Feeding Frenzy

Photo Credit: RitaE

In odd news this week, Molly Schuyler, a competitive eater, has taken the Z Burger Annual Burger Eating Contest for the fifth time. This year she ate 32 burgers in 10 minutes (complete with buns), breaking her record of 27 burgers last year.

I’ve never understood competitive eating. I’m not sure why being able to stuff your gut with massive amounts of food is something to be lauded. There is a show on the Cooking Channel right now called Man vs. Food and each episode ends with the host (whose name I can’t remember) takes on an eating challenge.  I haven’t watched a whole show but have seen bits and pieces, enough to know that there is always a crowd standing around urging him on as he gorges on whatever platter is in front of him.  Why is this interesting, I just don’t know.

And competitive eating during which the contenders eat hot things like peppers baffles me even more. I think it would be a sad thing to say about my own life if I’d need to get a high from torturing my digestive system.

Have you ever won a contest?

63 thoughts on “Feeding Frenzy”

  1. I too am mystified by the competitive eating thing – what a waste of food, time, $, energy. Bah, humbug.

    Surely I’ve won some kind of contest – maybe an impromptu hopscotch “tournament” when I was 7, or the first round of a spelling bee in 4th grade or something. Will be back later if I think of anything else.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I won first place in the 4-H horticulture division for a succulent garden at the Rock County Fair when I was in Grade 8. I got to go to the State fair.

    I also won first place in Dramatic Interpretation at a speech contest at Minnesota State University in Marshall when I was in Grade 12. It was a soliloquy from “Anna Christie”. I was fascinated with EugeneO’Neill at the time.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I won the only contest I ever entered, a bass fishing contest on Lake Minnetonka that was limited to fly fishermen. I knew about a shallow bay off Crystal Bay that is quick to get warm after the ice melts, so it attracts bass early in the season. Most contestants caught nothing or one small fish. My partner and I had a live well filled with nice bass (which we released). The prize was an expensive fishing rod. I didn’t claim it. I was embarrassed because I had an advantage or two over other contestants. It felt odd to be a winner. I don’t think that ever happened before or afterward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No reason to be embarrassed about that, Steve. If the other fishers had done their homework, wouldn’t they have known about that bay?
      Winning is all about having that extra edge / knowledge that others don’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Part of my embarrassment was about being an outdoor writer, a guy who regularly told readers how to catch fish. An expert, if you wish. The funny thing is that I had never caught a largemouth bass on a fly before entering the contest.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I find the very idea of competitive eating repulsive. Ingesting as much food as possible, in as short a time as possible, violates every notion I have of food etiquette. And to think that there exists such a thing as a competitive eating organization boggles my mind. I don’t think I’d even be able to watch such a competition.

    Other than various athletic competitions in high school, I can’t think of any contests that I’ve won, or even participated in. I’ve won in Bingo a couple of times if that counts.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree with you about competitive eating. My discomfort goes much beyond that: I’m not fond of competition in general. That makes me something like unAmerican. I don’t like activities that divide people or groups into winners or losers. I don’t think losing is good for the soul, and I’m not sure winning is actually better. One of the reasons I declined the prize for winning the fishing contest is I dislike screwing up something spiritual and pleasing with the nastiness of competition. For me, competition does not spark joy.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. Lee Iacocca passed recently. It reminded me how back in high school speech class I had to do a persuasive speech. I was pretty good at speech class and fairly comfortable speaking in public, but, the “persuasive” wasn’t my strongest or favorite topic.
    So I did a speech about not supporting the Chrysler Corporation bail out and that Lee Iacocca should just get out. (I can’t remember the ending but I know I was sure acting pretty confidant about it. I probably even slammed my fist on the desk or something)
    And the teacher said I wasn’t balanced enough. Seems like I got a ‘C’. And I was confused; I thought that was the point. And perhaps that has something to do with my lack of competitive spirit too.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever won anything that involved a raffle or drawing or a lottery, and generally I eschew competition. But back when I was fresh out of college and looking for a job and perhaps the beginning of a career, I had the opportunity to interview at Campbell- Mithun advertising agency, possibly the largest agency in the Twin Cities, for an entry level position. I was hired and my duties In the beginning were to mount for presentation the work of all the art directors. At that time and for years previous, Campbell-Mithun had the tradition of an annual art show, open to all employees. Employees voted on their favorite and the winner was the one with the most votes. The winning piece was framed and hung somewhere in the office. Throughout the agency were hung artworks by previous employees, illustrious art directors mostly. Though I was more or less an intern and had only been there a few months, I submitted a piece and my piece won. I think that raised my profile because a couple of months later I was elevated to full-fledged art director.
    I won the next year’s art show too.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. While I was working for KPMG in the IDS Center in Minneapolis, I’d walk through the Crystal Court almost daily. One day during lunch hour there were a bunch of women there selling raffle tickets for some charitable fundraiser or another, and they talked me into buying a booklet of five tickets for ten bucks.

