Thursday, June 2, 2011

2011 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE - CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS:  I only competed in the Spelling Bee once, erring in fifth grade in the Philadelphia competition on dowdily. If there was a way to compete after that, it wasn't made apparent to me, and my schools showed no interest in sponsoring kids for the Bee thereafter. My parents did not push me in any particular academic direction; they were thankful that I was smart and motivated, and encouraged me to free-range in whatever direction my interests led.

Then came MathCounts, which I did in eighth grade. We didn't find out about the City competition until a week before it happened, then showed up and placed something like 1st, 2nd, 4th and 9th among the individual competitors in the field, won the team title and subsequently finished credibly in the state competition. I remained a competitive mathlete as a freshman in high school, but ultimately shifted to the debate/mock trial/Model UN track.

The last such competition I did was the now-defunct Citizen Bee as a senior in high school -- a history/civics/American culture amalgam in which I won the regional competition (with something like ten rounds just with the last two students, even though we both were guaranteed a slot at the state finals), then finished 6th in the state competition because I got an art question and I didn't know anything about Winslow freakin' Homer, other than that it's now twenty-one years later and I still know it's his fault.

Nights like this, in other words, bring back a lot of memories.  We begin with thirteen fantastic spellers. Tonight we celebrate the hard work that got them here, and treat their efforts with respect and good cheer. Join us.


42 comments:

  1. David8:21 PM

    I wonder which NSB winners in the last 20 years won on their first try? Jody-Anne Maxwell in '98 is the only one I can think of.

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  2. BeeFan8:22 PM

    Just like the good old days: the Bee on ESPN right to the end.

    Maybe this year there'll be a final twosome spelling into the night.  (For my chances in the pool, I hope it's the two Canadians!).

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  3. Maya Saroj8:34 PM

    So excited for Newcombe!! :) Can't wait to see these kids kick word ass :)

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  4. Scott Ruthfield8:41 PM

    I became a MathCounts kid too, giving up my spelling career after winning the county championship in 5th grade: was only downhill from there. I haven't participated in this community as much in years past - but right now I'm curled up with my 5-year-old, who rocked "celebrate" earlier today, so she can see real kids doing amazing things.

    What I'm saying is thank you. More later, perhaps.

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  5. Maya Saroj9:07 PM

    Dr. Bailey's voice makes me want to take a nap LOL

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  6. Tape delayed out here I'm afraid

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  7. Heather K11:18 PM

    that sucks!

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  8. TPE: Worth watching. Wow.  Don't look at Twitter.

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  9. D'Arcy11:24 PM

    So close... we'll get you Americans yet!

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  10. BeeFan11:27 PM

    Pratysh Buddiga in 2002

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  11. also Pratyush Buddiga (2002)

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  12. Sarah Mirza11:29 PM

    Well, I put off getting back in touch with ALOTT5MA after Samir invited a few of us to do so over Facebook, so here I am jumping in when the bee is already over.  I was at the bee in 2007 and was honored with this post at the time; I try to be less openly derisive these days, but life after the bee has indeed continued – if anyone is interested in hearing from the girl who came to DC mainly to eat Chinese food!  It seems an incredibly long time ago, but at the same time I can only think the person I was then would be pretty happy with the person I am now.  I'm attending the University of Georgia in the fall to major in Spanish with a concentration in pre-med, and further attempts to be well-rounded in the local newspaper can be found here.  Insert stories of how the bee taught me study skills and changed my life.

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  13. sconstant11:34 PM

    Just to spellbermetricize here one last time, 13,400 hits on Google for the championship word (which I will not put here in case there are some PSTers lurking).

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  14. Adam C.11:36 PM

    Well, I never quite caught up with the live feed enough to join the CiL fun, but holy mackerel was that an awesome, awesome performance, particularly from the final five on.  Just outstanding (and not just because of my pool-related rooting interests).  Can't wait to watch it again with my wife and kids tomorrow!

