The Japanese dude scarfed only 49 dogs yesterday at the Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. That's well down from the 53.5 he ate last year, setting the world record. It seemed the perfect opportunity for some homegrown talent to step up, to take advantage of the opening and reclaim the Coveted Mustard Yellow International Belt. It was a chance for American eaters to stand strong, be resolute, stay the course, and engage in various other boosterish aphorisms. It seemed, after all, that the 150-pound Japanese guy was in his last throes.
He won anyway.
We will choose not to interpret this as a metaphor for anything larger.