Hard to believe that the Mercury News would provide space on its front page (let alone any page) to cover the annual spectacle that is the Nathan’s hot-dog eating contest. Why would anyone have even the slightest interest in such an exhibition of gluttony? Unfortunately for us, San Jose gets its name attached to the madness, as the “winner” of the event, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, lives in San Jose. Why would anyone celebrate this guy? Is there any way that we can distance ourselves from Mr. Chestnut?
In his front page story that ran on the Fourth of July, sportswriter Mark Purdy wrote, “I have no bones about this: Chestnut is my favorite Bay Area sports personality—unless you believe that competitive eating is not technically a sport.” I hope that Mark Purdy is kidding. I’m not sure that he is. Competitive eating is certainly not a sport…it’s an obscenity.
Purdy goes on: “In many ways, [Chestnut] is not unlike other Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who found a niche, developed a strategy to exploit the niche, then prospered.” Please.
But Purdy’s front page story does provide us with some valuable information. He reports that Chestnut grew up in the City of Vallejo. This is news we can use. Let’s give Joey Chestnut back to Vallejo! From here on out, refer to Joey Chestnut in press and public as, “The Pride of Vallejo.” “The Pride of Vallejo” sounds so much better than, “The Shame of San Jose!”