I rushed after watching Wonder Woman in theaters so I could catch the rest of the finals. I couldn’t believe I’d forgot it was on that night and by the time I got home I caught the tail end of it. I was so mad at myself. I went and missed the 2017 Scripps Spelling Bee and had to sift through highlights like a serf. Oh, you thought I was talking about NBA Finals? You thought I was talking about Cavs vs The Golden State Warriors: The Trilogy?
Naaaaaaah, NOT ON MY WATCH! I’m talking about the 2017 Spelling Bee my G. This shit is my NBA Finals. The Spelling Bee is academia Wrestlemania, my guy. The pressure, the prayers, defeats, and triumphs of these competitors are ambrosia in real time. America gathers around the television yearly to watch these kids face off against one another in spelling. This is our Hunger Games (Battle Royale if you nasty). If you think I’m wylin’ then you obviously didn’t see the stunt Shourav Davari pulled out this year. Shourav risked it all (with his moms lookin’ on like, “you know you done fucked up now, right?”) to push the culture forward.
Now I’m watching the ending, right. The pressure is on, Ananya Vinay got the rock. She shooting her free throws right now. She just spelled gifblaar (a South African plant deadly to livestock) derived from Afrikaans (aka Dutch colonizers oppressive ass fuck language in South Africa but I won’t delve into that here). Ananya is now spelling “morocain” for the buzzer beater win. Her competition, Rohan Rajeev, is hanging on every letter she spells knowing that she got his number punched.
Ananya nails that shit and then confetti rains down and the crowd goes wild roaring. Folks are celebrating, the camera cuts to Ananya’s family and they making it rain pride on her. Everybody rejoicing but Ananya has this look on her face as she scans the audience and the announcer as she takes the moment in. Folks goin wild on Social Media giving her props and one person says, “Look how stunned Anaya is that she won.”
Stunned? You think that’s a look of someone that stunned? You must not have seen Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming stand up yet. Hasan told us about this exact moment with brown kids in spelling bees. Anaya got that “ice water in the veins. Kobe.” dedication to her craft stare. That girl ain’t stunned, that’s not the look of someone that chose door number three on a game show and is hearing Johnny say she just won a “brand-new-caaaaar”. That’s not the look of someone that just won the Wheel of Fortune.
Respect game then peep game, the look on Ananya Vinay’s face is the look of a soldier still on the battlefield, man. Anaya been training for this spelling bee doing 5 beats a day for 3 summers (That’s a different world like “C-R-E-E S-U-M-M-E-R-S”) and now it’s over. Ananya was training for this Spelling Bee on some Stu Hart Dungeon shit. Out here giving muh fucking belly to back German suplexes to her sparring partners while spelling out “concussion”, and it’s all done now?
Ananya been training to become the dictionary Highlander and folk saying that girl stunned?. Nah, homie that’s the thousand-yard stare of a soldier being told the war is over. Ananya won and got her honorable discharge papers and doesn’t know what to do. She wondering how she going to assimilate to civilian life, wondering who she is without a war to fight anymore. Ananya Vinaya is looking around like this is all I know g. This is me, it ain’t over. Look at her eyes fam, it ain’t over for her.
Ananya feel like she in Rocky V and they trying to Tommy Gunn her. She won the fight but she ain’t hear no bell. She ain’t hear no bell. Ananya got Micky in her ear saying “One more round kid. One more round.” As I heard Gemineye say, she in her 8-mile flow still. The beat cut off but she still bopping. She about to spell Acapella. Y’all don’t recognize the look of a Spelling Bee Battle Emcee when you see one? Ain’t no vomit on her sweater already, mom’s spaghetti, because she can stomach this shit. There’s no Mekhi Phifer, this is her life.
Ananya is a freaking professional. Léon. Your girl a black ops Jason Bourne killer on the vocab and she just got her burn notice/ghost protocol. She just got told “You killing’em too hard. We gotta have you go off the grid. The
[redacted] government thanks you for your services in [redacted] for the sake of your country.” Y’all mofos never saw Rambo before?!
Her daddy had to run up on stage and hug her to tell her, “It’s time to come home. The war is over. It’s over! You did it G. “THERE AIN’T GOIN BE NO REMATCH! THERE AIN’T GOIN BE NO REMATCH!” Ananya’s father hugged her like Gai Sensei hugged Rock Lee when he got back up with his arm crushed, leg crushed, concussed, and unfucking conscious but still ready to fight. Fuck it, Ananya is Rock Lee and her Daddy is Gai-sensei holding her and telling her, “Baby girl, there ain’t nothing left to prove! Ain’t nothing left to prove! Don’t do it to’em! Don’t do it to’em! Let it go! We Gucci now. We eaten now.”
Fuck it, Vinay Bomaye! Vinaye Bomaye! I said it. Put her jersey in the rafters, she made it out the Battle Royale. Look at the runner-up Rohan recognizing a real one. Look at ya man giving that “Damn. You got me. You got that one” sigh, knowing damn well he goin’ sign up for a second tour.
Rohan knows he still got some stuff in the basement to fight outta his system. The war ain’t over for Rohan yet, Pops had to come hold Rohan and tell’em it’s still all good. Anaya walked up on’em to show respect, Rohan taking that L while telling Ananya, “You made it out the academia hood baby. Go live girl. I’ma be here in the trenches I still got work to do here. I can’t go with you yo. But I want you to live g. Live for me my g.”
Ananya Vinaya taking the title for the Spelling Bee this year and I live. All I needed was for her to take the trophy in one hand, grab the mic in the other and then close out the show saying,
I DO THIS FOR MY SQUAD I DO THIS FOR MY GANG!”