As a massive Miami Heat fan, I have an incredibly hard decision to make tonight. While tonight may be Game 1 of the NBA Finals, we also have the greatest annual sporting event to ever exist: The Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals.
For those of you saying “a spelling bee isn’t a sport,” open your damn minds. Not only was the Scripps National Spelling Bee televised on ESPN for 27 years, but it is also the most competitive event known to mankind. If you haven’t watched it before, I’ll do my best to explain.
The spelling bee has been going on now since Tuesday. Tonight is merely the final round. That means we get to see the best 11 children spellers in the country go toe-to-toe as they attempt to spell their way to the top prize of $50,000.
So why is this fun? Well, for starters all of these children are smarter than you. Ages 9-14, the kids are wicked smart, so much so that they have absolutely no social skills, making any sort of interview feel like an episode of The Rehearsal.
Best of all, all the children have vicious tiger parents who put all of their own hopes and ambitions into their kids. The stakes are high, the pressure unbearable for such tiny children. When someone makes a mistake the smallest ring of bell is enough to make these children bawl their eyes out. Does that make me sound like a monster? I guess a little bit, but it is nowhere near as bad as what these parents put these children through.
I mean imagine memorizing the dictionary. Sounds awful, right? Well, each and every one of these kids has done that. Now it’s just a contest of who could remember the most.
Oh, and by the way, a ton of these kids are friends which creates a ton of drama. One year a kid in the final two misspelled a final word on purpose so he and his friend could continue and eventually become dual-champions. Other years, you see best friends’ relationships crumble in front of your very eyes due to the height of the competition.
This contest will make you feel stupid, yet proud to not be a child nerd. The tensions are tight. The lights are bright. And anything is possible. There will be cheers, laughs, and oh so many tears. It’s like The Bachelor, but instead of dudes trying to win over a stupidly hot girl named Cinnamon, it’s a bunch of kids trying to spell their way to their parents’ love and affection.
Only one (or two, possibly three depending on how long they last) can be crowned champion and leave with the prize money that will go directly to their self-centered guardians. It’s sure to be a battle for the ages. We don’t know who will win, all we know is that they will most definitely be a fan of butter chicken.
For those interested, tonight’s festivities will begin at 8pm EST on ION. I for one will be watching the Finals with a stream of the bee on my laptop for commercials. I highly recommend you all do the same.