HOW DO YOU SPELL "INSTANT REPLAY": 10:23: I already hate the commentators. They keep pointing out useless facts in a chipper and excited tone -- “Her favorite movie is High School Musical!” Seriously? Because she’s a teenage girl and every single teenage girl in the world loves High School Musical so that’s no surprise to me. You know what I want to know? Which kid spends her days rocking back and forth spelling words and reminding herself that when she’s finished college, having a brain will matter more than being a cheerleader? Which is kid is that tough? I don’t like the whole “brains – they are just like you and me!” motif going on. Because brains are not. They are special. That is, in fact, why they are on ESPN right now while the other kids are not. They get to be different and a little bit cooler today. It’s their day. So stop trying to make them seem all normal!
Okay, clearly I need to drink more coffee because I have childhood-geek rage a’bubbling…
10:30: I love that Chris Stanbridge is a champion speller trapped in the body of a tiny little slacker. And I like the sound of his voice. And he’s…oops, he misspelled a word and now, cruelly before I could come to adore his slacker vibe, he’s gone. Bye, bye Chris. We hardly knew ye. Maybe next year?
10:36: Bossy but Cute Jacques Bailly has his first amused smile of the day. He loves the Bee and it shows all over his face. In case you didn’t know, he’s the 1980 Bee Champion and can therefore sit behind his desk officially pronouncing his butt off with the confident air of one who has already worn the crown. Every year, I am overwhelmed with how much I love this guy and his pronouncing.
10:43: There is some scandal brewing! #59 Claire Zhang spelled her word correctly but still received the scary DING! She was led off the stage. Then the judges confer. Oh my God – instant replay. They are literally going to do an audio instant replay on Zhang’s word! Like…like…football. Like a beautiful ESPN sport. I get a little misty over the full force of sports being placed behind our spelling babies.
Claire stands frozen with nerves, awaiting her fate. They replay her spelling of “burelage”. And now -- she’s back in! Forcing her to pause in the action and do a stupid live interview in the middle of the Bee. Ack. But she’s back in so…
11:00 am: Spelller #97 Kennyi Aquad apparently charmed the crowd yesterday with his uncontrollable giggling over Jacques Bailly’s use of the phrase “doodledum” in a word. He laughed and laughed and laughed some more the way you do when you’re nervous and something is funny. I kinda love that about him and will now officially begin to root for him…oops, he’s gone too. No rooting.
11:06: Does anyone really know how to spell “porphyry” outside of a Bee? It makes me sad that word, that word that tells me I’m not even good enough to spell along on TV.
11:08: I like #116 Izaak Baker who was given the word “melioidosis” and said “melio-WHAT?” Eyeing Jacques with some suspicion that perhaps Jacques was joking. Then he went on to spell the word correctly. Not bad for a first timer.