10:24 a.m. - 2005-06-09
And for some inexplicable reason I found myself, fully within reach of the remote control, glued to the “78th Annual Scripps Spelling Bee” in Washington, D.C. In part because I knew that one of our own local lasses had competed in this particular meeting (but she didn’t make it as far as the last 20 kids). In part because I was astounded at the way the kids processed their prescribed words in order to spell them. Most of these words, if not all, were words I had never heard of let alone wanted to know how to spell. The shear determination on the children’s faces kept me transfixed and rooting for them.
The funniest part (and yes – there are funny parts) of the presentation was during the 16th round, down to 3 kids, and in the middle of one boys concentrated efforts to work out word origin, noun vs. adjective, alternate pronunciations, the giant “S” from the word “Scripps” fell off of its parapet of curtain to land with a thud on the stage behind the children. At first the young man ruminating on his assigned word couldn’t figure out why the audience had broken out into muffled snickers and giggles, until he turned his head to see one of the many cameramen present holding up the fallen “S” boldly.
This moment served to break the increasing tension for both participants and audience. Returning to his word, the audience returned to their awed silence, the competition continued and the boy successfully spelled his word, hardly missing a beat.
Just so you know – the winning word, culminating at round 19 was ”appoggiatura”. Which, when I heard it, immediately made me think of the renowned Victorian cellist Laura-Jane. I knew she would know how to spell just such a word.
Word Out! – LJ
P.S. Thanks Ricky for playing my little game from the previous entry. That was fun! Freakin’ Canadian mosh pit or not.