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“Competitive Eating”



Pre-Listening Activities

1. Discussion Questions:

  • Before listening to the interview, engage the students in a brief discussion about competitive eating. Ask questions like:
    • Have you ever heard of competitive eating?
    • Do you consider it a sport? Why or why not?
    • What criteria do you think define a competitive sport?
    • Is prize money an essential element of a sport?

2. Vocabulary Preview:

  • Provide a list of key vocabulary words related to the interview. Have students predict their meanings or share their initial thoughts on each term. Some words to include might be: competitive eating, stigma, regimen, endurance, opponents, and prize money.

3. Mind Mapping:

  • Begin a class mind map on the board with the central topic “Competitive Eating.” Before listening, ask students to brainstorm and add any words or ideas that come to mind when they think about competitive eating. After listening, revisit the mind map and add new insights.

4. Hypothetical Scenarios:

  • Present hypothetical scenarios related to competitive eating and have students discuss or write about their reactions. For example:
    • If competitive eating were officially recognized as a sport, how might it change people’s perceptions?
    • Imagine you were a competitive eater. What kind of training do you think would be necessary?
    • Discuss the potential health risks associated with competitive eating.

5. True/False Statements:

  • Prepare a list of true/false statements based on the content of the interview. Have students read the statements before listening and predict whether they think each statement is true or false. After listening, discuss the correct answers and reasons.

6. Role Play:

  • Assign roles to students (e.g., competitive eater, sports analyst, skeptical bystander) and have them engage in a short role-play discussion based on the given interview. Encourage them to express their opinions and debate the merits of competitive eating as a sport.

Vocabulary and Expressions

Here are some words and expressions that appear in the video:

stigma (noun):

  • Definition: A mark of disgrace or shame associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.
  • Sample Sentence: Despite being a skilled competitive eater, Jake faces the stigma of people doubting the legitimacy of his sport.

regimen (noun):

  • Definition: A systematic plan or regular course of action, often related to training or exercise.
  • Sample Sentence: Competitive eaters follow a strict regimen, including specialized diets and stomach exercises, to enhance their performance.

endurance (noun):

  • Definition: The ability to withstand hardship or adversity; in the context of sports, the ability to sustain prolonged effort or activity.
  • Sample Sentence: Competitive eating requires not only the capacity to consume large quantities but also considerable endurance to endure the lengthy contests.

controversial (adjective):

  • Definition: Causing disagreement, dispute, or argument; often related to differing opinions on a particular subject.
  • Sample Sentence: The status of competitive eating as a sport remains controversial, with people having varying perspectives on its legitimacy.

Listening Comprehension Questions

Now, watch the interview and answer the comprehension questions. You can also turn on the automatically-generated captions for the video once you start it.


Randall: Hello, Emily. And in this video, I want to talk about something that might be a little bit controversial, right? Competitive eating like someone trying to eat as many hot dogs as they can in ten minutes. Do you think that is a competitive sport? Why or why not?

Emily: I don’t really know how I feel about this.

Randall: I mean, like, soccer is a competitive sport. Tennis is a competitive sport. Why not competitive eating?

Emily: I feel like there’s probably, it’s based on a lot of stigma. I feel like that’s something I would have to sit down and maybe evaluate. Is there a lot of training involved? My first inclination would be, no, it’s not a sport. But then if you think about it, they do have to have some sort of regiment, like, I couldn’t eat more than a hot dog, but some people can down them and I don’t know enough about it.

Randall: All right. So when you think about I think about there’s probably some training involved, like exercising your stomach muscles. Uh, probably endurance. I mean, after 3 or 4 hot dogs, I’m ready to, you know, throw up. I, I can’t eat that many. But, I mean, some of these people eat 40, 50, 60 hot dogs. So training endurance what? Any other thoughts on that?

Emily: I feel like I just need to know more about it.

Randall: So you’re not canceling it out. You’re saying, I’d like to look into this a little bit more

Emily: Yeah.

Randall: as a sport.

Emily: Yeah. Before I stand in either camp.

Randall: Alright. Well, thank you. Emily, I, I know that this is a topic that a lot of people discuss. I mean, they win prize money. Is prize money an element of competitive sport, maybe competition, maybe you have opponents. Okay. So I think there are a variety of factors. But yes, I think there’s going to be a lot of discussion on whether it is a sport or not.

Conversation Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehension):

  1. What is the main topic of the interview between Randall and Emily?
  2. According to Randall, what are some factors that might make competitive eating controversial?
  3. How does Emily initially feel about competitive eating as a sport?
  4. Can you recall any specific examples or analogies used in the interview to describe competitive eating?
  5. What are some potential elements of training that Randall suggests for competitive eaters?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. In what ways does Randall try to justify competitive eating as a sport during the interview?
  2. How might societal perceptions and stigma influence the classification of competitive eating as a sport, according to Emily?
  3. Discuss the role of prize money in determining whether an activity qualifies as a sport. Do you agree with this perspective?
  4. Explore the idea of endurance in competitive eating. How is it different from endurance in traditional sports like running or cycling?
  5. Why does Emily express the need to know more about competitive eating before forming an opinion? How might additional information influence her perspective?

Advanced (Evaluate and Synthesize):

  1. Evaluate the arguments presented by Randall regarding the potential sport status of competitive eating. Are they convincing? Why or why not?
  2. Analyze the societal factors that contribute to the controversy surrounding competitive eating. How do cultural norms and expectations play a role?
  3. Consider the parallels between competitive eating and other unconventional sports. How do perceptions of what constitutes a sport evolve over time?
  4. Reflect on the interview’s implications for the broader definition of sports. Should activities like competitive eating be included in the same category as traditional sports? Why or why not?
  5. If you were to participate in a debate about whether competitive eating is a sport, what key points or arguments would you raise to support your position?
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