Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

Her heart was beating really fast, but she managed to control her nerves and spelled the word correctly. The children applauded and her heart relaxed as she had qualified for the second round of the Spelling Bee.

Abeer was an intelligent girl studying in seventh grade, her only dream was to win the spelling contest and defeat the old champion. The list was a bit difficult and she found it hard to remember all the spellings. Despite all the difficulties she faced, and the tough competition with her fellow mates, Abeer had defeated the old champion and also qualified for the second round too. But she had to compete with tough opponents and defeating them wasn’t an easy task.

She was glad and proud of what she had done. She practiced for hours locked in her room preparing for this event, the day when her dream could come true.

During the break she revised the list for the last time, got supporting comments from her friends and prepared herself for the last and most important round of the Spelling Bee competition. The students gathered again at the auditorium where the competition was to be held and after a short while it began. As Abeer’s turn was coming closer, she could feel her nerves getting the better of her. So when the mike was handed to Abeer, she started to tremble. Abeer was able to spell the first word correctly, but sadly she couldn’t spell the second word.

The rest of the competition went terrible for Abeer and her dreams crumbled the moment she heard the results. It was devastating to lose at the last stage. After a long crying session, Abeer suddenly felt encouraged when she remembered her teacher had enrolled her in another spelling competition.

Abeer had a renewed hope to win that competition, although it was not the one she wanted to win. So she started preparing for it and, this time, she got its reward too in the form of the first position. She was delighted when she received the shield and was requested to deliver some words to the audience.

“I’d like to tell you all that if you still have the words winner and loser in your dictionary, then remove them. In every competition, there are only participants. I came here as a participant and I’ll remain a participant, whether I won or lost. If you give your best and don’t win, don’t get disappointed. As it is said, learn from your mistakes and move on, then you’ll never be bothered by the results. Thank you,” Abeer spoke with confidence.

With her small speech, Abeer inspired all the students and impressed all the teachers. Everyone cheered for her. Abeer had learnt an important life lesson through her experience of losing.

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 8th, 2024

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