Competitive eating illustrates America’s bloated values

Chris Zawacki

This past Fourth of July, a huge event took place in the “sports” world. Joey Chestnut edged out Takeru Kobayashi at the annual Nathan’s famous hot dog eating contest in Coney Island. With the event being held annually every year since 1916, 50,000 people were in attendance this year to witness this supposed marquee match up.

Competitive eating requires an immense amount of training as well as strategy, but do we really need leagues to decipher who can waste the most amount of food? Yes, I said waste.

If competitive eating isn’t the ultimate ‘up yours’ to poor people, then I don’t know what is. I have always viewed cooking and eating as an art form, an identification of culture, character, and a cycle of life. To hold an eating contest would be like running a race through an art museum. What do poverty ridden nations think of us when they view news alerts of a chubby, large white male packing away 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes? Some people in the world would surrender all of their material possessions for half that amount of hot dogs.

Competitive eating is a direct reflection of American society. We rarely take time to indulge in the flavor of everyday life. We often race past things, completely missing the ever-present beauty and goodness which surrounds us.

It exists everywhere, but it requires time to find it. In order to discover it, people need to slow down and get lost in day-to-day living.

Get lost just to get lost, get lost to find yourself, get lost to find someone or something else. As for competitive eating, it too needs to get lost!