Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gorging Ourselves on Wieners is America's Birthright!

At the risk of sounding unpatriotic, I didn't think it was too big a deal that a Japanese dude held the world record (53 3/4) for eating hot dogs. I guess I was just awed by Takeru Kobayashi's magnificent gift for scarfing down sausages. If somebody wanted to do that to himself... hey, we all have our different callings in this life, right?

But it didn't quite seem right that an American couldn't eat more hot dogs than anyone else. I mean, if there's one thing we should be good at, it's shoveling down tubes of unhealthy meat parts. How many of us did that yesterday? I'm not raising my hand, only because I sadly had no cookouts to attend, and even more sadly, I am currently without grill.

Thanks to Joey Chestnut, who the hilariously/disgustingly hyperbolic ESPN announcers called a "hero," the days of finishing second in hot dog annihilation are over. The 23-year-old Californian inhaled 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes (that's one every 11 seconds) to dethrone Kobayashi and reclaim the title of "Guy Who Can Eat a Lot of [insert item here]" and the Mustard Yellow Belt for the nation celebrating its independence yesterday. What were you doing when you were 23, bucko?

66 hot dogs, man. Eating 66 of anything seems kind of revolting, though I'm sure I've unwittingly done it a few times in my life. This morning, I ate 26 almonds, which I read is the ideal amount to eat in a day, and I don't really feel like eating any more almonds today.

In fairness to Kobayashi, however, the dude might have been playing hurt. There was some doubt as to whether he'd participate in this year's Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest because of a sore (arthritic?) jaw (Occupational hazard, I imagine) and recent wisdom tooth extraction. After help from a chiropractor(?) and acupuncturist, however, Kobayashi manned up to try and defend his title against his newest challenger.

Was the jaw the difference in the three additional hot dogs Chestnut was able to consume? Maybe, although Kobayashi apparently had some difficulty keeping that last one in, but the rules say as long as it doesn't hit the floor, it's all good.

"Kobayashi appeared to spew hot dog out of his mouth at the end, but caught it in the air and clamped his hands to his mouth, which kept the hot dogs in play, so to speak..."

You're not eating lunch as you read this, are you? I think I'm about to experience some "reversal of fortune" myself. I think I'll be eating fruit the rest of the day. Maybe blueberries and raspberries, in honor of our new American hero.

Deadspin was live on the scene, and posted a "plausibly live" blog, complete with photos.

And The Fanhouse has footage of Kobayashi's "reversal of fortune," which reportedly won't be seen in ESPN's re-broadcast of the contest tomorrow night.