I’m watching the Scripps national spelling bee on ESPN2. Wow these kids can spell.

I consider myself a pretty good speller (Grade 6 spelling champion at Doncaster Heights Primary School), runner up  Sale High School spelling championship in year 7.

But these kids make me look illiterate.

The youngest competitor in the final is 12.

There were several 14 year olds – one was in his fifth (and final) spelling bee. (you have to be under 15 on August 31st).

They can ask the judges 5 questions about their word

* Etymology

* Part of speech

* Alternate pronunciations

* Definition

* Use it in a sentence

It makes me think of a very funny play I saw a few yeas ago – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee a musical comedy that invites 4 members of the audience to take part in the ‘spelling bee’ along with the cast.

I enjoy the spelling bee and am in awe of the work that these kids put in – they have spelling coaches, they read the dictionary for fun and they (mostly) seem to have wide ranging interests outside of spelling.

It is strangely riveting television…

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