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Spelling Bee

As I'm writing today, I have the 78th Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN in the background. The Bee is enthralling. gnomi and I saw the movie "Spellbound" a few years ago, and the tension as you watch the kids try to get the word right...it's amazing.

I discovered that the Bee has a webpage at http://www.spellingbee.com, and they even have a results page at http://www.spellingbee.com/05bee/resultsindex.shtml. At this very moment, Round 7 is in progress, and if you go to http://www.spellingbee.com/05bee/rounds/Round07.htm, you can watch the page update with the results as each kid either gets the spelling right and moves onto the next round...or is eliminated.

My one and only Spelling Bee experience was in 5th grade, at PS 101, my elementary school. I was one of four kids remaining on the stage, and I got the word "scholarly." I asked for a sentence, which was "The boy carried his schoolbooks with a scholarly look on his face." I heard that as "scowlerly," so I asked for a definition. When I got it, I knew the word, and proudly began spelling.

"C," I said, skipping over the "S" purely by accident.

I stopped. I knew I was eliminated, but I didn't want to go out like that. So I started over. "S-C-H-O-L-A-R-L-Y," I said. And then the bell rang and I went off the stage.

Next year, I chose not to participate in the Spelling Bee. Far too much pressure for me.


FYI, there is now a Broadway musical entitled "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee": http://www.spellingbeethemusical.com/
I also remember the words I got wrong in spelling bees, including negotiator in 4th grade, and poison (! I thought it was p-o-i-s-E-n) in 5th grade.

Sigh... I agree, way too much pressure. I really didn't find spelling bees enjoyable. Although, since you remember your mistakes, I guess you really do get something out of them.
I came in 6th in our regional championship: For me I misspelled "lectern", spelling it with a u at the end instead of an e.

Driving through the parking lot before the tournament, a girl walked out in front of us and my dad joked, "I should've hit her--help eliminate the competition!" She turned out to be, naturally, the winner.
Did you see that they had "milchig" in the second round? :-)

(And levirate in the 9th.)
I watched John Minnich of Roanoke, Virginia go out on "ulpan." Poor kid.
I just saw that listed. I think that might've been the one word I did know from that round...

(And I found "minyan" and "pilpul" in earlier rounds too :-).
my getouttahere word was 'mnemonic', but as I was a hypochondriac I heard and misspelled it as 'pneumonic'.

in 1989 (if memory serves) i placed eighth nationally. that was fun. :) the word that finally stumped me was “sautoir” (i added a terminal “e”).

one of the consequences is that i am sensitive to misspellings the way some people wince at grammatical errors.


So were you actually at the Scripps National in DC? I'd love to read more about your experience, if you ever choose to post.
I was in the New York State Spelling Bee twice. The second time I came in second and I still think I was robbed! The word was "victuals" but they pronounced it "vittles" and as a good little Mark Twain reader, I knew how *that* was spelled . . . Oh well.
Did you object? Did you point out the Twain usage? Did you ask them to check a standard dictionary for alternate spellings?
I was twelve and in front of a big crowd -- feeling shy enough as it was that it wouldn't have occurred to me to make a fuss. Though I did mutter something about Twain.

December 2016

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