By Josh Kramer
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend. As is the case ever year, the sporting world does not stop for the holidays. Sports have become embedded in the American holiday culture.
Here are the main items that have been on my mind.
Is eating really a sport?
We all know that people love to eat. And in America, we really love to eat. Sadly, according to today’s SportsNation poll (compliments of ESPN), over 81% of people agreed that competitive eating was not a sport. That did not stop over 40,000 people from heading to Coney Island to watch the American hero, Joey Chestnut, the eating machine from California bring home the mustard belt for a 5th consecutive year.
According to Wikipedia, a sport is defined as follows:
“An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team
competes against another or others.”
I must say I disagree with the American public. Or at least with the “voting” version of the public. Competitive eating is a sport in my eyes. Just not your prototypical sport. It is a heck of a spectacle. Coney Island was flooded with loud and excited fans since 7AM in the morning for a noon competition.
“Physical exertion” is a key word in the definition. Watching Chestnut’s face and Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti pound over 50 hot dogs apiece in 10 minutes looked painful to me. Their faces did not look like they were partaking in a pleasurable experience.
The other part of the definition highlights the word “competition” between a team or individuals. I think this part of the definition speaks for itself. Were Chestnut and Bertoletti not competing against each other and time?
Lastly, ESPN did a wonderful job covering this event and provided outstanding insight and analysis. I know they got me hooked at least. Plus where else are you going to hear lines from the commentators such as, “He looked like Bradley Cooper at a sorority house. I don’t know, he came out swinging?” Nowhere else. The commentary was great. The analysis was outstanding. I mean “Julieting” as an eating technique? Highly impressive. Lastly, was the public address announcer a new and improved version of Michael Buffer. I was just watching the event on television. And you better believe I was hyped to watch grown men eat hot dogs.
So my conclusion is that it competitive eating is most definitely a sport. It is also definitely a great American tradition.
Harper is moving on up
Bryce Harper was anointed the “Chosen One” for baseball a couple of years back (SI Cover Boy in June of 2009). Then at last year’s draft, he signed a 9.9 million dollar 5 year contract, which was the biggest payday ever for a drafted position player. And though at times his immaturity and inability to act like he has been there before stands out to me, he is living up to the insane hype thus far. It is never easy to live up to never-ending expectations though. LeBron James lived up to all the hype and more for the better part of a decade as well. Until the pressure to win a title became too much. And until he wins a title, or multiple titles for that matter, he will never live up to the hype or hush the naysayers.
If Harper continues to raise the bar with the blistering numbers he continues to put up, he may get stuck with the “LeBron James Syndrome” a few years down the road. And come October, he may be asking for a “Check Please,” just like the “King” did in this year’s NBA Finals.
Chipper speaks his mind
Recently Chipper Jones said a couple of memorable things to the media following some lackluster officiating. He stated that “Officiating in the MLB is substandard for the most part.” Then one of the best 3rd baseman of the past two decades said, “If I get fined, I get fined, I don’t care.”
I truly believe Chipper when he makes statements like this. Jones has been in the League playing for the Atlanta Braves since 1993. He is 39-years-old, has won a World Series, an MVP Award, a batting title, and just made his 7th All Star team. Plus he has dealt with off-field marital problems. What does this guy have to lose or hide? He has been around the block.
Though I am not a fan of guys speaking out to the media and am not standing behind Jones this time, after watching the replays of the poor calls, he did have a case.
Just some “Food for Thought.”
Let me hear your thoughts though. Please comment below with any questions or insights that you may have or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.