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Friday, May 2, 2008

After the Bee Is Over

It’s all over for another year. That’s the Senior Spelling Bee at Twin Lakes Park outside Traverse City. Our team from Dog Ears Books in Northport consisted of Trudy Carpenter, Marilyn Zimmerman et moi. Marilyn and I were a team of two last year, and she planned to cede her place this time around to Susan Cordes, but Susan couldn’t get away from the Leelanau Conservation District office at this busy time of year.

There were eleven teams altogether, some of them all women, some mixed (men and women), and two all men (Rotary and Kiwanis). Entering as teams rather than as individuals is a big stress reducer. Besides that, after coming in second place last year, I told my fellow team members today not to worry, even if we went down on the first round (Marilyn told me afterward that that comment had dispelled her anxiety), because we were in it for the fun—the spring drive, the lovely Twin Lakes setting, the challenge and pleasure of competition, and the camaraderie.

The bee went nine rounds. All teams spelled their words correctly on the first round this year. One man in the audience held up a little sign from time to time: “Rah!” In successive rounds, he held up larger and larger signs.

When it was down to the last two teams, the Kiwanis team misspelled ‘lackadaisical,’ which then came to us. We spelled it correctly and validated our win with ‘catafalque.’ Dog Ears Books came in first!

So much of a spelling bee is the luck of the draw. One team went down on ‘contumacious,’ which we would have missed, too, had it come to us. (We’d have put an ‘e’ in place of the ‘I,’ which is correct.) We also would have gone down on ‘abscess,’ missing (if you can believe it) the ‘s’ in the middle. It’s funny how a person’s mind can go completely blank, which is where having three people on a team and being able to write the word down and compare spellings can be a life-saver. As the bee-master reminded us all at the beginning of the event, there are no losers at a spelling bee. Thanks to all the champion competitors, good sports all.

Many thanks also to the Traverse City Senior Center, to bee-master Michael Sheehan, and to Comfort Keepers, sponsor of the annual event.

Finally, best wishes to 11-year-old Chris Rice, this year’s regional spelling champion, off to Washington, DC, for the national competition. Go get ‘em, Chris!

A soft rain is falling. What smells sweeter than a pine tree in the spring rain?


Deborah said...

Congratulation!! This is so awesome I have a huge smile on my face. Thanks for giving me such great pleasure ladies. Here in Springfield we have many trivia contests - perhaps I should suggest the senior spelling bee for a change of pace.

P. J. Grath said...

I highly recommend the senior spelling bee as loads of fun for all concerned. The cheering section seems to enjoy the show almost as much as the contestants.

Anonymous said...

If I could figure out a way to send it, I'd make a nice big sign saying RAH! - but this was the best I could do.

It's always a pleasure to drop by your blog, admire the photos, learn a little something, and feel fortified for the day.

P. J. Grath said...

Your comments on my blog and the postings on yours always give me a smile, too, Gerry.

Michael J. Sheehan said...

I see that you have industrial-strength Photoshop installed on your computer; I look almost O.K.!

You hit the center of the target, both with your win and with the observation that the point is fun--and that little bit of eustress whicch is good for the mind.

P. J. Grath said...

Good thing it was a spelling bee and not a defining bee, Michael. I'm guessing, however, that eustress would be the opposite of distress. Many thanks again for your support of and participation in this great event.