Many big sports matchups dotted the holiday weekend - Venus vs. Serena, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Nadal vs. Federer.
Another one could be thrown into the mix - Kobayashi vs. Chestnut. Unfortunately.
Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, televised by ESPN, has grown into a big part of the July 4 holiday. This gluttonous battle between the former champ, Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, and current champ, Joey Chestnut of the U.S., may soon turn into this decade's Ali-Frazier.
The interest in this event increases each year and will only get bigger after this year's dog-off won by Chestnut. I'll bet a few barbeques on Friday had fools trying to see how many dogs they could ingest in 10 minutes.
I'll admit I want to know who won each year and how many hot dogs were eaten; I just don't want to watch it. As soon as one of those buns gets dunked into water then slopped into someone's mouth, I'm crossing off frankfurters from my July 4 menu.
America is known for baseball, hot dogs and apple pie. With the steroids scandal in baseball, the success of the movie, "American Pie,'' and now the growing popularity of this hot dog eating contest, we've now successfully tarnished these three American icons.
But the question here is whether or not this should even be considered a sport.
Sport is defined as a physical or mind activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively. In that sense, competitive eating could be a sport. But so are beauty pageants, and singing and dancing competitions, and those aren't considered sports - at least until ESPN acquires the rights to "American Idol.''
The question of what a sport is has been a great debate through the years. The late George Carlin used to do a hilarious bit, dismissing many activities as sports such as bowling because you have to "rent the shoes'' or gymnastics because "Romanians are good at it.''
One has to keep in mind that ESPN stands for "Entertainment'' and Sports Programming Network. ESPN needs to fill 24 hours of programming on several different channels, so it crosses into the gray area of sports with contests like poker and spelling bees, and tries to pass them off as sports.
Some of these events could be considered sports, but eating contests should not. The fact that they require little physical or mind activity aside, they basically go against all the principles of what true sports should be.
How many parents are training their children right now to be the next Joey Chestnut?
Buck Frank can be reached at 946-7461 or firstname.lastname@example.org.