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  15. BeeFan12:02 AM

    That's right up there with the best Bees of all time.  Well, at least the TV era, which is all I really can talk about.  1997, 2005, 2006 Scripps Bees.  I'd add the 2006 Canspell since I saw that one by webcast.

    An improvement from last year, to put it mildly, when there were only 19 words (8 right, 11 wrong) and more filler than spelling by about a 10 to 1 margin.

    I hate to think of what ABC would have done with this one.  Thank God ESPN knows what to do with overtime, extra innings, extra holes, and spelling bees that just won't quit.  Let 'em run.  Sportcenter can wait, if Grey's Anatomy can't.

    There are at least four spellers (starting with Laura Newcombe) who are wondering "so just how many words do I have to spell to win one of these things?  Wasn't that enough words?  No?  How about five more?  No, more than that ..."

    Sukanya Roy.  Lord knows I wasn't picking her from the beginning.  Finnish?  Papuan?  "Origin unknown".  She knows 'em all.

    But you can see how Laura Newcombe won three Canspells.  Nahuatl?  Sure.  Tagalog?  No problem.  Yiddish?  Why not?  Ah, but then misses a word I actually know (one of the few by that point in the bee).  Alas. 

    Can next year possibly be better?

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  16. Marsha2:01 AM

    I didn't get to watch it live this year, but came home to watch my TiVo. Little did I know that an hourof padding wans't going to be enough - my tiVo cut out just as Arvind started to misspell his final word. I would have dearly lovd to see the end of this epic competition, and I'm sad I didn't get to CIL it with you this year.

    Laura Newcombe, you'll always be a champion to me - and, of course, to the people of Canada. I was pulling for you all the way. Mazel Tov to Sukanya Roy, who kicked some serious ass tonight.

    Thanks to all the amazing Bee-vets who came to join us this year - you made Bee Week at ALOTT5MA even more awesome than usual, and that's saying something! I hope you'll all stick around here, or at the very least, that you'll be back next year.

    And Samir? Cooking lessons, Chicago. Any time.

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  17. Adam C.7:33 AM

    Aw, that sucks, Marsha -- hope you can find it online.  I had to re-pad my recording twice -- already had it set for an hour more, and had to add a total of an hour to that, to make sure the rest of my family would see the whole thing.  I wound up staying about 15-20 minutes behind the live feed because it seemed like ESPN didn't break for a commercial for the last hour-plus.

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  18. Natalie10:20 AM

    Its on ESPN3. My recording cut out early as well but I just hopped online and caught the end. Amazing.

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  19. Eric J.2:19 PM

    From the Bee's Facebook feed: "
    <span>BREAKING BEE NEWS: We've just confirmed that 2011 champion Sukanya Roy and 2010 Anamika Veeramani will visit President Obama in the White House next Thursday.</span>

    While Dakota Jones will be meeting with some of the Government's top men. Top. Men.

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  20. Adam C.4:32 PM

    Fools.  Bureaucratic fools!  They don't know what they've got there.

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  21. As an aside, I just realized that I miscalculated in the live chat yesterday when I said Dakota Jones placed 4th. In retrospect, he obviously placed 5th.

    I never did well in *math* competitions, y'know... ;-)

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  22. Anonymous3:12 AM

    I totally love the Bee.  I am not forced to it, and I read the dictionary on my own. I chose the dress myself as a reward for winning my local bee. Nobody forced me onto it, and I curl my own hair.  I am not miserable, I am serious.  There is a difference.  Look it up! 

    What is really depressing, is how you people are so mean about me, when you spellers are supposed to be my comrades!
    I read books about gastrointestinal health because my brother has Celiac Disease.  If you don't know what that is, look that up too!  I am not a freak, I just like to get educated. 

