So I have a confession to make. Last night, instead of watching the NBA finals (or more reality TV), I was glued to ESPN watching the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee. No, Hodges Badge Company didn’t sponsor the shiny gold trophy. I was just amazed at the abilities of ten to fourteen-year-olds to decipher or recall the spellings of words you don’t come across unless you read the entire dictionary (which the winner did, twice).
Watching the ‘final five’ knock out 21 words in a row, including “caciocavallo”, “völkerwanderung”, “abhinaya”, and others that were difficult to pronounce, let alone spell, I started thinking about my job. Tell people you work for an awards company and often times you’ll hear the argument about how “everyone gets a trophy” and “kids don’t value hard work when they get awards for just participating.”
Well, at the Bee, they weren’t handing out trophies to all the finalists or runners-up. But if you saw what those kids were able to do in front of the TV cameras, you’d probably want to hand them all blue ribbons. Because sometimes, you don’t have to finish on top of the pack to have accomplished something.