Thursday, May 31, 2007

2007 Spelling Bee

Some people write about sports and celebrities. Others write about world events. I write about the annual spelling bee. Here are some of my reactions from this year's bee.

  • I said it last year and I'll say it again. These kids are some of the sweetest, most kind hearted people you'll ever see on TV. We could all learn a lot from their good hearted competitive nature. Especially the way they applaud some of the top, most experienced competitors as they are eliminated, recognizing a job well done. The high fiving after someone gets a word correct is also great.

  • I'm by no means picking on Samir Patel. But does his failure to make the finals (again) rank in the pantheon of overhype? I mean, he's the only person you heard about before it began. Like he's Tiger Woods against the field and you'd be stupid to bet on the field. Is he the Tony Mandarich of the spelling world? The Heath Schuler? Dennis Hopson? Michael Olowokandi? The 1986 Chicago Bears? The 2007 Dallas Mavericks? Feel free to add your own obscure overhyped reference.

  • After 5 hours of "May I have the language of origin?" - Just once would I like the guy to respond, "No".

  • Speaking of the language of origin or etymology (as the smarty pants kids call it), there are two answers that made me laugh. One was "unknown". These kids study their asses off, learning how to put pieces of the puzzle together. They learn how certain sounds are spelled based on the language of origin. You can see the disappointment in their faces when they hear "unknown". Adding the "unknown" language of origin words just seems like a dick move. The second answer that was funny came from the preliminary round and went something like this - "Part of the word is Latin to Serbian to Hungarian. The other part is Latin to Greek to Italian". Great - I'm sure that's way more confusing than it is helpful.

  • The word I've gotten most wrong so far sounded like "Sill - us" - sort of like "syllabus" without the middle part. (I don't know how that international phonetic thing works, but hopefully that makes sense). My guess was "psyllus". Which is retarded since 'psy' normally sounds like "Sai" as in psychology. I guess I was thinking of "psyllium" as in the fiber. I was off by every letter. It's spelled "cilice".

  • Last year, the final 3 contestants were all female. This year, Isabel Jacobson was the only female left with about 7 contestants remaining. We try and convince ourselves that men and women are generally on an even playing field. But there aren't a whole lot of competitions where men and women tend to do equally well. This is one of the few where it's true.

  • The 15 finalists visited the White House just before the competition. You'd think they would have met with the president, right? Instead they had to send someone who was almost as smart as they are - so Laura Bush met them instead.

  • The Canadian kid has a pretty hot mom. Like in the Cinemax, she's the librarian who takes off her glasses and lets her hair down kind of way.

  • Aniseikonia - "A defect of binocular vision in which the two retinal images of the same object are of unequal size." That would suck to have.

  • Isabel Jacobson was just eliminated in 3rd. I somehow found myself pulling for her and Evan O'Dorney. As the last female, I thought it would be cool if she could overcome the odds and outlast all of the guys. And Evan O'Dorney? He's the number and music whiz who composes his own stuff. We're down to Evan and the Canadian with the hot mom. I guess I'm happy with either one winning. And I guess I'm sad since I really find myself with rooting interest in the Spelling Bee.

  • I didn't think the competition was live. So I didn't think to extend my DVR beyond the 2 hours. I didn't get to see the end. This is the most disappointing moment of my day thus far. Damnit.

  • Evan O'Dorney wins. Every so often you hear that the spelling bee kids never amount to anything. I truly hope that one day, one of them becomes really famous. And I think Evan, with all of his musical and mathematical talent, might be the one to do it.

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