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Fun with buns in sun

Here is a column I wrote the other day about my first ever visit to Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest - an experience everyone should have once, but not necessarily twice.

It's sort of like visiting Times Square on New Year's Eve in that regard, although I recommend Times Square only for people between the ages roughly of 18 and 25.

My two visits were in 1978 and 1980, on both occasions following Rangers games at the Garden. But I digress.

Actually, my hot dog column was more about ESPN's coverage of the contest - which is my jurisdiction - than about the event itself. But what an event it is!

The hot dog contest says it all about America: commercialism, gluttony, mindless fun, etc. I prepared by eating a Nathan's dog for breakfast at 9:45 a.m. There were no lines at that time. By the time I left at 1:30 or so, the lines were backed out almost onto Surf Avenue.

Even though it was very warm and most of the contestants - including Joey Chestnut, the greatest American of the 21st century - wore sloppy gym shorts, I went with khakis and a golf shirt.

It's my little tribute to the late, great Newsday sports editor Dick Sandler.

The last time I wore shorts on an assignment - not counting football training camps - was on June 14, 1988, when I covered future Yankee and Met Allen Watson's victory for Christ the King in the CHSAA championship game at Yankee Stadium.

It was extremely hot that day - 98 degrees, I believe. Seemed like shorts were the way to go. When I got back to the office, Dick informed me they were not the way to go when one is on a Newsday work assignment.

And that was that. 

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