When it comes time to settle into summer, theres’ a few things that I can pretty much hang my hat on. For starters, it’s an incredibly slow time for sports, and after the break-neck pace …
When it comes time to settle into summer, theres’ a few things that I can pretty much hang my hat on.
For starters, it’s an incredibly slow time for sports, and after the break-neck pace of covering a ton of sports in spring, it’s a nice chance to kick back and enjoy some down time.
For me in particular, it’s a chance to get out in the sun, get on a kayak and spend some time in the pool.
This summer has been a nice change of pace for enjoying my Cincinnati Reds, who are arguably the hottest team in baseball, but there’s one other thing I always tune into when it comes to the middle of the summer—the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.
For nearly two decades now, Joey Chestnut has been arguably the most dominant professional athlete on the face of the planet and the Fourth of July hot dog eating contest is the competitive eating world’s Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, etc.
It’s simply the biggest event in competitive eating and on Tuesday, Chestnut once again chomped his way to another world title, scarfing down 62 hotdogs to claim his 16th Mustard Yellow Belt.
While still well off his mark of 76 franks, he blazed through the competition and the second-place finisher managed just a distant 49 hotdogs in the 10 minute competition.
For comparison, let’s look at some of the notable professional athletes and their world championships.
The great Tom Brady won seven Super Bowls in his 23-year career.
Michael Jordan won six NBA championships. Bill Russell won 11.
And all things considered, Chestnut trumps all of them in terms of championships.
Now I get the fact competitive eating isn’t a traditional sport and some might even call it a gross display.
And sure, some of the competitions aren’t “pleasant” to watch.
But at the end of the day, competitive eating is recognized as a professional sport.
Back in 2007, Chestnut burst onto the scene and stunned Takeru Kobayashi to win his first-ever Mustard Yellow belt and since then, the competitive eating world has been trying to keep pace.
Chestnut did lose the 2015 competition to fellow American Matt Stonie, but returned to championship form in 2016 and has dominated ever since.
So when it comes to the blazing heat of summer, getting out and enjoying all the summer has to offer is certainly at the top of the list, but in addition to cooking out, hot apple pie and Fourth of July fireworks, every year, the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is a must-see for it to truly feel like summer.
Chris Siers is sports editor of the Times-Gazette. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.