"Oh sure, but can you use the word in a sentence?"
May 30, 2001 1:22 AM   Subscribe

"Oh sure, but can you use the word in a sentence?" The 47th annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is in full swing, and ESPN2 will broadcast the final round Thursday 7:30 to 9:30 pm ET. Yeah ya hoid me! A sports netwerk's gonna broadcast a spellin' bee! Ya gotta problem wit' dat?
posted by ZachsMind (20 comments total)
I liked how the AP article was written. Imagine yourself the editor - or worse the reporter assigned to this and you have to make it interesting. I think the anonymous word wranglers responsible did an admirable job of trying. I especially liked, "..diminutive 12-year-old Kelsey Swaim of Martinsburg, West Virginia, amazed the crowd by spelling a word about three times bigger than she was."
posted by ZachsMind at 1:26 AM on May 30, 2001

I was quite jealous when the they showed a little bit of it in SportsCenter! My goodness, if I knew I could get on SportsCenter by winning the Spelling Bee, I certainly would have tried much harder.
posted by gyc at 1:58 AM on May 30, 2001

Further proof that ESPN2 is a waste of cable space was needed?
posted by Spanktacular at 4:09 AM on May 30, 2001

ESPN2 has run the spelling bee for years now. It's nothing new. I think it's a nice tip of the hat, myself; it demonstrates that using your brain instead of your body is no easy task.
posted by hijinx at 4:24 AM on May 30, 2001

ESPN2 also runs Magic the Gathering tournaments.
posted by corpse at 5:14 AM on May 30, 2001

Tonight at 10: the Bush family belching contest.
posted by s.e.b. at 6:07 AM on May 30, 2001

When I was in New York last week we saw the 12th Annual Skipping Rope championships (it might well have been on ESPN). They were surprisingly cool with all these little black guys going what can only be described as a fusion of break dancing and skipping. I admire the ability to make possibly the least cool and 'manly' 'sports' like skipping and spelling into a quality contest broadcast on ESPN. Wish we had that ability here in the UK.
posted by nedrichards at 6:09 AM on May 30, 2001

ESPN says there is a sizable following for the spelling bee and that it is proud to broadcast it every year. Regardless of whether it's "sport," it is certainly "competition," and it is sort of fun to watch.

[the author of this post was winner of his sixth-grade spelling bee]
posted by werty at 6:41 AM on May 30, 2001

Jim Rome totally ripped on the girl who who won it last year because she spazzed out after she won. For those of you who want a good laugh, open up your favorite mp3 sharing application and search for Jim Rome-Spelling Bee, or something of the like. It's very very funny!
posted by fusinski at 7:02 AM on May 30, 2001

yawn. dull dull dull.

i want to see *EXTREME SPELLING!* i want to see greed-crazed spellers voting one another off the podium! i want to see spelling bee cage matches! i want to see Bikini Jello Spelling!

hey, it makes at *least* as much sense as the XFL did.
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:05 AM on May 30, 2001

I think ESPN (the Mothership) broadcast the Spelling Bee Finals five years ago; I was just looking for SportsCenter.

In any case, it was probably the most compelling thing I've ever seen on television. The thrill-of-victory, the-agony-of... well, you get the picture. IIRC, the winner was this girl from New York who would hear the word, then put her hands over her mouth and stoop over. I couldn;t figure out what the heck she was doing, but later realized that she was probably spelling the word aloud to herself (If you spell the word so that the judges can hear you, it counts, but if the microphone doesn't pick it up, it doesn't count). She was an utter spaz, God love her.

I wish I had a beer and some friends over so that we could all watch; sure beats the Super Bowl.
posted by Avogadro at 8:13 AM on May 30, 2001

America's love of spelling bees never ceases to confound me. Are we proud of the fact that English, unlike the most of the latin languages, is a phonetic nightmare? "Hooray! We have a language so screwy only a genius can use it correctly!"

When I had to learn Spanish for a job a decade ago, one of the greatest things I discovered was that, for the most part, if you could pronounce a word you could spell it: no "though", no "colonel", etc. etc.

(I'm veering dangerously close to my "why Esperanto was a great idea" rant, so I'll stop here.)
posted by Shadowkeeper at 9:18 AM on May 30, 2001

Are we proud of the fact that English, unlike the most of the latin languages, is a phonetic nightmare?

Hell yes! Seperates thuh men frum the boise!
posted by aaron at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2001

OK, Shadowkeeper, so if we phoneticize English spelling, whose phonetics should we use? Chicago? Boston? New York? Flin Flon? Manchester? London? Dublin? Glasgow? Cape Town? Auckland? Melbourne? Nairobi? Singapore? Delhi? Belize? Fiji? Any one of those choices would lead to a unique spelling standard--sometimes drastically different from the others.
posted by rodii at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2001

All very amusing, but not nearly as cool as the burly men in the little skirts who take a running start and upend telephone poles into an empty field.
posted by dong_resin at 11:03 AM on May 31, 2001

Rodii, I for one vote for Flin Flon.

"Hooray! We have a language so screwy only a genius can use it correctly!"

Well, this is of course patently untrue. Hundreds of millions of people use it every day both in speaking and writing, and they do it well enough to be understood. And lots and lots of them are complete morons.

Language wasn't smoothly lathed out of a block of walnut. It was accreted over centuries, and it--all languages--have horrendous knobs and whorls and useless do-funnys sticking out all over the place. It's the same reason we have so much junk DNA.
posted by Skot at 11:15 AM on May 31, 2001

Flin Flon was for those fools who think Medicine Hat is the coolest place name in North America. You know who you are. Not even close.
posted by rodii at 11:20 AM on May 31, 2001

I dunno, I'm rather fond of What Cheer, IA myself.
posted by drywall at 11:26 AM on May 31, 2001

I've always been partial to Walla Walla, Washington.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:04 AM on June 1, 2001

Ahem, how about Truth Or Consequences, NM?
posted by Dreama at 11:36 AM on June 1, 2001

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