As someone who admittedly qualifies herself as spiritual rather than religious, the Christian game competition laid out in the two-hour special was mind-blowing.
There are teenagers from all across the country who literally spend their entire year memorizing sections of the Bible, all so they can come together at nationals, compete and become the Bible Bowl champion after a series of rapid-fire question rounds that involve a buzzer and lots of intense concentration.
Basically, most of the time I had no idea what these kids were saying, let alone who was winning or what the purpose of all of their hard work really was. It seemed like most of them hoped they would get a trophy all while serving the Lord.
But I'm going to go ahead and say that is far from the point.
A lot of these kids came from homeschooling backgrounds and admitted that they didn't have a lot of friends. The Bible Bowl competition gave them a place where they could connect in a world where they otherwise might not feel like they belong. And that's an incredible thing for a teenager. Because, let's be honest, you're lucky as a teen if you even have a fraction of a moment where you feel like you fit in. When I was a teen it was mostly awkward inner monologues contemplating my future and braces.
Unfortunately, TLC's special focused more on the back and forth rapid-fire rounds than on the kids' histories and relationships with one another.
I would love to see the network try this one again next year with more behind-the-scenes interaction and less play by play of each of the rounds.
And though I don't think this competition necessarily warrants a full season, without a break between each of the competition rounds I felt like I was watching some kind of twisted, jaw-dropping spelling bee rather than actually getting a look inside this world.
Still, the Bible Bowl special was absolutely an experience.
Plus, I really hope this year's runner-up Emily Gass returns and wins it all in the future. Girl has got it going on.
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