Can spelling bee a sport?

Joe Sullivan, Sports Writer

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Your name is called and you walk on stage. The announcer says “the word is gladiolus”. You take a breath while your heart is beating rapidly as you spell the word gladiolus.

The announcer replies “that is correct,” and you have just won the national spelling bee. 

June 17th, 1925, is the date of the first ever National Spelling Bee in the United States. At age 11, Frank Neuhauser was the first ever winner of the National Spelling Bee.

Since then, 91 kids have been crowned champion. In 2019, eight kids from across the nation were named co-champions after the bee went to 20 rounds. 

And every year, hundreds of kids compete against one another to be named the spelling bee champion and to receive a $50,000 cash prize. 

Some people even go far enough to call spelling a sport, considering the fact that they’re competing for thousands of dollars on live television. With all of this on the line, can it be called a sport? 

The answer is no. The real definition of a sport is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” 

Some people may argue whether spelling is physical, considering the fact that you are standing in front of thousands of people on stage and in front of millions on TV.

Although it may nerve wracking, spelling isn’t considered a physical skill that these geniuses are athletes because they just simply aren’t. 

Even Pratyush Buddiga, 2002 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, said that he doesn’t feel spellers are athletes nor are poker players. I’m very sad to say that Spelling is not a sport, because one year ago I believed it was.

Since 1994, the most known sports channel and network, ESPN, has been airing the National Spelling Bee. The beginning rounds are aired in the afternoon and the championship rounds are aired in the evening. 

ESPN stands for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. Studying the dictionary for six hours a day and competing against kids all around America on live television has to make it a sport right? 

Well, not exactly. You can’t sit here and tell me that these geniuses are athletes because they just simply aren’t.

Although these kids that participate in the spelling bee wear Lebron James and Steph Curry jerseys, there is no comparison between them at an athlete standpoint.

Spelling is a mental game along with poker and chess. The spelling bee is considered entertainment, and man is it fun to watch. 

There is nothing better than sitting there, watching the bee, and trying to spell super obscure words given to the contestants. 

The Scripps National Spelling is probably the most unusual and interesting entertainment event that I watch annually. The Nathan Hot Dog eating contest is pretty crazy, but it doesn’t compare to five years olds qualifying for the National Spelling Bee.

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