When did gluttony become a sport?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why is it when we are given a day off to sit back, relax, eat, drink and be merry, that we tend to eat more than we should?

I'm sure most of you were like me after that huge Fourth of July spread sitting back in an easy chair, thinking I should not have gone back for seconds or even thirds.

Only in America do we celebrate gluttony.

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We celebrate it so much that it's televised for our entertainment.

Every Forth of July Coney Island, N.Y., is host to its annual Nathans hot dog eating contest. And for the fifth year in a row a Japanese man who stands all of 5-feet-7, walked away with the mustard yellow belt for eating 49 hot dogs in just 12 minutes.

And I thought eating three in a one sitting was a bit much, but Takeru Kobayashi can take care of that many in no time at all.

This bottomless pit is amazing to watch.

Yea, I'll admit that I've seen this guy in action. Having been a heavyweight eater, you tend to admire someone who can eat more than yourself.

Kobayashi doesn't just specialize in shoving a couple dogs in his mouth at the same time either. This 175-pound man holds the world records for eating almost 18 pounds of cows' brains in 10 minutes. "The Tsunami" also has eaten a record 69 Krystal burgers in 8 minutes and 20 pounds of rice balls in 30 minutes.

This guy sounds like a human vacuum cleaner.

In researching the amazing eating feats of "The Tsunami," I could not believe that there actually is an International Federation of Competitive Eating.

So that bids the question. Is competitive eating a sport?

Sports writers of old always argued that cheerleading was not a sport.

Now that that argument has been solved over the years with how cheerleading has evolved, now here's another so-called sport on the scene.

I read through the list, which is quite impressive in itself.

There are records for eating the most Vienna sausage, birthday cake, candy bars and even butter.

What is even more impressive is the number of records that are held by an American woman who weighs all of 110 pounds. She currently hold 25 eating records ranging from oysters to tacos.

Like Kobayashi, she has taken on the nickname of "The Black Widow."

In most aspects of sport there are ways of preparing for competition.

How does one prepare for an eating contest?

"I try to stay and shape and am always trying to stretch my stomach," she was quoted as saying in kidzworld.com. "I run on the treadmill for close to two hours a day, and I’m a manager at Burger King and I’m always on my feet moving around. I also go to all-you-can eat buffets whenever I can, which stretches my stomach. I usually only eat one really big meal a day, as well."

Did you ever just sit back and wonder what was the first sign of the apocalypse?

Well, I have an idea.

It would have to be that there is a competitive eating federation, and I'm writing about it.

Happy eating.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. You can reach him by e-mailing kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.