How Indian Americans Came to Love the Spelling Bee

“Spelling is not just taking these 500,000 words in the English language and memorizing them and then you win the spelling bee — that’s not how it works,” Nihar stated. “I want people to think of spelling just like any other competition, like wanting to learn the story behind that field and learning how that field can apply to the world.”

“You can’t just eat protein powder and then go be good at football,” he added.

Dhroov stated that considered one of his favourite issues about spelling is the way it intersects together with his different passions, together with music. “I worked on the ‘Carnival of Venice’ song on my alto saxophone, and that’s a piece where the dynamics are very important,” he stated. “Knowing all these words — for example, ‘crescendo,’ ‘diminuendo,’ ‘ritardando,’ which means to slow down, ‘fortissimo,’ which means play extremely loud” allowed him to “bring emotion to the piece, make it come alive,” he stated.

The quantity of focus vital additionally inevitably leads to important time commitments, and loads of strain on the youngsters.

“The level of our competitors has definitely increased. Some of our students prepare for the spelling bee as any other collegiate athlete would with the amount of preparation, the dedication, and the amount of time that they study,” stated J. Michael Durnil, the bee’s government director.

Tarini Nandakumar was, at 10, considered one of the youngest semifinalists competing this 12 months. Before she struck out in the semifinals, on June 27, she stated she needed to end what her older brother, Pranav, had began years earlier than. “My brother got 19th place in nationals, so I wanted to continue and try and win,” Tarini stated. Of the way it felt to have made it that far, “it’s exciting, but also scary,” she stated.

The strain was excessive. And when Tarini, who’s from Round Rock, Texas, didn’t make it to the finals, she felt quite a lot of disappointment. Many tears had been shed at first, she stated. Her dad and mom tried to consolation her, and inside just some days, she stated she got here round, and was asking for assist to begin learning once more.

“I’m very motivated to get better next time,” she stated. “Or at least get in the top five.”

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