If you thought that physical sports were challenging, then you clearly missed out on the mental Olympics that was the Scripps National Spelling Bee which finally came to a close Thursday night. Young contestants from all over the country fought against one another — and the dictionary — for the honor of being the best speller in the United States. Sure, that title doesn't sound very prestigious, but anyone who knew how to spell "feuilleton" before the spelling bee should really consider registering for one of their own.
The 2014 Spelling Bee was also notable for the fact that it had two winners instead of one, a feat that hasn't happened since 1962. That means that not only did 13-year-old Ansun Sujoe and 14-year-old Sriram Hathwar outspell 279 other children, but they also managed to outspell the very organizers of the competition. If that's not enough to impress you — or make you feel as though you wasted your childhood by not reading the dictionary — please note that the likes of this hasn't been seen in 52 years.
Shockingly, even the announcement of the two winners didn't manage to dominate the list of the best moments from the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee. In fact, the best of the best was one of the children who lost the competition. Jacob Williamson might have placed seventh in the competition, but he was number one in the hearts of the Internet for one reason and one reason only: boundless enthusiasm.
Williamson, who is also known as the most enthusiastic speller ever, became a quick fan favorite when he began celebrating every correctly spelled word with a shout and the occasional pumping of his arms in the air. Even his eventual disqualification was exciting, as Williamson loudly declared that he knew exactly how to spell the word — then loudly cried, "WHAT?!?!" when he spelled it wrong.
Of course, Williamson had everyone's hearts firmly in his grasp when he had a full on breakdown upon being announced as one of the finalists in the competition. I have no idea what kind of show everyone thought they had been watching up until that point, but Williamson falling to his knees brought the spelling bee to a whole new level. It was either an emotionally poignant level or an incredibly hilarious one. The jury's still out on that one.
Even though Williamson was eventually disqualified, his enthusiasm continues to make him a favorite among fans. So much so that in less than a day, he's earned everything from praise to taunts to memes to a Lil Jon Remix of his elimination. No, really. The remix is just one of what has the potential to be the many ways that the Internet will immortalize Williamson's cry after he misspelled his final word, with one Twitter user even stating, "I just want a clip of Jacob Williamson saying 'what' whenever I hear something shocking."
While it's true that Williamson would have certainly liked to move further in the competition or maybe even been counted among the two winners, hopefully he finds this an acceptable compromise. It's pretty hard to stand out among 281 competitors and the fact that Williamson managed to pull that off is a testament to how a little enthusiasm and a lot of passion goes a long way.