There were many agonizing things about Hanif Brown’s early exit from the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee today.
For one, his spelling exploits are a pretty big deal in his home country of Jamaica. So there are a lot of disappointed people there. Also, he was eliminated in what is probably the worst way imaginable: he spelled his word (“nataka”) correctly, but he did so after his allotted time ran out. It was gut-wrenching stuff to watch, especially as the camera lingered on Hanif’s disappointed father.
Naturally, he was interviewed by ESPN back stage to talk about things like his “eligibility” and how he’ll bounce back from this “incident.” Keep in mind that he’s 13 years old, and that this is not a professional sporting event.