Small communities that–feeling they have no better alternative claim to fame–host overeaters’ competitions [“Overeating for Fun and Profit,” June 30] are truly pitiful. The man in the crowd decrying the prize money Pat Bertoletti wouldn’t get when he vomited up those dozens of tamales (“That’s $2,500 he just put in the trash”), like the many spectators and contestants, seems not to care about the value of the food itself. While not organic or free-range, the tamales he spewed forth and those his fellow overeaters glommed on could have been many meals to a homeless man. But feeding the poor, that would be good news, and good news is unfortunately still no news.

Competitive eaters squander considerable resources and effort to get to competitions and to stretch their stomachs and not throw up (publicly). There’s nothing remotely “athletic” about competitive eaters, so Bertoletti ought to come up with a more realistic assessment than “Even though I’ve been kicking ass no one’s looking for me to be a real threat to anybody.” Martial artists are athletic and kick-ass, and overeaters aren’t, not by any stretch of the imagination.

He doesn’t know if, once he graduates and has to get a restaurant job, he’ll be able to give this waste of time as much time as he does now. Will his stomach stay stretched out, and if so, who would want to be his life partner and try to feed him? Will a normal meal ever give him the satisfaction winning at overeating does now?

His parents are correct in calling his preoccupation gross: this so-called sport is gross, but beyond that, their son and his ilk are selfish and gross.

Maja Ramirez

W. Willow