny itty bitty woman named Sonia Thomas. She ate 37 dogs... In previous competitions, she allegedly ate an astounding 46 dozen oysters in short order.

Here are a few of the amusing comments during the broadcast of the hot dog contest as well as the Alka Seltzer Open of Competitive Eating (held in Las Vegas... So much for “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.... ESPN blabbed this contest to all of America - if not around the world!)

“Kobiashi just didn’t get into the same zone as last year...”

Joey Chestnut is the best rookie I’ve ever seen, and the REAL story in this contest of competitive eating.” (Joey blew it, so to speak, in the Vegas contest...)

“The Alka Seltzer Open is a single elimination tournament. Five rounds. Some rounds will not allow utensils or immersing food.” (BTW, the five rounds were: cheese fries, Pasta something-or-other, Chopped salad - a real challenge in competitive eating, Potato skins, and finally, the combo platter: buffalo chicken, chili, swedish meatballs, and a few french things I don’t know how to spell)

One of the athletes said, “I train for the speed.” “I use water to stretch my stomach.”

“You think of certain words when you think of certain athletes... Serena Williams makes me think of Speed... When we think of Kobiashi, the word is CAPACITY.”

About Dale Boone, a particularly obnoxious competitor who is actually related to Daniel Boone: “He’s loud, his estimation of his skills is widely overestimated, I don’t see how he can make it in this sport!”

Paul Page, announcer, said this of Carlene LeFever, the oldest competitor in the Vegas event: “She once ate a gallon of chili in five minutes!” As she was eating cheese fries, Paul noted, “She doesn’t seem concerned about messing up her makeup! She’s an attractive woman, despite the cheese on her nose!” (She ate 3lbs, 3oz in just five minutes!)

“Ed “Cookie” Jarvis is an eating machine with no off switch!” He had to quit the competition for a few months because he gained too much weight.

“Joey Chestnut is out of the Krystal Hamburger Circuit...” Page went on to note Chestnut’s good solid stance. Despite all, Chestnut lost in the cheese fry round because he overstuffed his mouth. It was a big win for Sam Vise...

“Cheese will help facilitate the swallowing...”

At one point, the announcer exclaimed, about one of the rounds’ victors, “That is the triumph of the human spirit!” I found, however, that I couldn’t stomach the next round... so MY commentary ends here...

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is!


  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger Trixie said…

    This is equally as humorous as it is a disgusting commentary on America.

    **Did I mention that I am on a diet?**


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