Happy Sunday! Welcome to the last installment of my list of reasons why the bee is still important and relevant. Please note that there are other reasons beyond the ones in these posts; I am simply covering the most basic ones. (Also, if you aren't familiar with my previous posts on this topic, please read the older ones.)
Reason number five: friendship. There's something about having sat onstage together in front of thousands of people, having waited through the same stress and suspense of finalist announcements, and having shared the experience of a bee that forms lasting friendships between fellow spellers. I met some of my best friends at the spelling bee, and I am in contact with them on a regular basis. We talk about everything, spelling-related and not, and my spelling friends are some of the most important people in my life. I wouldn't have any of them if it weren't for the bee.
Reason number six: celebrating the English language. English is often called a melting pot of languages, and it's true. We have words from German, Japanese, Sanskrit, French, Swahili, Latin, Greek, Sinhalese, Egyptian, Hindi, Malayalam, Turkish, Czech, Polish, and countless other languages. Not very many languages have that much etymological diversity, and the spelling bee is the perfect way to celebrate that. It enables us to display the rarer and more obscure gems of the vast and beautiful English language, and I can't think of any better way to do that than to intertwine it with competition, sportsmanship, friendship, study skills, and vocabulary.