      I promptly forgot all about it, as I usually don’t win anything. A couple of weeks later I got a phone call that I had won a sweater. An hour later I got another phone call, I had won a gift certificate for $100.00 toward dinner at the Minneapolis Athletic Club. In quick succession I got two more phone calls. At this point they were apologizing for calling me so often; I assured them it was not a problem, to feel free to keep calling. I ended up winning on four of the five raffle tickets, and they were quite substantial prizes, tickets to Orchestra Hall and tickets to a Vikings game. The Vikings game tickets I gave away, but everything else we enjoyed ourselves.

      Liked by 5 people

  7. Food eating contests – whether hotdogs, hamburgers, pies, or hard boiled eggs (think “Cool Hand Luke”) – are just one big “ick” to me. Can’t stand to watch them.

    The only contest I remember winning was my elementary school spelling bee as a sixth grader. I was a substitute for one of my classmates who was sick that day. My cousin had won it the year before – nice to keep it in the family.

    Liked by 6 people

  8. I just remembered another. There was a national contest run by Zebco (makers of cheap fishing tackle) for articles about fishing with your kids. I entered a piece about fishing with my daughter, and it won. My prize was to go to the Florida Keys to fish for tarpon with some famous saltwater anglers. Which was fun. That’s an exotic bit of landscape. I wondered why the prize wasn’t some kind of fishing adventure that would involve kids. The answer is the whole contest was invented by a PR guy at Zebco who used this program as a way of getting the company to send HIM to the Keys, a dream assignment for him that he didn’t have to pay for.

    The experience was odd in several ways. I mostly enjoyed hanging out with famous saltwater fishermen, guys who had TV fishing shows, but I’ve never found myself surrounded by such a gang of bigots and racists. That got really uncomfortable.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. To tie this into swag, last March I registered at a booth to win a hooded sweatshirt. It’s a good company wbo’s Products I use and in fact I was wearing one of their T-shirts from a previous year.
    So I registered and got the ticket.
    Drawings were every half hour and I kinda forgot, then as I happen to be walking past again I saw a guy getting a hoodie and laughed that he had won my shirt. The people said “No, he hadn’t” and asked for my ticket. Well, I never tore it in half or left them half, I still had the whole ticket. Can’t win if they don’t have half. We laughed- I had been in a hurry before and didn’t think of that.
    Half hour later I won a hoodie.
    I “won”. It’s a nice one too.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I just remembered, I often enter Radio Heartland ticket giveaways, and have won quite a few times over the years. Tickets to hear such artists as Joan Baez, Lyle Lovett, Mary Black (twice), Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, Aaron Neville, Shawn Colvin, and Keb Mo’. There are probably others that I just fail to recall at the moment.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I suspect that Mike Pengra shudders each time he pulls my name out of the hat. I usually enter both husband and myself, and that has proven to be a really good idea. When we heard Joan Baez, quite a few years ago now, we had each won two tickets, but we had no trouble rounding up two friends who wanted to join us on short notice.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Keep at it, Krista. I’m currently in the running for ticket to hear I’m With Her next week at the Minnesota Zoo – or at least I’ve entered our names.
        Keeping my fingers crossed.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I think I won a spelling bee once in grade school but I don’t remember any specifics.

    We had a folk music club called the Bothy Folk Club in Mankato many years ago. We donated small items for every concert and sold raffle tickets. There was always a bottle of inexpensive wine, a CD from the night’s performer and a box of chocolates. I won the box of chocolates once. The tradition was to pass the box of chocolates around as far as it goes until it runs out. I passed the box of chocolates to the person next to me and never saw it again.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. If we’re talking raffles or drawings, I figure I used up all my raffle-prize luck when I won a one-week trip to Oslo, Norway. Pretty sure I have talked some about that trip – round trip non-stop flights to and from Oslo, accommodations at a really nice hotel in downtown Oslo…we just paid for our food and such while we were there. Met cousins from my mom’s side of the family, saw the “old” family farm (still a farm, but not owned by our family any more). Fantastic memories of that trip – all because on a whim I filled out an entry at a Breugger’s Bagels – box was full when I added mine, figured there was no way I would win.

