Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eating is not a sport

Moments before the July 4 Hot Dog Eating Contest began at Coney Island, N.Y., ESPN flashed the results of an online poll across the bottom of the screen.

The results showed that 85 percent of voters do not believe that competitive eating is a sport.


The 15 percent who said eating is a sport need to be lined up and repeatedly kicked in the shorts by the members of the United States men's soccer team - who, by the way, DO play a sport.

Voting that competitive eating is a sport automatically insinuates that those who take part are athletes.

Imagine that.

Joey "the Jaws" Chestnut being classified as an athlete because he scarfed down 66 hot dogs in 10 minutes, including 17 in the first 90 seconds.

Since when is making a pig of yourself a sport?

Heck, I once ate 2 dozen wings in a sitting but I didn't jump up on my chair, beat my chest and proclaim myself to be an extraordinary athlete because of it.

It's enough of a stretch to see competitive eating, spelling bees and the Westminster Dog Show on ESPN. To think any of the competitors are athletes is absurd, though.

In my many years as a sports writer, I've often been backed into the same corner when doing talks at area high schools. "Is cheerleading a sport?" is the common query.

I now have a good answer.

"I don't know if cheerleading is a sport. But it's more of a sport than competitive eating."

- John Kampf


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