If you’ve ever watched the Scripps National Spelling Bee, you know those elementary and middle school kids are some truly ridonkulous spellers. The winning words in 2016 were Feldenkrais and gesellschaft, for glavin out loud. Being able to correctly spell those words in the heat of competition is a feat of skill on par with hitting for the cycle in baseball or dropping 50 in an NBA game. To watch those kids in the Scripps Bee is to watch greatness. I don’t know about you, but when I watch greatness in competition, it makes me wish I could imitate it (albeit in much lesser fashion) in real life. I watch Dirk Nowitzki play, I then want to hit turnaround, one-legged, fadeaway jumpers over some fools. All I have to do to make that happen* is go to a gym or park and start a game with some buddies, or if I want to get a bit more serious, join a league at a rec center. If I want to partake in some organized or even semi-organized spelling action, I don’t really have any options. I’ve never seen a pickup spelling competition break out at my local playground (which is probably why we never saw Will Smith spelling some adverbs outside of the school), and the organized bees are for school-age kids. What’s an adult speller to do?
As always, or as always when I’m setting you up to tell you about something the library is offering, the library has your back. On Friday, September 23 at 6 PM, we’re holding our inaugural Adult Spelling Bee to determine the premier wordsmiths in Benbrook. Is your interest piqued (pronounced “peekt,” verb, language of origin: French, meaning: to provoke; arouse)? Here are the key details:
- It’s free.
- It’s for adults (18+)
- Rather than competing as individuals, participants compete in teams of 3 – 5 members and collaborate to come up with answers, so it’s less stressful than a traditional bee.
- It’s a points-based competition rather than the usual “spell it wrong and you’re out” format, so you don’t have to worry about exiting in shame after a single slip-up.
- There are multiple rounds (six, to be exact), including a literature-themed round. Each round consists of 5 – 10 words, and teams are awarded points for each word they spell correctly. After rounds three and five, the lowest scoring teams are eliminated until two teams are left to compete in the championship round.
- You probably don’t need me to tell you, but no dictionaries, smart phones, or other aids are allowed (duh).
- There are prizes! The winning team gets a trophy and engraved stainless steel tumblers. All teams get small participation favors.
If this sort of thing sounds like your bag, round up a spelling posse and fill out a registration form by September 12. You can view and print the form here, or pick one up at the library. If you’d like to get your spell on but don’t have people with whom to team up, fill out this form, and we’ll group you with others who are seeking teammates. For more details, post in the comments, send us an e-mail, or call us at 817-249-6632.
*I in no way mean to imply that I can replicate Dirk’s shot. If Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant can’t do it consistently, an unathletic, talent-deficient scrub like me has zero chance. It’s still fun to try.