    Contests of skill? Yeah, I’m like Steve – I don’t like competition. It makes me uneasy. I did a personality test that is used pretty widely in business settings to figure out what your strengths are, so the team can leverage those (the idea is to focus on strengths vs. weaknesses – build on the former not try to fix the latter) – “competition” was one of the bottom “strengths”… I hated “field day” when I was a kid, I don’t recall spelling bees at my school, I was a so-so competitive speaker in the couple years I did Speech in high school…um… I helped Daughter create a cardboard boat that went further than the other ones in a cardboard boat race (it helped that she was the smallest “captain” of a boat), so we won a $5 gift certificate – that’s all that’s coming to mind for anything involving skill. (If using cardboard, duct tape, and a plastic garbage bag to make a floating water craft is really a skill.)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. There are so many things to dislike about the premise of competition. In the first place, you are measured by someone else’s arbitrary criteria and the extent to which you “win” is that you meet those criteria better than the other contestants. For all you know, you might be the best horse in the glue factory, the fastest one in the slow group.

      The only person you have to satisfy, the only criteria you have to meet are your own, and that can be hard enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, I’m surprised (though I probably shouldn’t be) at how many baboons take a dim view of competition. I love competition, though I lack the killer instinct that apparently is needed to be a champion at anything. But evenings of friendly rivalry in Scrabble, Chess, Yahtzee, assorted card games, or trivia, can be so much fun if you’re playing with the right people. When everyone is having a good time, no one is a loser, no matter what the score card says. At least that’s how I see it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m curious, if you dislike competition, do you not participate in games that keep score? I’m thinking Bocce ball, golf, what have you?

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        2. We see this topic differently, PJ, which isn’t surprising. We might be using “competition” to mean somewhat different things. I agree there is nothing wrong with “friendly rivalry” or any sport “when everyone is having a good time.” You might agree that competition can get ugly when contests turn into ego conflict or when people get furious at each other (like the Little League game that sparked a brawl). For many competitors–especially competitive men–the whole point of life is making losers out of others and a winner out of yourself. (Does that remind you of anyone?)

          If you had spent as much time among competitive men as I have, your view of competition might be more mixed. It was my misfortune to spend a lot of time among competitive men, worst of all competitive fishermen. It was disheartening to see what the competitive drive can make a man do. For me, fishing has always seemed like a beautiful, spiritually enhancing thing to do. It was a joy to be on the water, connecting with the beauty of the natural world. Competitive angling–as I got to see it–is utterly destructive of those values.

          I could tell you stories . . . but none of them would be appropriate for this site. Friendly rivalry is nice. It has nothing in common with the drive to claw your way over others in an effort to put them down and yourself on top.

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        3. I curious as to why you think we are thinking of competition as meaning something different? I’m fully aware of sore losers, and have witnessed my share of unsportsmanlike behavior by both men and women. I’d venture a guess that for every Little League game that sparked a brawl – and I know there are some that have – there are thousands that don’t. For every Jimmy Connors and Ilie Năstase, both very successful and gifted tennis players, who often displayed horrible manners, on and off court, there are thousands of other tennis players that display remarkable grace, both in victory and defeat.

          My mom was not a gracious loser. When she, dad, my sister and I would have a “friendly” game of cards, she’d tear up the cards of the end of the game if she didn’t win. After a couple of times of that, you just don’t play with her anymore; you don’t give up cards.

          To me competition is a challenge to do the best that I can. If that’s good enough to win against a particular opponent, that’s great, but it certainly doesn’t make them a loser. I’ve competed against scads of athletes in swimming, diving, tennis, and all kinds of track and field events. Some I’ve won, and some I didn’t. Never, not even once, did I consider myself a loser for not coming in as the top performer. To me it’s much more important to be in the game than it is to win it, and it matters how you play it.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. My comment above is obviously an ectopic post. Have no idea why it showed up where it did. Probably human error, though.