    My mom hugs me ALL THE TIME, and I sat on her lap at EVERY commercial break to receive a hug and a kiss.  WE decided not to HUG on camera to put on a show FOR MEAN PEOPLE LIKE YOU ALL.  I didn't need a hug because I WAS NOT UPSET. We knew that I would be out in that round or the next one and we had just discussed that at the previous break, when I received my latest hug, that hugging the child usally causes them to break into tears, and I did not want to be on TV crying, like most of you.  My choice.  For your information, I received at least 20 hugs during that broadcast alone!  When you hug off camera, is it really necessary to prove ourselves for television???

    Just because she is stoic on camera is no reason to insult her.  She does not like being filmed.  In fact, neither do I.  I just want to spell, not be an actor!  I am not miserable about moving, spelling, or competing, and I love my new city.  I eat ice cream, I go to the park, play with balloons, and I go to Disneyland!

    I am a happy, fun girl, and my mother gives me joy and laughter every day of my life!  She is one of the most hilarious people on the planet!  That fact we both tricked all of you is the biggest joke of all.  You people are supposed to be intelligent, but all you have demonstrated is ignorance.  When I spell, I am in what I call "the zone".  Which, if you paid attention to after I was out, you would've noticed us joking around in our chairs.  I know I don't smile enough on stage, and she usually sits in the audience making funny faces to make me laugh and I cannot see her when she is on stage.

    Basically what you have spent hours doing, is making fun of what I look like, and my mother's appearance.  It appears that you are all the ones with personality disorders to pick on a fellow speller like this.  You are all cruel people, and my mother's love will get me through how miserable YOU ALL MAKE ME!!!

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  23. VERONICA PENNY3:13 AM

    I totally love the Bee.  I am not forced to it, and I read the dictionary on my own. I chose the dress myself as a reward for winning my local bee. Nobody forced me onto it, and I curl my own hair.  I am not miserable, I am serious.  There is a difference.  Look it up! 

    What is really depressing, is how you people are so mean about me, when you spellers are supposed to be my comrades!
    I read books about gastrointestinal health because my brother has Celiac Disease.  If you don't know what that is, look that up too!  I am not a freak, I just like to get educated. 

    My mom hugs me ALL THE TIME, and I sat on her lap at EVERY commercial break to receive a hug and a kiss.  WE decided not to HUG on camera to put on a show FOR MEAN PEOPLE LIKE YOU ALL.  I didn't need a hug because I WAS NOT UPSET. We knew that I would be out in that round or the next one and we had just discussed that at the previous break, when I received my latest hug, that hugging the child usally causes them to break into tears, and I did not want to be on TV crying, like most of you.  My choice.  For your information, I received at least 20 hugs during that broadcast alone!  When you hug off camera, is it really necessary to prove ourselves for television???

    Just because she is stoic on camera is no reason to insult her.  She does not like being filmed.  In fact, neither do I.  I just want to spell, not be an actor!  I am not miserable about moving, spelling, or competing, and I love my new city.  I eat ice cream, I go to the park, play with balloons, and I go to Disneyland!

    I am a happy, fun girl, and my mother gives me joy and laughter every day of my life!  She is one of the most hilarious people on the planet!  That fact we both tricked all of you is the biggest joke of all.  You people are supposed to be intelligent, but all you have demonstrated is ignorance.  When I spell, I am in what I call "the zone".  Which, if you paid attention to after I was out, you would've noticed us joking around in our chairs.  I know I don't smile enough on stage, and she usually sits in the audience making funny faces to make me laugh and I cannot see her when she is on stage.

    Basically what you have spent hours doing, is making fun of what I look like, and my mother's appearance.  It appears that you are all the ones with personality disorders to pick on a fellow speller like this.  You are all cruel people, and my mother's love will get me through how miserable YOU ALL MAKE ME!!!

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  24. VERONICA PENNY3:53 AM

    Hugs from VIP

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  25. First off, congratulations on your phenomenal accomplishment.

    As to the main point, this reminds me of something we discussed back when the movie Frost/Nixon was released, and it's a quote attributed to one of David Frost's producers that I'll repeat here: "You know, the first and greatest sin or deception of television is that it simplifies, it diminishes, Great, complex ideas, tranches of time. Whole careers become reduced to a single snapshot."

