Tuesday, January 03, 2006


So, last night I witnessed my first National Spelling Bee on ESPN. If you haven't seen one of these yet, it's high time you do, but you're gonna have to wait until next year. The highlight reel of moments of glory from spelling bees past was enough to get you pumped. Kids pushing up their glasses, looking up to the heavens, and pulling out letters from deep inside them. Some with the nervous tension of say a rookie relief pitcher called upon to save the game in the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series and some with the cocky bravado of Muhammad Ali. Maculature, succedaneum, prospicience. And all these moments underscored by Queen's We Will Rock You and R-O-C-K in the USA.

As if that wasn't enough to get you excited about competitive word spelling, well then, the actual competition definitely gripped you and forced you to repages from your dictionary during commercial breaks. All kidding aside, it really was intense. I wasn't expecting it, but you get caught up watching these kids. You're completely drawn in. Their struggles, their stories become yours. You don't want any one of them to experience a loss because they've all worked so hard and they are all so damn young. But one by one, they're taken down and 18 rounds later one kid holds the trophy, a smile as big as an aircraft carrier spread cross his face. He's spelled exsiccosis, hodiernal, and ornithorhynchous to get there and saw the defeat of thirty-six other kids. And you look at his USS Yellowstone smile; tears of joy streaming past the aircraft carrier smile, the tension of an 18 round struggle finally erased from his 14 year old face; and you think, "Who ever uses these words outside of spelling bees?"


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