Don't read anything too Neitzschean in my blog title. I have just been so inspired by the National Spelling Bee tonight, that I sought out digerati assistance so I didn't feel like such a numnut looking for my nearby nacarat numnah.

These young people are amazing in their spelling and etymological skills. I know I am of a minority who finds a heightened sense of exhilaration pitting myself against the students as they compete. I am sure there are people in the world who have other things to do on a Friday night but I can't think of too many other recreational pursuits that can be so stimulating and so rewarding.

There is a belief that Japanese students excel in all things mathematical. These Spelling Bee competitions lend itself to a preponderance of young people of Indian descent.

This season, a few of the students were refreshingly genuine and allowed for several moments of levity. As when #97, Sameer thought he was given the word numnut. His relief when he realized that he was being given a real word, numnah instead was just the tension breaker everyone needed. He continued to amuse as he got down to the tense finals.


The young woman, Tia from Northern California has read the dictionary seven times. To prepare, Sameer read 23 pages of the dictionary a day. How could I have been so smug in junior high school when I was dubbed Miss Dictionary--I was tautologically small potatoes to these brilliant youngsters. Maybe if I had been offered over $40,000 in prize money, I would have tried harder. I didn't even know about a national Spelling Bee and it certainly wouldn't have been televised or flanked by eager paparazzi.

I am happy to say that I was able to spell a few of the final round words:
taleggio and esclandre
But when it got to prosopopoeia I was beyond my ken. I almost had it for the final word --guerdon--which was the word that took Sameer to the Championship.

Ok, now how do you spell extra innings? Just ask the Padres as they are very familiar with that one this season.


ellie said…
I've never seen a spelling bee. I have a friend from India, though, who had to learn a new language every time her family moved, as India is so language-diverse (Hindi being the official language, but each locality also having its own). Her dad was in politics, and they moved often. I found her nonchalance about it amazing.

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