Kobayashi's Absence from Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Is Justified

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2012

NEW YORK - JULY 4:  Joey Chestnut of San Jose, California (C) and Takeru Kobayashi of Nagano, Japan (R) stuff hot dogs into their mouths during Nathan's Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest on July 4, 2009 in Coney Island in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  Chestnut defeated Kobayashi with eating 68 to his 64.5 hotdogs. Kobayashi won six previous competitions before tying last year with Chestnut. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Yana Paskova/Getty Images

I'm no competitive eating fan, but like countless Americans, I enjoy the spectacle that is the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every Fourth of July.

And like anyone else who has watched in years past, I miss watching Kobayashi shimmy and shake as he inhales hot dogs and disgusting, wet rolls.

It's a truly strange event, what can I say?

It would be fantastic to have Kobayashi around for the event, especially so he could square off against Joey Chestnut in a rivalry that mirrors the intensity found in a game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, or perhaps a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid for our footy fans out there.

Okay, so perhaps I'm slightly exaggerating, but you catch my drift.

The thing is, Kobayashi is totally justified in his absence from the event, much as we would all love to see him participate. If you don't know the back-story, it goes a little something like this:

Eaters at the Nathan's event have to sign a contract that states they will only participate at particular eating contests, something Kobayashi doesn't dig. So he hasn't signed that contract since 2009, and this year is leading the charge for a rival hot dog eating contest, the Crif Dog Classic.

That's right, folks—there's a rift in the hot dog eating world. A great disturbance in the force. A familiar face leading a new charge against the old guard.

Kobayashi is taking on the man. It would almost be epic if we weren't, you know, talking about hot dogs.

But hey, if I were a competitive eating star—which currently resides at 759 on my list of desirable career choices—I wouldn't want to have to sign a contract limiting my eating engagements. I understand Kobayashi's trepidation in that regard.

Much as the mainstream folks revere the hot dog eating contest, it's just one event, with many more available out there. Is one event worth signing up for others you aren't interested in?

Kobayashi doesn't think so, and I can't blame him for that. It's his career.

I'll always want to see him and Chestnut do battle again at the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, but I've accepted the fact that it probably won't happen.


Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets want Dwight Howard to just get traded already, too.

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