Thanks to author Larry Getlen for sending a link to Part I that's posted on The Black Table. (hat tip: NYC Writers Group). Otherwise, I might've missed this comprehensive look into a little-understood athletic endeavor, competitive eating. Not a sport you say? Well, I'm one who includes bowling. Besides, every year thousands run marathons and triathalons, and we marvel over the pain and endurance, but most of them don't exactly look or behave like you and I anymore- they've become otherworldy bone and sinew people with quads like drumsticks that flap when they run. MMMMmmmm, drumsticks.
But in the world of competive eating, the air is even rarer among competitors, and normal people you pass every day could be unrecognized champions. In this progressive sport, gals and guys hunker over their hash shoulder to shoulder. One married couple, nicknamed the Thurston and Lovey Howell of eating, boasts two top ten finishers. Another serious gobbler, and just ramping up, is 105 lb Sonya Thomas. The eating scene contains the big and small, the young and old, because success is about technique, aptitude, training, and iron will. It's an equal opportunity for glory if you can fight your "urge contrary to swallowing." Can you be dominated, or will you become the master of the enormous spectrum of challenges: hot dogs, matzo balls, pancakes, ice cream, sushi, shrimp, burritos, candy bars, pickles, doughnuts, onions, peas, pumpkin pies and hamantashen... whatever that is?
It's a long article, but worth your time. It runs down the players and their stories, revealing intricacies of approach and training that you probably never suspected. As in all things, there's good, better, best. Give these people their props, and prepare yourself for Part II, the timed-glutton extraordinaire, the phenom known as Kobayashi.
I'll be linking here, of course. It's my duty to you and my delight.