Source Incorrect

So there’s only a little pressure when you’re a newspaper competing in a spelling bee. There’s a lot of pressure when the newspaper you work for has only appeared once before in this 10th annual event … and won it way back in 2001.
But there we were — Gordon Anderson, Jonathan Owens, Ashley Garner and I were The Sanford Herald, up against about 35 other teams in the Delta Rho Beginning Life With Books adult spelling bee, an event that raises money for books for small children (a great cause).
The rules? The announcer gives us words, we talk about it for about 20-30 seconds, then write it on a card. If we get it right, we survive. If we get it wrong, one of our four balloons gets popped by our table judge.
And this wasn’t easy … though the first word we got wrong, we will fight to our deaths (as Gordon says) defending the way we spelled it.
It was “preexist,” only we spelled it “pre-exist,” which turns out, is also right … but not according to Scripps Howard (who apparently know more than Webster’s). Balloon popped.
Our second wrong word was “medicaster,” which we had right to begin with, but for some reason changed it to metacaster … balloon popped.
Then we went on a tear … getting about 20 words in a row correct. I have to give a ton of credit to Gordon for keeping us alive … even though his mad-dashery got us “preexist” wrong, he made up for it with correct spellings of words like “blunderbuss,” “approvation,” “pious” and other words I can’t recall off the top of my head, but were tough nonetheless.
We made the Top 10 before our next balloon popped on the word “palooka,” which we spelled with a “u” instead of “oo”.
And the word that got us?
“Arachnophagous” … which we really tried on … Jon and I got the “arac” part correct, and Gordon and Ashley go the “nophagous” … but darn it all, we forgot the “h”.
Fourth balloon popped. Game over.
We would have been eliminated anyway on the next word, “dirndl” so it’s probably for the best that we went out on such a long word.
I didn’t stick around for the winning word, but Trinity Lutheran ended up the repeat champions … they got “dirndl,” which tells me they actually prepare for this.
But we made the Top 7, and I’ll tell you … we are already looking to win this next year. As a newspaper, we’re supposed to know a thing or two about spelling (despite what those of you smart-alecks say … typos are MUCH different than misspellings).
So count us in for next year. We’ll be there wearing our dirndls.

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One thought on “Source Incorrect

  1. “Palooka”? You misspelled a word that’s been said by someone in practically every other Daffy Duck cartoon and Three Stooges short?

    It’s probably for the best that the paper didn’t compete when I was there – my intensity during these things would’ve made Kevin Garnett whimper.

    Honestly, though…palooka.

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