Spelling Queen

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we?

Back in the 8th grade, when the end of the school year still meant watching movies and zero stress, I was a pretty decent speller. (But only bak then. Now I’m horible with werds and kan’t speil to safe my live.) Decent enough that I won my class’s mini spelling bee to see who would represent them in the schoolwide one. The winning word was brackish.

Side Note: my best friend at the time got eliminated from the running by the word sugar. I remember being so disappointed in her.

Anyway, fast forward to the big auditorium (and by big auditorium I mean the gym with a stage on one side and everyone sitting on the floor) with all us representatives from every class from the big grade 8s down to the lowly grade 4s in rows on the stage. I forget what my number was. I could go check my yearbook that has those horribly unflattering pictures documenting that moment in time but there is legitimately a cat on my lap right now so I can’t. I’m sure you’re all devastated.

Insert the really uneventful process of elimination in which we each took our turn and stood in front of the mike while a teacher sitting at a table – with a binder of words and a legitimate bell that they ring when you get a letter wrong and simultaneously bring dishonour on your family – told us which word to spell. Some people asked for definitions and languages of origin not because it actually helped them but just so that they could look cool.

ACTUALLY scratch that one of my words was “kernel” which is no big usually except you know how for some inexplicable reason colonel and kernel are homonyms so I actually had to ask for the definition. And plot twist the definition was like “the leader of a group” or something random like that and NOT “an unpopped popcorn” or “some guy in the military” which are your standard two definitions so I went with the popcorn spelling and got it right.

I remember being nervous as heck since public speaking was and still is so not my forte and literally shaking as I went up to spell my word. I also remember spelling everyone else’s words in my head to make sure I was totally in the spelling zone (I was)

This went on for a long time until there was only 2 of us left and I got my word wrong. But let’s make it clear: I misheard them say probable instead of probably. Which, let’s be honest, is probably the lamest way to go out. Luckily, the other kid, some 4th grader, got his word wrong too so I was back in the game. We sparred for what seemed like forever until I realized what would happen if I won: I would have to go on to Regionals and there would be more people and possibly televised and oh gosh that was exactly the opposite of what my 12 year old introverted self wanted so when my word to spell was goatee I went up there and confidently said “Goatee. G-O-T-E-E. Goatee.” The sweet little ding of freedom sounded and it was up to my opponent to spell this next word right plus one more to seal the deal of his victory.

The last word was tutu. It was a great victory for him and I was quite happy with my second place.

My friends were kind of disappointed in me when they learned of my planned escape from winning but hey, if they wanted to do the whole spelling in front of strangers thing, they should’ve beaten me to it and gotten to second best speller in the whole school themselves.

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