My brother, his girlfriend and John came over to my folks' house for dinner on Thursday night. The four of us barbecued and watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee, as prompted to by an early text from Big Chris.
"Oh, oh you guys!" I gasped. "The Spelling Bee is on!"
Much to my delight, all four of us became immediately engrossed in the entire thing, kept entertained by occasional texts from Chris who watching the Bee at his Grandpa's house. Like everyone else, I contracted Bee fever after watching the documentary, Spellbound which follows several teenagers as they train and compete in the National Spelling Bee, in those days broadcast on ESPN. I guess the movie kicked the Bee up a notch, as this year, it was on ABC and hosted by Tom Bergeron, ruiner of America's Funniest Home Videos. The families of the finalists were allowed on stage, which is also new and we got little "up close and personal" glimpses of the spellers in pre-taped snippets. It was totally the Brain Olympics and I'm amazed my mother never forced me into this.
All of spellers are sponsored by a local paper, and I have no idea which papers around here sponsor spellers, but they need to start. I love, love, love the Spelling Bee and it's now my new greatest regret. I should've won that thing.
Many of the finalists were first generation Americans, prompting the following texts from Big Chris:
"If they really want to challenge these spellers, they should have to spell each others' last names" and the appalling and brilliant, "Didn't I see all these kids dancing at the end of Slumdog Millionaire?"
It was clear that the organizers had attempted to bring a lighthearted tone to the proceedings, as every time a word was asked to be used in a sentence, the sentence would be a little tongue in cheek.
Oh, Scripts. You're too much.
But after having to essentially devoted their lives to the bee, the contestants weren't kidding around. Big on personality, except for the Asian kid who was, to say the least, over it, a few kids completely lost it when they misspelled a word. Like a huge gay kid with a moustache: total water works, head in his hands, sobbing. Emilie announced, "The hairy one's crying!" and my phone vibrated with another Chris text, "I wish I could grow that."
After the Bee, Alex showed us his favorite clip of Bees past. Always one for "great moments in sports," my brother could not have greater respect for this amazing kid:
I, on the other hand, feel for this courageous speller. Because we all know what it's like to try and "bee" funny...
Congratulations to all of the spellers!