At the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee that ended last night, this young man, who did not win, was my personal favorite:
Jacob Daniel Williamson, of
Bonita Springs, FL
I think Jacob turned out to be a lot of people’s favorite, too. He finally misspelled “kabarogoya” (a large aquatic lizard). He was funny, so funny, and spontaneous and real. But there was so much more.
Now this morning, when I checked the news to see who the winner was, I first turned on my morning sports show with three jocks behind the radio microphones, and when they started joking around about the Spelling Bee and, in particular, “that Jacob character,” I had a bad feeling. I’d seen Jacob for a little bit in the evening while going back and forth between baseball and the Bee, and I had just loved him and had hoped he’d win. I saw that he was eliminated before I went to bed. But this trio of radio/TV personalities were beyond crude and rude. To this bunch of hormone-overloaded guys, Jacob was the “nerd,” home-schooled like many of the contestants in this contest are, and they couldn’t understand that concept either. “What do these nerds do all day at home school? Spell? Do they have gym or anything?”
It went on and on and I had to turn off that channel, they disgusted me. Shame on them!
But I digress. These two amazing young men won in a TIE!
Ansun Sujoe, Ft.Worth, TX, and Sriram Hathway, of Painted Post, NY
Ansun spelled “feuilleton” and Siriam spelled “stichomythia” correctly, and for the first time since 1962, they just flat ran out of words and had to declare the Spelling Bee a tie!
Congratuations to Ansun and Sriram both for an amazing accomplishment.
And just for the record, although I don’t know what it is that Jacob actually has that makes his body look different, i.e. affecting his spine and hands, whatever it is, I think it’s the same thing that actor Bill Nighy has (Dupuytren’s contracture) where one of his hands is contracted into a claw-like position, his right hand, I believe, and Jacob seems to have the same thing. I’m thinking it’s a muscular ailment of some sort. He also seems to have scoliosis of the spine. But whatever this brilliant boy has going on in his young body, to make jokes about him and laugh at him and act like total idiots in front of all their viewers like they did on the sports show this morning was just plain WRONG! In so many ways! They have lost me as a viewer.
CNN anchors on TV were a bit less cruel when they interviewed the co-champions this morning, but the jokes started coming out of even their mouths, the two men more so than the one woman. One host even asked if the two champions just felt like they HAD to know which one was BETTER and were they going to go find a dark alley somewhere and duke it out until a real winner was named?
Both young men had sensible, intelligent, rational answers to that, saying they didn’t need to do that. What they have learned from this experience, including the vocabulary portion of the Bee which is a big part of it now, and all the languages involved, not just the spelling part, will see them well into their lives, whether it be medicine, the law, science, or whatever they do with their lives… they will be much better prepared for a successful and intelligent life now.
Wow. Good answer. Good come-back. And shame on these TV hosts for being such idiots!
There was one boy in the Bee from our home town of Marblehead, too, but he wasn’t in the finals. Not sure where he misspelled a word, but here’s a shout-out to
Mitchell Robson, Marblehead, MA
And contratulations to all the youngsters in this competition. As a spelling fanatic myself (although I’m not even in the same universe/league with these kids!), this has always been one of the best events of the year to me.
Cheers to all the young people who take their lives seriously enough to work hard and prepare for a life worth living!
Bex & Co.
P.S. BTW, I didn’t want to muddle up the subject matter here, but last night our Red Sox baseball team won their 4th game in a row! We are no longer in last place! Go Sox!
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