I’m a good speller, but I wouldn’t count spelling as a hobby or anything, let alone an obsession. I went to the city bee when I was in 6th grade, and I still remember that I went out on attorney (spelled it attourney). Seemed like a good idea at the time.
Anyway, one of my favorite documentaries is Spellbound (not the Hitchcock movie). We re-watched it with some guys who were in town last weekend, and it’s just great. The tension is strong, and the looks at the different kids’ parents and home lives is fascinating. We’ve been following up on the subsequent lives of the featured kids lately, and that’s been interesting too.
Well, the other night we just happened to catch the end of last year’s national spelling bee. It was a blast, and not just because Erin Andrews covers it. Watching those kids’ minds whirl as they try to get words I’ve never heard was as compelling as any NBA playoff game (I mean that as a compliment [complement?]).
The best exchange:
The eventual winner, Sameer, who was a really appealing guy, gets numnah. To Sameer, to us at home, and clearly to the audience, who erupted in laughter, it sounded like the “official pronouncer” said numnut. After a while, he learns what the word really is, and says, “That’s a relief.”
Now, I see that this year’s bee is on ABC tonight. I’ll record it, and I recommend it. There are sure to be plenty of gripping moments.
UPDATE: Did you watch it? Did you watch it??? Congratulations to Kavya Shivashankar.
Fun stuff, I thought. Still, it’s a little weird that the BBC headline is
US girl named spelling bee queen
seeing as how it’s the US national spelling bee.
UPDATE II: As usual, McSweeney’s nails it.