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      2. As a matter of fact, it’s been at least a couple of years since I engaged in any game where there were winners and losers and even that was something of an anomaly. Games in general just don’t interest me much. The worst case scenario for me is finding myself drawn into some sort of game with someone to whom keeping score and winning really matters. In that circumstance, I just want to let them win as quickly as possible and get it over with. Of course, really competitive people hate it when you aren’t trying to win.
        I used to golf occasionally, mostly with my Dad when he was alive, and we sort of kept score but it didn’t matter much. A couple of times I tried to golf alone at a course and they would want to put me into a group with some other golfers. That would ruin the experience for me because golf as a competitive activity was not the point. What I found pleasant about golfing was the walk in the groomed landscape (not driving a stupid cart!) and the golfing part was physically satisfying to me in the way solo archery would be.The attraction was in striving for nuanced personal control and accuracy. I had no interest in measuring myself against anyone else. Like fishing is for Steve, it was just a relaxing, contemplative thing to do. I feel the same way about bocce. The physicality of it is enough. Whether someone else does it better or not is meaningless.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I’ve played golf exactly twice in my life, so I’m no expert. But I can imagine that’s a game that you could, conceivably, have good time playing by yourself. It’s a little harder with, say, tennis.

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        2. Tennis, and most sports, are arbitrary constructs devised to provide a context for competition. Golf is one activity where it would be possible to engage without a competitor, but the culture is biased against it.

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        3. OT – I love my neighborhood. Here’s one reason why. The following was posted on Nextdoor Hope, an internet bulletin board of sorts, that serves as a way for neighbors to communicate about all sorts of stuff: break ins, help needed with various projects, complaints about this that and the other thing, seeking advice on all kinds of issues, and whatever. Tonight this was posted:

          Jackie Sullivan
          Oops

          Hi neighbors.
          If anyone saw “the video” or heard about the woman who had a Lifetime movie moment and was throwing stuff out her window in early May, that was me. Many stress factors lead to that most awful day (and a few others!). Anyhoo, the stuff I threw (not at anyone, I made sure to tell people to move so they wouldn’t get hurt!) Is all missing, including my phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note9, lavender (not yet totally paid for)The other things have sentimental value and I don’t know who has them or if someone threw them away. Included are an electric guitar and amp, and a little cedar keepsake wooden box (The box and costume jewelry in it belonged to my mom who passed away when I was 5), a metal lap tray, a 70’s coat tree (from my dad), a couple vintage telephones, and other things. If anyone might have my things and would like to return them I’ll happily take them back, no questions asked. I totally understand if people thought I was throwing garbage. Nope. I lost control for a bit and it made me made an arse of myself. Broke my own heart, you might say.

          *I do have the best neighbors ever and have no idea how to thank people for their kindness. If you’re new to the area you picked the right place to live.
          1 day ago · 24 neighborhoods in General

          Tena Gallivan
          ·Edited 1 day ago
          If you started a survey, I bet you would find that most of us have had their Lifetime movie moments. I have recently had a few myself. People who throw stones and whatnot. Hope you find your stuff.

          Jackie Sullivan
          ·1 day ago
          Thank you for that, Tena 🙂

          Lindsey Carl
          ·1 day ago
          I think the bigger the heart, the bigger the “Lifetime movie moment” sounds like you’re a passionate person 💓 I hope you get your sentimental items back!

          Roberta Matthews
          ·1 day ago
          Hope you find your things. I have had Lifetime movie moments a few times myself. Take care of you!
          Brent Fox
          Brent Fox
          ,
          ·1 day ago
          There is nothing in life we can face that has not been faced and conquered by others before us.
          Bold of you to post about your moment. I hope things are better.

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        4. Oops, number two. This is where it belongs – I hope.

          “My comment above is obviously an ectopic post. Have no idea why it showed up where it did. Probably human error, though.”

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        5. There has to be a doctoral dissertation in this subject somehow! Why do some people eschew competition while others thrive on it? Why do some see it as sucking the joy out of an activity, while for others it spurs them on to producing masterpieces?

          Vs, when people encourage you to display your creations at the State Fair, I hope you take that as the ultimate compliment to your craft. For someone who enjoys the Fair as much as you do, I would think that it would be the ultimate thrill to have one of your creations on display – whether it wins a ribbon or not. You refer to the stress of competing, where does that come from? It obviously has to do with some expectation that you put on yourself. No? Go for it. Just like Beth-Ann did some years ago with the ice-cream. What’s the worst that can happen?

