Why the Spelling Bee is Awesome May 27, 2009

Why the Spelling Bee is Awesome

Indian people: We make up 0% of the NBA, 0% of the NFL, 0% of the NHL, and 37% of the Scripps National Spelling Bee semifinalists.

And this is why watching the Spelling Bee semifinals (on ESPN) and finals (on ABC) on Thursday will be awesome. 15 of the 41 remaining contestants are Indian. We probably have a common ancestor more recently than you. Hell, I’m probably closely related to several of them. Which means when one of them wins the Bee, I’ve won the Bee.

Don’t argue with my logic.

This will be *so* much more compelling than watching LeBron.

My money’s on Sidharth Chand, the runner-up from last year.

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  • MaleficVTwin

    Good for them. Not enough emphasis is put on intelligence anymore.

    I graduated HS 17 years ago, and even then the “leaders” were the jocks. Let’s let these kids have their moment. 🙂

  • Wow. Any hypothesis on why? I find it fascinating that it’s such a high percentage. I assume there’s something cultural or maybe in the experience of being from an immigrant family (something I don’t have direct experience of).

    Congrats to all the finalists, good to see kids so involved in learning.

  • I think this is becaues most of the Indians think that education is the key for sucesss in a way that lead them to be so skinny and wearing high power glasses in a sign showing other people how hard they belive in education and schools etc….
    No offense at all but my pure personal oppinion.
    Good luck to all contestants.

  • Bekka

    How many of the rest you want to bet are Jewish? At least ostensibly? Wish there was a way to follow up and see how many end up atheist – Because I’m betting a survey at age whatever-teen wouldn’t give accurate results by any stretch of the imagination.

  • blackskeptic

    I just watched this (2008’s) on ESPN last night, and at first I watched it out of curiosity. Then I got hooked, but then again I watched the last part of it when it was more intense with the harder words. I’d imagine that the 1st part of the show would be boring.

  • medussa

    I love spelling bees. I was a great speller in school.
    As for the high rate of Indian spelling geniuses: my guess would be cultural training towards excellent study skills, and towards being able to focus.

    I know nothing about Indian culture, but the culture I grew up in valued similar traits and they made me stand out academically when I then came to the US.
    It’s either that, or Indian folks are just plain more intelligent. Which would explain why we have to call them for help whenever we can’t figure out our electronic toys.

  • Aly

    W00t, w00t, Indians! 🙂

    I’m going to say it’s the work ethic. And, of course, a hint of confirmation bias.

    People who were raised to be studious were the ones who got the opportunity to come to the USA, and therefore taught their children in the same way. All Indians are certainly not that intelligent.

    I see a direct correlation between the parenting and the achievement of the child, and it is very apparent in the Indian community, where you have those whose parents obviously did not push them as much (oftentimes, these are the ones who are most assimilated) as compared to those whose parents are clearly behind at least some of their accomplishments.

  • CatBallou

    I love spelling, but my real strength is editing (20+ years as a technical editor). And I have to confess that I can’t parse this sentence at all:

    We probably have a common ancestor more recently than you.

    You can’t mean that your common ancestor is more recent than me, because that makes no sense. So do you mean that you and one of the contestants have a common ancestor more recently than any of your readers and any of the contestants do? If you all represented the descendants of a small group of immigrants to the U.S., certainly–but not if your ancestors came here separately. Just think of the population of India!
    Unless there are Scotch-Irish in the competition, none of them are my relatives.

  • medussa

    Haha @ CatBallou, I tripped over the same sentence, read it 3 times and gave up.

  • I had a brief look at the list of contestants and I think you’ve got it wrong. They all seem to be Americans. I couldn’t see a single India there at all. There probably wouldn’t be much point in an international spelling bee given the range of spellings across national boundaries.

  • scib0rg

    You’ve got to check out the excellent documentary “Spellbound”!

  • You’ve got to check out the excellent documentary “Spellbound”!

    Seen it. Loved it!

  • stogoe

    CatBallou, I don’t understand why you’re having trouble parsing that sentence. We leave off the “do” from those types of sentence constructions all the time. It’s practically a general rule in English.

  • CatBallou

    It’s not because of the absent “do.” It’s because the notion of “we” here (the contestants and I) is not parallel to the notion of “you.”
    If he had said “I’m probably more closely related to a contestant than you are,” it would have been clear.

  • Mike

    Manny Malhotra would disagree with you (regarding the NHL).
    Too bad the Jackets are out of the playoffs, but they did face Detroit in the first round.
    Don’t know the stats on the other sports.

  • Hemant,
    Manny Malhotra would disagree with you (regarding the NHL).
    Too bad the Jackets are out of the playoffs, but they did face Detroit in the first round.
    Don’t know the stats on the other sports.

    Interesting… I did not know this. Though Malhotra is only *half* brown, and we all know that doesn’t really count…

    Apparently, Robin Bawa was brown, too.

    Percentage-wise, I believe it still rounds down to 0% 🙂

  • JustinM

    You may not have many major league athletes, Hemant, but at least you have Rinku and Dinesh!

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