You could just feel the pressure.
For the last two years, Jacob has won the school spelling bee. His first win, as a fourth-grader, was totally unexpected. As a fifth-grader, the contest was still his to lose, but nothing could compare to this year.
He almost didn’t enter, because of the high expectations. Once he decided to go for it again, several of his buddies (who were his stiffest competition last year) bowed out. In the minds of all of his classmates, he was already the winner before he’d spelled a single word.
Jacob studied, but not as diligently as in previous years. He was a nervous wreck the day before the contest, to say nothing of the morning of. He was worried that Dad was going to be there and not Mom. He was worried that he hadn’t studied hard enough. He was feeling the pressure.
When the participating students lined up to pick their order they chatted, “Jacob Johnson is doing this again? Great, he’s just going to win it again now.”
The pressure was on. Jacob was issued number 42 of 63 kids. After the first couple words, he didn’t seem quite as nervous and confidently spelled each word given to him. In order, his words were:
When it got down to “adjudicate” there were only five kids left. Most of them were little fourth graders, and it was cool to see Jacob give them fist bumps when they got words correct.
And then, all of the sudden there were two. Jacob vs. a fourth grader. The fourth grader was noticeably nervous, and started spelling dilapidated with a D – E – L. Since you can’t go back and change what you’ve spelled, Jacob allowed a hint of a smile — he knew he’d won. Jacob calmly stepped up to the microphone and spelled dilapidated correctly. The judge gave the next word, tachometer, and Jacob breezed right through it. Pressure? What pressure? Jacob won again, completing the threepeat.
Jacob was a gracious winner and congratulated all of the other kids. Several of the moms congratulated him and one said that winning three times in a row might not happen again for a very long time, and I wager she is correct. Not many kids leave elementary school having never lost a spelling bee. Congratulations, Jacob!