Monday, May 31, 2010

LAST YEAR, HE WAS ANONYMOUS. THIS YEAR, HE'S A CELEBRITY: Looking for a favorite in the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee? The AP profiles 2009 runner-up Tim Ruiter, a home-schooled eighth grade student from Centreville, Va.:

The stereotype that emphatically fits Tim — as well as nearly everyone else at the bee — is the one that can't be avoided: the nerd factor.

The nerd issue came up recently when Tim, filling out a questionnaire for the bee, wrote down Spock from "Star Trek" as his role model.

"We were like, 'You can't put that down, people are going to think you're a nerd,'" Jon Ruiter said. "And he said, 'Helloooo.'"

"He said, 'I'm in the National Spelling Bee. I'm already not cool, OK? There's my nerd factor already,'" Vicki Ruiter said.

However, even nerd-dom can go too far. Last year, Tim wrote in his bio that he does an impersonation of the unusual character Gollum from "Lord of the Rings." Even though his father says the portrayal is "spot on," Tim looks thoroughly embarrassed and sits silently when the subject is broached.


  1. His parents seem to have a really good approach to/attitude about the bee.

    If he hasn't figured it out on his own yet, then I hope someone tells Tim that most nerds grow up into really interesting people.

  2. Christy in Philly1:20 PM

    I tell the high school and college kids that I work with that when you are an adult, everyone you want to know was a nerd as a kid.

  3. Well, I managed to disappoint a couple of Bee participants today (Chicagoans, as it happens).  I saw them (with their mom) waiting to cross the street near my office.  They saw me tucking away my government ID and wanted to know if I worked for the FBI.  Sorry, kids.  Boring lawyer.