    And I fear that's what happened here. Folks (including me) overread what seem like small gestures and unforced moments and assume that they reveal deeper emotional truths.  We bring all of our biases and assumptions to the table about "spelling bee kids under pressure" and their parents -- especially given what Samir has written about his experience here -- and dumped them on you.  As you rightly note, we didn't see the full picture even of what was happening Thursday night -- let alone of your entire life.

    While I don't recall any remarks about your or your mom's appearance -- which indeed would be completely unacceptable -- anything else was said from the perspective of a bunch of well-meaning Bee veterans and other grownups who are in awe of what you all can do, and want to see you develop into happy, remarkable teenagers and grownups. We get protective when it doesn't *seem* like you're enjoying the experience -- but as you rightly note, we have no idea what the truth is. We just see moments and extrapolate.

    I hope that you look back on your Bee experience fondly, and that the intelligence and discipline which got you to this point leads you to a lifetime of success and happiness. I sincerely apologize for any offense my own misreading may have caused.

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  26. VIP MOM HUG

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  27. VERONICA PENNY10:13 PM

    <span><span>Look, we all comprehend the concept of words here, and to deny being vituperative in the live feed comments, is just plain ludicrous.  BTW, we really dislike some of the photos the media puts out, (like the obvious one above) and try to minimize such on the web.  That is why we display a poker face.  Furthermore, we didn't move just to chase the bee, and to speculate what we are talking about in a negative manner is just bizarre. We recently talked to George Thampy about this very issue of people like you, and lo and behold, you all just provided a perfect chapter in my book.   </span></span>

    <span><span>So even though I have nothing to prove, there's your hug:  <span><span>Adam B. - Samir P. - Heather K. - Raf N. - Rivera - Shonda - Heather P. - Anna - Kenton - Daryl -</span></span><span><span> Catherine - Nupur</span></span></span></span>

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  28. Congrats, Veronica, on your spelling and your well spoken post. I used to read the encyclopedia when I was a kid, so I know how much fun learning is!

    Keep reading and spelling and learning, and you will continue to grow into the fine young woman you seem to be.

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  29. VERONICA&#39;S SISTER3:32 PM

    WOW.  You determined our entire life, and family relationship in a matter of 4 minutes of television, watching two nervous people who knew that PEOPLE LIKE YOU were out there judging them like this.  My sister loves the Bee, BUT actions like this tarnish her love for the craft!  Samir Patel about Veronica competing next year: "I don't know, for her sake, I hope she doesn't!"  To quote Nupur, "I am dying. That is so sad."

    What I really find bizarre, is that the Champion had much the same nervous demeanor, sombre face, and nervous spelling.  Yet you were all too busy lynch mobbing my sister to realize that how she acted, was not that uncommon!  Paige Kimble herself spelled exactly like Veronica, and was known as "little miss poker face"!

    Steve A and Heather K for stating that she may need those self help books some day, If she keeps reading vitriol like this online, I'd see how that could be a factor!  Heather Powell, So what if Veronica or anyone might be sporting dyed hair, black nails and possibly a spiked necklace in the next few years.  Are you publicly judging people like that?  I'm glad I'm not your child.
    Shonda, Samir, Heather, and Heather K, If you really felt the need to know and discuss why we moved.  You could just be friendly and we can tell you.  You don't need to use it as ammunition for humiliation.  I am achieving a computer programming degree at a prestigious Ottawa University, and my other sister is pursuing a career as a pilot in the Air Force.  She is actually the Ottawa Regional Brain Bee Champion, and no she is not forced into it. To call the capital city of Canada home when you are attaining excellence as a no-brainer.  Heather K: well this explains a lot about her lack of bee levity.  What us this even supposed to mean?  Insulting just to insult?? That is astonishing!

