This is a great day to celebrate some of the brightest, most well-rounded kids in America (and Canada and Jamaica), but there's also sadness at the heart of it: for one speller to win tonight, forty-nine others will have to make an error along the way, and in front of a national television audience to boot. It's not fun, and usually, it's just bad luck. So when we're talking about the spellers today -- and I promise this should be the last time I say this -- imagine that each of them, and their parents, knows how to use Google, and will find this website as soon as tonight.
Uncle Spike, himself a former national champion, dug up a poem earlier this week written in honor of the former voice of the Bee, Alex Cameron. Here's part:
Bless all the children learning to spell,
most of all when they are told
they must always go from left to right
and when they discover that every rule
at the worst possible time,
turns out to have an exception.
Bless most of all the children who stand alone,
moving a hidden finger along an invisible pad,
on a stage where the judges are armed with sentences
prepared in advance, and it is nearly impossible to be cool.