They stride to the podium, nervous and tense,
Their confidence levels in check.
The depth of their knowledge is vast and immense;
Their opponents are waiting on deck.
The judge gives the word and they pause to digest,
Then they ask for its source or its root;
A sentence is given if that’s the request
And the part of speech offered, to boot.
You look at their faces and see the gears turn
As their studying comes into play.
The hours they’ve devoted, just so they could learn
What they’d need to compete on this day.
And then they begin, every letter pronounced;
With assertiveness, slowly they spell.
The judge gives a nod or an error’s announced
By a ding that’s the sound of farewell.
I watch them in awe – they’re so young and assured,
Even taking their losses in stride.
They’ve sacrificed pleasures but somehow endured
And I hope they feel nothing but pride.
Their prowess won’t get them too far in this life,
But at least they’ll know they can compete;
And in later years, if they’re confronted with strife,
They’ll remember they’ve conquered defeat.