Tuesday, July 04, 2006

They Call Me Kobayashi

I've never witnessed a funnier spectacle than the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, held next to the famous hot dog stand in Coney Island. First off, there's a ton of media--photographers all bunched into a tiny section of bleachers. Second, ESPN covers the event with broadcasters and everything. It's 12 minutes of "sports" probably stretched into an hour-long telecast. 25,000 people were all crowded around to watch--only a handful got to see the competition in its full glory; I myself had a side view and could only see a couple of competitors.

My favorite part of it though, is the announcer--speaking bombastically and describing these "professional eaters" with reverence, almost like a boxing match. We hear all of the feats of these people--one guy ate 159 jalapeno peppers in 3 minutes or something crazy like that, one guy is the champion matzo ball eater, so on. They all want to beat 5-time champ and record holder Takeru Kobayashi--especially his main competition Joey Chestnutt--both of them were raised onto high perches for everyone to see. Chestnutt got close--but lost by 2 hot dogs. I don't think we'll ever really know what 53 hot dogs feels like in the stomach, or rather 53 3/4, the new record set by Kobayashi. Hell, I don't think I'd know what 10 feels like, and everyone in the contest ate more than 30 or so.

I then stood in the looooooooooooooooooooooong line at Nathan's to try their famous dogs. I must say, they are the best I've ever eaten. They have some kickass crinkly fries too. I'm not sure I've seen so many employees crammed into one stand in my life.


At 7/05/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Doc said...

It's the most exciting 12 minutes in sports, baby! Kobayashi put on a display the likes of which we've never seen: methodical, calm, and ferociously focused. Chesnutt really never had a chance, due to his lack of rhythm and control.

Other notables: Sonya "Black Widow" Thomas ate the same as last year (37), and Brooklyn-native "Badlands" Booker fell short with a mere 22 dogs. Young gun Pat Bertoletti placed fourth with 34 dogs, a strong showing.

Get ready folks. This is the sport of the future. Competitive eating is here to stay. Chris, I'm jealous that you got to see this first-hand. I woke up early yesterday and waited anxiously for the 11:00 am airing. To me, this is better than the Superbowl, The Kentucky Derby, and the Lower Oakland Roller Derby combined (HST). My only complaint was that ESPN didn't show enough pre and postgame coverage.


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