Looking for things to gross me out—a questionable luxury of retired guy-ness—I recently came upon a story prepping readers for news about the annual contest sponsored by Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. Because the idea of “competitive eating”—the term favored by *Major League Eating (MLE)—struck me as just bit more than odd, I kept reading.
What I found seemed to be emblematic about any of us who have lost our way. To summarize MLE, there are folks out there whose “sport” is eating, who train and engage in this lifework, and who gather with others to promote this approach to… (I’m not sure what they’re promoting….)
Related web sites also revealed that competitive eating has definite side effects, harmful physical consequences for basic bodily systems. (If you let your imagination run here, you’re probably anatomically and medically correct!) And if gorging on hot dogs, mayonnaise, oysters, tacos, Chinese dumplings, beef tongue or chicken wings makes you sick to your stomach, I understand completely.
But hold on. Before I condemn these sportsmen and sportswomen, I should take a closer look at my own habits. St. Paul’s warning about lifestyles that end up as disasters might also apply to some of the ways I approach life, too. (See Philippians 3:19.) I may not gross out anyone with the way I eat, but I don’t always curb my food consumption. I may not think eating is a sport, but it’s easy for me to forget about the millions of people who will not get to enjoy any food this day. And satisfying other physical or emotional appetites may be my own subtle form of idolatry.
So before I disparage competitive eaters, I probably need to get my own house in order, my own excesses confessed and corrected.
*If you think I’m making this up, check https://majorleagueeating.com. To be fair: “MLE is a proud supporter of Feeding America”, the nation’s premier food bank organization.
(To receive these entries when they are posted, go to the upper right hand corner of the top banner and click on the three dots or parallel lines. Scroll down to the subscription form and enter your information.)