Nathan's annual Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place on July 4th. With all the speculation about the contestants, let's get one thing clear: Competitive eating is not a sport. Here are some other activities that should stop pretending they're athletics.
There is no profession in America that is more revered than the professional athlete. We lavish tons of money, attention, and harems of loose women on them. The problem is not everyone has the athletic prowess and discipline to be one of the very lucky few to play for the NBA, NFL, or Major League Baseball. (Screw the NHL. What is this, Canada?) So what is a person to do who wants to be regarded as a LeBron James but can't make a lay up to save his life? Invent a whole new sport!
We've been besieged in recent years with leisure activities that have tried to rebrand themselves into actual athletic events so that an Average Joe can have his "I'm going to Disney World" moment. You people just need to stop it. Just because you can stuff 57 hot dogs in your fat gob in two minutes does not mean you are some kind of sports star. You're just a crazy freak with a wide mouth and an overactive appetite. You don't deserve fame, acclaim, trophies, endorsements, prize money, medals, ribbons, or anything, really. A fist bump and a "Good job, dude" will suffice.
Here are some other games and activities that have set up tournaments and leagues in an effort to become official Olympic sports, but should really just knock it off.
Poker: This has been going on for the past several years with the explosion of Texas Hold 'Em games on cable television. It even got ESPN to cover the annual World Series of Poker. Will you people leave it alone? This game should be for sharks taking saps' money and should take place in a casino or, even more appropriately, the back room of the Polish club down the street from your parents' house. If this keeps up, in a decade we'll have the Canasta Cup.
Pole Dancing: Recently a bunch of busty women have tried to turn seductive dancing on a metal pole into the new rhythmic gymnastics and have garnered a ton of media attention in the process. And why wouldn't they? The tabloid press (us included) is always looking for any excuse to show pictures of a scantily-clad woman. But now they have their own federation and are trying to codify rules. We have an idea. Get a bunch of girls to dance on the pole one at a time and have horny guys judge the competition holding fistfuls of ones. If they like what they see, they give the girl a dollar. The lady with the most cash at the end wins! See, that's not a game, that's just another night at your local titty emporium.
Hair Wars: Still not quite in the mainstream, there are competitive hair shows that tour all around the country where stylists work women's tresses into crazy configurations that are more akin to sculpture than to something that can actually be fashioned out of human hair. Alright, some of the creations are cool, but so are ice sculptures at fancy weddings, and you don't see people with picks and chisels fighting for a prize.
Paintball: This is an activity that rednecks and former high school lacrosse players thought up so that they could inflict pain on real humans without being charged with a crime. That's well and good. But there is no need to create an actual league based on guys pretending to be Sly Stallone in Rambo as they go out into the woods and give their friends enormous welts. If you really wanted to make this competitive, please use real bullets and the person who comes out alive wins.
Beer Pong: This is a silly party game ugly frat boys created to get pretty dumb girls really drunk so they have a shot of getting laid. Do not organize teams, have tournaments, or make up silly T-shirts with cute puns using beer terms and drawings of Solo cups with arms, legs, and cute faces. The only award you should get after a night of playing this "sport" is a serious hangover the next day and an ever-growing gut, making it just that much harder to "get your balls wet."
Rock Paper Scissors: This schoolyard game should only be used to determine who should eat a worm first or which sibling has to ride in the middle of the back seat on a long trip to grandma's house. Adults should not be playing this, even ironically. There is no real skill or tactic involved in Rock Paper Scissors. If you can get a trophy for this, we might as well just line up three old ladies at identical slot machines and give a gold medal to the one who stumbles upon a jackpot first.
Air Guitar: Seriously, now we're hosting championships for people who are too unskilled to play a real guitar and too lazy to buy Guitar Hero for their Wii? Why not have a prize for the guy who can make the best fake fart by putting his hand in his armpit and flapping his wing up and down. And since we're competing in activities that are best done in ones underwear while standing in front of the mirror, can we be the first to sign up for the International Lip-Synching Into Your Hairbrush to R&B Classics and Prancing About World Cup Tournament Extravaganza?
[Top image via Getty, beer pong image via Dan DiSorbo, all other images via Shutterstock]