    Shonda, my mother did not shove her into a fancy dress.  My two teen sisters picked that dress out special so she could wear it, while the other will wear it to Prom. Someone did take a curling iron to her head. And she much enjoyed the backstage hair and make-up experience.  We'll be sure to pass on your styling advice to the Bee organizers.  To quote yourself Shonda "I say, leave her alone." Ari, and Greg Greg, Veronica patting my mom is an inside joke!  None of your business.  You are just plain creepy to speculate on their physical relationship.  *shiver*.

    Why are so many of you hung up on the hugging for the cameras?  Unlike many of you, and the other spellers, she was not heartbroken to miss her word.  Why do you insist she need consoling because you think she is miserable.  You miss the word.  So what? You sit down and wait for the cameras to leave, and then you interact.   That's how they want to do it.  It looks like many of  you are the miserable crying spellers, and are trying to portray your pathetic image onto her.  She spells, she walks, she sits, my mother watches.  That's what you do at spelling bees.  It's not called the "hugging, laughing, best looking smiley face for the camera bee."

    Samir, Matt, Daryl_NewZealand, Mona GMona G, Shondra, Eric J.Eric J, julenjulen, MichelleMichelle.  You are all scuzzballs for making fun of Veronica's appearance.  That's what she looks like, deal with it.  I sense that you make fun of how a lot of people look.  And Mona, Nupur, Samir, AriAri, KentonKenton, MichelleMichelle.  My mother was called a cat lady, Hitler reincarnation, a tiger, and a homeless person.   The other parents all had perfect looks??  My mom was better looking than at least 3 of those parents!  What's [...]

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  30. VERONICA&#39;S SISTER3:32 PM

    <p>We are sharing this blog around. Do you think Bee organizers are going to like this?  You people are just so whack, I can't even comprehend the fact of how imbecilic and uncivil and Un-Canadian you are for even publishing this garbage online.
    </p><p> 
    </p><p>In an attempt to be experts on spelling bee protocol, you have failed.
    </p>

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  31. POST SCRIPPS INTERVIEW4:09 PM

    OH NO VERONICA GETS LECTURED BY HER MOM AFTER THE BEE *GASP*


    http://www.youtube.com/v/cY-pbujml2U" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="170" height="140

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  32. Ilikebees7:13 PM

    Wow Veronica, I looked at your other videos on that channel and the DailyMotion site, and I looked at your website too. it looks like your family has a blast outside of spelling. I like that Who video that you're in the front row. That must've been fun.  Keep rockin Veronica

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  33. I want to provide a wide arena for the Penny family (and others) to continue this conversation and let their voices be heard.

    That said, one thing we do not tolerate at this blog is sockpuppetry, and folks should be aware that the "POST SCRIPPS INTERVIEW," "Ilikebees" and "AP" comments were posted from the exact same IP address as "VERONICA'S SISTER".

    Future such infractions may result in the suspension of posting privileges.

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  34. AP/Veronica&#39;s Sister12:53 AM

    <span><span>Right, Veronica's sister and AP are the same person, that's my initials.  A.P.  Yeah, I uploaded the vid, it goes right to our channel, nothing to hide there. I did not know there were title/user rules.  Everyone within 40 km has this IP address.  Re: the other post, I suppose local support is not tolerated... since we shared the link with our small town, I see an IP ban coming soon...    
       
    At the very least, it's nice to know you don't tolerate unscruplulous things.  You don't tolerate sockpuppetry but you tolerate slander and defamation of character to minors?  I think we will take this issue to our own outlet with morals.   Thanks Adam,   Sincerely A. Penny</span></span>

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  35. I've said all I can about what happened, and yours and your sister's complaints will definitely inform how we do this in the future. We need to be more modest about what we can conclude from what we see and are told, and I thank you both for reminding us of that.

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  36. Nicole Broussard10:57 AM

    We spent some time with the Pennys at the 2009 and the 2011 Canadian bees. We were quite shocked and disappointed that these comments could end up in print. They lack the class I would expect from any participant in a national bee--- let alone previous winners. I am happy to be a Canadian especially after reading these narrow minded attacks aimed at a young girl. FYI, the Pennys are the best kind of people-honest, diligent, gifted and happy! 

