The Bee last night was a chaotic affair. When NP and I arrived at HK, Bronwyn, the host, told us that there were already three big parties who were signing up. The place really started to fill up as we ate some of the delicious fare that they serve up. We couldn’t keep track of the signup sheet as it circulated around the dining room. It was like the crowd had a mind of its own and it was threatening to take over.
There were some former winners there to try to reclaim the glory of taking home the prize. Kim, who was in the most recent Champions Only Night, was there with her entourage and was going by Black Kim this time. Black Kim lost out in the second round of CON2 and I think that it got under her skin. Christine, a two time winner, is a super loyal speller who has brought many people to the bee. She often looks at me like I just made up a word when we tell her what she has to spell. Then she nails it. Last night, she was with J Pat. Now that I think about it, he might be a leprechaun. With the beard and the jocular demeanor, he had a look in his eye that he knew something I didn’t. And Mars was there too. She once outspelled a man in
Other old faves that showed up were Maria, the kindergarten teacher, Lauren, who says she is a beard blogger, and Tim C., the ‘people’s champion’. Tim has come very close to winning a few times. Even the HK staff is rooting for him, but it is difficult to get passed the third round. We haven’t seen him for a few weeks and he announced why when he stepped up for the first round. He says that he’s been at Spelling Boot Camp where everyday he followed a regimen of early rising, pushups, situps, pullups and all day spelling drills. Now he is fit, clear minded and ready to go. And Lauren is another fave who went head to head but lost the first time she spelled. Undaunted, she will get to the winner’s circle by hook or by crook.
Among the new players, Melanie was such a great speller in grade school that she hosted her 5th grade bee when the teacher had laryngitis.
When thirty people sign up, as happened last night, there is more pressure on the players. And it leads to some really bad spelling by really smart people. Dropping or adding syllables is a common pitfall of public spelling. Overspelling is another one. That’s when the speller thinks that it can’t be a simple spelling and turn an ‘o’ into an ‘au’. HK is more crowded, the place is louder and the people are rowdier. Any Tuesday, it is a challenge to make sure the word is heard correctly by the speller and to hear the spelling. It is tougher when we have numbers like this.
The first round was tough on the spellers. Out of the thirty signed up, fourteen went down in round one. Then eight more were out in round two. That left eight standing in round three, including Black Kim, Tim, and Christine. There was also Barbara from
That left Black Kim and Barbara. It was a quick end at that point. Black Kim advanced on ‘beguine’ a rhumba-like dance popularized in the
Black Kim paid her bill with the gift certificate from her first victory and walked out with a brand new one for the next time. Excellent job, Kim. Congratulations!
We will see you all next Tuesday at HK for the Bee.