March 15, 2011

Sitting for a Spell

This past weekend I was asked to be a judge in my local area's Tri-County Spelling Bee, a feeder competition to the national Scripps event in Washington, D.C., which gets televised by ESPN and ABC in June.

I shall rule the entire Tri-County area!
Essentially, my job was to crush the souls of these children by informing them that they were to be considered abject failures, and suffer nightmares for the rest of their natural lives simply for not knowing that "caribou" did not end with a "double O."

What fun it was to watch as a nine-year-old girl started weeping uncontrollably upon hearing that her word was "Kabuki" and that she instantly knew she had no idea how to spell it, even if she was told it was "a form of Japanese dance-drama" and was a noun -- as if that would somehow help.

See, we have a dictionary. We must know what we're doing!
How delightful to have parents come up to the judges' table to appeal on behalf of their children that "the menu at the restaurant we go to regularly spells anchovy with an I-E at the end, so it must be right" and other such specious arguments. Hey, my local Chinese restaurant offers up both "oxital soup" and "french fiies" but that doesn't mean your kid moves on, lady.

OK, maybe the whole experience wasn't that bad... after all, look at the smiles on the faces of our top three spellers below...

Congrats to Stephanie Miller for being the last one standing after 34 others had fallen by the wayside. We'll be rooting for her in June and hoping that all those I's continue to come before those E's, except of course, after those troublesome C's.

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