It's that time of year again. Time to plant your veggie garden? Time to honor the war-dead? Time to renew your subscription to the Christian Science Monitor? Yes to all, but more importantly, it's time for the Scripps (Inter)National Spelling Bee. Can nothing quell the excitement?
Last year Assberger's Syndrome stud Evan O'Dorney took it all home when he swiped the title from Canadian Nate Gartke and then announced that he was bored with spelling and would rather be composing piano concertos using the mathematical formula he invented; and that spelling was just "a bunch of memorization". Poor Nate really had a shit-pie tossed in his face, that kid played with real heart.
We celebrate the spelling bee with a tradition in the XMLB, which is we each pick 5 players from the pool for our team, and the manager who's cumulative picks reach the farthest wins the title of Scripps (Inter)National Spelling Bee Managing Champ. What's harder than spelling? Choosing enough home-schooled kids and immigrants that have mastered the art of the word based solely on their name/locations.
A full list of contestants can be found here.
My top 5 picks this year are as follows:
- So-Young Iris Chung of Peoria, IL- cuz that's an awesome name in so many ways. Also, the first time I typed it out, I accidentally added an 'h' (oh the irony of a spelling bee) and she became "So-Young Irish Chung" which is even cooler.
- Austin B. Davis, of Fort McMurray, Alberta - reminds me of Ann B. Davis, Alice the Housekeeper from the Brady Bunch, R.I.P. (wait, did she die? or was that Sam the Butcher?)
- Qian "Cathy" Deng, Athens, GA- this rules cuz growing up when people couldn't pronounce my friend Huiwen's name I would tell them to "just call her Cathy... with a C."
- Willie Johnson, Brunson, SC- an unfortunate name, he's my pity pick
- Lance Letson Hungar of McLean, VA. - my definitive whitey pick. A home schooled 12 year old 6th grader of Nordic descent. The Klan could use a strong leader like Lance to draw in the youth.
There are so many great contestants that while I had a 5-speller limit, I felt that the others deserve some recognition as well. So I'm giving out awards to some of these runners-up.
While both are on my team, they are not only competing against each other in the spelling bee but also for: Who Has the Gayest Name? These guys could be co-stars on lemonparty.org (nsfw) in 60 years.
Lance Letson Hungar and Willie Johnson
The My My My Award...
Mylieneth Mymy Guiang of Salinas, CA
The A Wang with This Many Vowels has to be Great Award... Did I just say that?
Cody Aoan Wang, Calgary
The Stick with 1-2 Genres for Your Child's Name Please Award...
Serena Skye Laine-Lobsinger -- what?
The Sounds a Lot Like "Kaboom" and Onomatopoeias (which I used to be able to spell but had to look it up in my old age) Are Awesome Award.
Maria Isabel Yirebatiya Kubabom, Acra, Ghana
The Sounds like a Naval Warship Award.
Talmage I.S. Nakamoto, Kealakekua, HI
The A Home-Schooled Girl Who is Probably a BLAST to be Around Award.
Rachel C. Pinkerton of Coeur d'Alene, ID
The Gotta Have at Least ONE Sanjay Award.
Sanjay Venkata Kottapalli, Rockford, IL
The Shortest Name Award...
He Li, Eden Prairie, MN
The Nothing but a Bright Future for this One Award.
Sriram Jagadeesh Hathwar
The This Will Look Awesome on a Business Card Award.
The This Kid has More "Sponsors" Than Just the Canton Repository Award...
Anthony "Tony" E. Incorvati of Uniontown, OH
The Most Likely to Destroy and Devour Competition Award...
Juliana M. Canabal-Rodriguez
The Gotta Have ONE Patel Award.
The Worst Hometown Award
Stephanie Stancell of Muleshoe, TX (that's slightly West of Earth, TX)
The Soon to be In Custody of the State Award.
Isaac Thegn Skarstedt of Saratoga Springs, UT
The Another Unfortunate but Slightly Less-So Than Willie Johnson Name Award.
Emily Elizabeth Dick
Additionally, a huge shout out to my former Classics Professor at UVM, Dr. Jacques A. Bailly, who serves as the "pronouncer". Dr. Bailly was the 1980 National Champion. During my Satire class I had no idea why he was such a stickler for grammar and spelling. Only after watching the Spelling Bee on ESPN in 2003 did I make the revelation ("that voice sounds familiar... Dr. Bailly???"). Professor Bailly was the BOMB and despite my habit of not capitalizing letters, my Classics Satire class absolutely RULED (Aristophanes is a huge influence). He also held "cheese and cheese" sessions every so often which would essentially be a lo-fi MST3K salute that featured students sitting around watching cheesy movies while eating cheese plates.
Quarterfinals air live on ESPN360.com from 2-5:30pm on 5/29 (that's today)
Semifinals air live on ESPN from 11am-2pm 5/30 (that's tomorrow)
Championship Finals air live on ABC from 8-10pm* on 5/30 (also tomorrow).
*this is too late for home-schooled kids to be awake putting them at a distinct disadvantage.