The 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee airs next week on May 30th and 31st on ESPN. Set your dvr now! If you follow the link above, there's a game you can play to test your spelling skills. (Spoiler alert: I would not have qualified for the semifinals, but I knew that before I took the test).
I loved impromptu spelling bees in elementary school. (I went to Catholic school, and we never had formal events with ribbons and trophies). But in the fourth grade, I had a humiliating spelling bee experience.
At the start of the bee, my homeroom teacher announced that she was just going to ask easy words during the first round so no one would get out. She asked me to spell the word "sweet" as in "this cookie is sweet" and I spelled "s-w-e-a-t" as in "someone left this cookie in the locker and now it's covered in sweat." Ashamed, I sat down and watched the rest of the bee.
I may be a spelling bee loser, but I'm still fascinated by the National Spelling Bee. The children are so intense, and they can spell the most ridiculous words, like insouciant, syllepsis, and logorrhea. (Here's a list of words that past spelling bee champions spelled to claim the crown. Last year's winner spelled "cymotrichous," which is just an uber-nerdy way to say "wavy hair").
If you like the National Spelling Bee, then I highly recommend the documentary Spellbound, which follows several contestants as they prepare for the big showdown. It's amazing to see the committment that these sixth graders have to memorizing the dictionary. (When I was in the sixth grade, I spent my free time listening to the New Kids on the Block and playing with my stuffed animals. I was never in any danger of going to the National Spelling Bee).
p.s. I hope there aren't any egregious spelling errors in this blog post, because that would be embarrassing.