I just read an ESPN article saying that a chef named Ron DeSantis created a massive sandwich with fifty two separate ingredients celebrating the fifty second Super Bowl. This strikes me, because I never would have thought that the world of sports could have such a widespread effect on vastly different facets of life like the culinary world. The sandwich was 9 inches tall, 26 inches long, and 18 inches wide. (Ew!) From a health perspective, that sandwich is obviously gross. People will go to such great lengths to celebrate the sports industry. Calling the sandwich the “Super Sandwich” in honor of the Super Bowl makes it harder to criticize the unhealthy repercussions. People will disregard what they might normally think of such a sandwich, solely because it’s Super Bowl related.

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Sports culture in general promotes unhealthy eating habits, and college campuses (ours included) is susceptible to this. For example, the foods most commonly served and bought in sports stadiums are hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream, alcoholic beverages, and many other sugary, unhealthy snacks. People may feel that they won’t be getting the “full sports fan experience” unless they are in fact eating those things while sitting in the stadium. Even though that’s not the case, the two activities are now unfortunately linked. Watching live sports is now undoubtedly associated with, for example, buying Cracker Jacks at the baseball game. I think most would admit that those hot pretzels, cheeseburgers, and sugary candies are too hard to resist at Lynah Rink! You won’t see fruit, organic snacks, or salads offered there, that’s for sure! The lack of those other options sends the message to sports fans that the unhealthy road is in fact their only option.

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Manifestations of the sports and food combination stretches further than live games as well. Outside of our stadiums, there are sports bars and restaurants. They put up television screens all around the room and people will specifically come in around game times. Walking through bars and restaurants in Collegetown on a game night is definitely vastly different than walking through them on any other night. This goes to show that sports fans feel compelled to watch games while eating out at a restaurant, which can often mean a less healthy meal, or possibly just an extra meal. The experience of watching a sporting event seems to have a requirement attached to it- and that is eating. If you’re not having food while watching the game, are you really watching the game!?

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This healthiness versus sports experience phenomenon stretches further than student life at Cornell. I think that food’s relationship with sports is unique everywhere, because sports have control over many of society members’ views on food, often impacting them in a negative way. Someone who may ordinarily check a product’s label for the ingredients and nutrition facts can be influenced by the “sports effect” and simply eat unhealthily when watching a game on TV or visiting the arena. The US sports culture is so dominant, it frightens me that it promotes such unhealthy eating. An additional factor promoting unhealthy eating habits to fans stems from athletes and their advertisements. It’s possible that a fanbase will buy and eat a sugary product merely because their favorite athlete is the company’s sponsor. When it comes to sports, for some unexplained reason, a lot of the importance placed on healthy eating habits goes right out the window!