Shaun Connolly

There is a meme that has been making the rounds on baseball/very male oriented social media. It has been around as early as 2011. I remember reading an article about it from Bleacher Report, where a reporter and his friends attempted it. There used to be a website dedicated to the challenge, and even included a Hall of Fame. It is a challenge of strength, endurance and mental fortitude. I am of course talking about the 9/9/9 Challenge, where an individual must eat 9 hot dogs, drink 9 beers all within a 9 innings game. 

Well readers, I went to attempt it this past weekend…and then it was rainy, and I didn’t want to endure this physical task while also getting wet. I did however talk to some folks at a bachelor party about whether they could complete such a feat. Drinks had already been drunk and we were all in a pretty good mood, so needless to say some of these answers should have an asterisk next to them”

“I don’t consider that a challenge” -Peter.

“I’m a vegetarian, so I’m out.” -Josh

“That honestly sounds easy to me.” -Archie

“Why would I do that to myself?” -Pat

Are we really surprised by these answers? I wasn’t truly, just doing my journalistic duty. What those half-drunk maroons didn’t know is that I had already danced with the devil. I danced with him back in 2011 and lived to tell the tale. On a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN, Red Sox v. Yankees, I, along with three other idiots attempted the 9/9/9 Challenge. 

I can say in all honesty, that it is a challenge, it was not easy and I really wish I didn’t do it to myself. The three other challengers didn’t get out of the 5th inning. They got washed fast. They tried to go an actual dog and a beer, inning by inning. The problem with that method is either there is too fast of an inning, or you’re filling up on dogs too fast and the bread is soaking up those suds. 

I went a different route. I had 5 beers and three dogs in the first three innings. That is to say, I got drunk. What happens when you get drunk? You get hungry and your ability to curb your eating habits changes drastically. So I then ate 4 dogs and washed them down with a beer for the next 4 innings. So, by the 7th inning I had drank all 9 beers, and had eaten 7 dogs. I thought I was in the clear. But this is when I, Icarus and my beer wings flew too close to the full tummy sun. I could not for the life of me put another dog in my stomach for the last two innings. I was idled and nearly comatose for the end of what was a pretty exciting game. 

For those who care, Dustin Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game up in the 9th and then Josh Reddick hit a walk-off single in the 9th. Very exciting, but I could not even get up off the couch to appreciate it. 

I am 37 years old now. My body doesn’t process like it used to. Hell it doesn’t look like it used to. I, in retrospect, am glad it rained and I didn’t actually attempt this challenge. I have a son to stay alive for, I can’t have him lose his father to a hot dog tragedy. This challenge is for the young, and while I can’t do it, I encourage the young to go for it. Good luck.