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  37. Thanks G.  (ilike bees).  Now you see eh?   That concert was awesome!  Roger gave us his harmonica in '06 AND tambourine in '08!  My mom is taking me to meet him in person in the fall.  I am so EXCITED!!!

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  38. Nupur4:25 AM

    <span>"<span>My mom was better looking than at least 3 of those parents!" And I think a lot of us would find it quite ironic and "un-Canadian" (if the Canadians I know are any indication) to make such personal attacks in response to exactly what you're denouncing. With that said, I'm very sorry for the offense and hurt that was caused to Veronica. </span></span>

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  39. Nupur4:30 AM

    <span><span>At Veronica's sister: 'To quote Nupur, "I am dying. That is so sad."'   That was over another contestant in tears onstage, not your sister. That is sad. I hate seeing kids cry, even if it's over something like place sixth at the National Spelling Bee as a fifth grader.</span>
    I don't think there's anything wrong with an intense and driven mother who raises successful daughters like yourself and your sister. Adam's post above summarized how many of us feel better than I ever could. Congratulations to Veronica and your entire family on her tremendous accomplishment. I'm very sorry if you were offended by anything I said. I know I needed ice cream and a hug after the National Spelling Bee and it looks like I over-projected. My sincere apologies again.</span>

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  40. Uncle Spike12:46 PM

    Yeesh. So glad I was actually at the bee, instead of commenting on it from afar. Looks like I missed a maelstrom.

    I can't judge what happened. It sounds like comments posted were on a Twitter feed or something similar.

    The pressure of the bee is, obviously, insane. It's tougher now that kids are, as Veronica and Adam both point out, subject to flash judgments and YouTube videos. (One of my friends from 1988 made an epic - and I mean truly epic - misspelling of his word, and to this day, thanks God that YouTube did not exist back then; he'd have possibly been one of the laughing-stocks of 1988.) I think the point is well-made: if we are to comment on the bee, we do need to keep in mind that these are teenagers under an inordinate amount of stress, striving for a title, on camera before millions, held to time constraints, that only one amongst millions can clinch. Veronica, to me, was quite serious while spelling. No sin there! Everyone needs to do what they need to adapt to the pressure. Veronica's fellow Canadian Laura was nearly diametrically different: a bit more fidgety, and prone to laughter and jokes to defuse the pressure. Both, however, were composed under the spotlight. (Incidentally, to use a very salient example, imagine the skewering Rebecca Sealfon might have been subject to! I was on the staff during 1996, the year before she won, and she was so undone by the pressure that she actually had to sit offstage to avoid interactions with an overconfident fellow competitor.)

    Veronica, I sincerely hope this interaction does not dampen your desire to compete again. Tying for 6th place in this competition is an astounding feat, and you have much to be proud of. As for this blog, yes, both posts and reader comments sometimes tend toward the snide and critical, so I urge you and your family to "consider the source." For the most part, this blog (particularly in the area of the NSB) is respectful and people who post here love, love, LOVE the bee.

    Not much else to say, other than this: breathe easy! The bee is over! I hope you enjoy a wonderful and fun summer.

    Scott Isaacs, 1989 NSP Champ

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  41. Uncle Spike2:21 PM

    oops...NSB, I meant. Don't ask what I was thinking...B and P are nowhere near each other on the keyboard!

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  42. A generailzed statement is not a personal attack.  Sorry, "3 other parents", for offending you.  I was just using a random # as an example, to demonstrate that anybody is a target to get picked on at this blog.

    However, I do feel that repeatedly calling us un-Canadian is a personal attack, as we know who we are, and any apology with a comment like this is empty because you are still criticizing.   Not only that, you are profiling.  I did not make up the term, just re-used it from the feed.  If it is supposed to be a compliment, then, thanks eh?



    Personal:<span>   1: of, relating to, or affecting a <span>particular</span> person </span>

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