Although my mental prep seemed poised for victory, I wasn't prepared physically. My NYC diet of all-you-can-eat half-priced sushi and French toast has kept me in a shape, probably best described as an sagging water-balloon.
As the South Florida sun set, a golden maize hue on the horizon, one had to reflect on the corn eating championship. It was more than the usual competitive eating contest -- it had fights and forgiveness, despair and hope, bad behavior and magnanimity.
While listing my top ten New York City bars today, I am swigging Abita Grapefruit IPA and sipping Brennivin Schnapps from Iceland. Over twenty years of late nights, early afternoons in drinking holes and saloons, these are the ten or so that put my liver back in a New York Groove.
I have always relied on the kindness of strangeness, so 24 hours of shrimp cocktail, beer and whiskey in Indianapolis required a stumble to the dark side, with some nice folks along the way. As a city on the competitive eating circuit, Indy has often confounded me.
In 1968, as Washington, D.C. was overcome by riots, Ben's Chili Bowl not only stayed open, but served the rioters on one side and the police on the other, proving that chaos may reign in the streets, but chili brings only peace.
George Shea, the head of Major League Eating, has often compared our sport to, "a ballet of the buffet." He is often ridiculed for comparing traditional art to, well, stuffing one's face for prize money and a trophy.