The people at ESPNTV.com think so, and will be covering the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee , which begins this Wednesday in Washington, D.C. It's a fun parlor game to debate whether the 286 student spellers qualify as "athletes" or fierce competitors ready to unleash some serious lexicographical jujitsu on one another. As ESPN columnist Mike Golic observed in the network's magazine this week:
"We don't celebrate academic achievement nearly enough in our popular culture. The spelling bee can be an example: Hey. Here's another way to get on TV- use your brain."Indeed.
If you have a chance, take a quick peek at the Scripps site, which, like any sport, includes lots of fascinating statistics (40 of this year's spellers are only children). They've also created a photo gallery, round results and, of course, study resources. You can also view a list of all of the students participating in this week's event, including four students from Washington state.