          I don’t mean to be obnoxious about this, but I’m truly struggling to understand why “not winning” is such a big deal for some. Am I just blessed from birth with being oblivious to the obvious? If so, I see that as a gift, and I sure hope nobody disabuses me of the notion that I have win every competition I enter in order to amount to anything. Maybe I’m just a slow learner, but I’m not done trying.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. It’s not so much the winning or not winning for me, it’s the stress of getting it done on someone else’s schedule and with someone else’s rules. I have more than once in my lifetime tried to take a hobby and make money out of it, first with baking and then with card-making (repping for a rubber stamp company) .Neither of those were that much fun. I like to do my hobbies on my own schedule.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. I used to go to Landmark Center’s Holiday Bazaar (with baboon Linda); we would enter the raffle for free items provided by many of the artists. I won something once, but can NOT REMEMBER now what it was. Sigh.

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  14. OT – I know no one on here probably gives a hoot, but the US women’s soccer team has just beaten the Netherlands, 2-0, to capture the World Cup.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. OT – It sounds like ljb is having a rough time of it at the moment. I’m assuming that everyone is getting the CaringBridge updates? Hang in the Edith, if you read this while the glasses are still on your nose.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. As you know, our next door neighbors of fifteen years have just moved out. Tonight, I’m feeling lucky. Our new neighbor has just moved in. He stopped over a few minutes ago to ask if we had a outdoor broom he could borrow. Apparently they had messed up the sidewalk in front of their house in the process, and he wanted to clean it up. What a blessing good neighbors are. I’m hoping he does find us too sloppy.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Occurs to me that I didn’t answer my own question. While I’ve won just a few drawings in my life (a very few), I don’t think I’ve ever actually entered a contest, at least that I can remember. I’ve had many folks over the years suggest that I enter goods at the State Fair (Ukrainian eggs, cookies, cakes, paper crafts), but I don’t want to suck the joy out of any of my hobbies by the stress of competing.

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  18. WP is really goofy tonight. This time I know for sure that it posted my comment where it didn’t belong. Please see my ectopic comment above.

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  19. A number of years ago I won a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary in a competition to write a song to the tune of Let Me Call You Sweetheart, with lyrics supporting a “No” vote on the ballot question of whether Minnesota’s constitution would ban same sex marriage. It wasn’t a case of winning first place, though. If I recall correctly, everyone who entered won something.

    I tried entering something into a sidewalk poetry contest once, but I didn’t win. Oh well, gave it a shot.

    I would like to enter something at the State Fair someday. It would be pretty cool to see your craft project or artwork or baked goods showcased at the Fair. It would be even cooler if you won a ribbon.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I recall you winning that rhyming dictionary, Linda. I think various baboons also contributed non-winning entries on the trail. As far as the State Fair is concerned, go for it. Husband submitted a photo once, and it was accepted on his first try, something that’s pretty rare. Subsequent submissions have not been admitted. He hasn’t gotten any worse as a photographer, he just hasn’t submitted photos that appealed to the deciding judge(s).

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    2. I’m a huge fan of Special Olympics, and I think we can all learn a lot about competition from them. I was a volunteer at an international Special Olympics held in the Twin Cities in 1991, and it was truly a privilege.

      At most athletic competitions the spectators are only interested in the winners; at the Special Olympics the cheering for the last swimmer in the pool, struggling to make it to end, has as much, if not more, support. It’s about the effort, heart, the struggle. I love that.

      There were so many moments of emotional melt-down for me. I recall one young female skater, her legs as thin as toothpicks, who could barely stand up without support; yet she skated, and the heart and courage she showed had everyone in tears. I truly don’t think it mattered to her or anyone else where she ended up on the scoreboard. She was a winner.

      I found the athletes, their families and their coaches truly inspiring. I spent most of my time with the Danish swim team, so a great many of the competitions that I attended were in swimming. I was amazed to discover that teams from as far away as Australia and England had large contingents of families supporting their athletes. The same was true of the soccer players. The Danish contingent was pretty much limited to those two sports.

      Sorry, I know I’m speaking to myself.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That must have been the Special Olympics that Robin also volunteered at, working with the Japanese athletes. She still has a hat full of pins from that experience.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. So she had one of those pink t-shirts we were required to wear? I think I wrote about that on the trail, years ago. Exposing myself at the Farmers’ Market.

          Liked by 2 people

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