The Scripps Spelling Bee is one of my favorite annual competitions I watch. In addition to loving to watch competitive things generally, I am captivated by all of the human elements. There are always the quirky and distinct personalities--complete nerds, class clowns, cocky kids, awkward home-schooled kids, nervous wrecks, eerily mature pre-teens, the unusually 'cool' kid who looks out of place, and the many students who fulfill ethnic stereotypes. And those are just the spellers. Their parents are equally as entertaining, from the overbearing to the ultra-supportive.
The little montages about how they study and about their other interests are also fascinating. And how cool would it be to be 12-13 years old, be on national television, and how your own little clip? Maybe that's why I also enjoy watching it so much. It celebrates student academic competitiors. While I may have played sports and spelled averagely, I rocked those math competitions. (seriously, what happened? I cannot even do arithmatic now) And going to those math competitoins, especially at the higher levels, exposed me to the same kind of personalities and rituals as it seems exists at the spelling bee.
After cutting two hours of my studying to watch the bee, I am hoping to find the same kind of discipline to study for the bar as those kids use to learn the etymology and spelling of all those words. Pictured above is this year's winner, Kavya Shivashankar (courtsey of WaPo). Poised, confident yet humble, and always smiling throughout the bee-- I want to be like her.