On Saturday January 24 I participated in the 2nd annual Spell Yeah! fundraiser for the Horicon Phoenix group that puts on Concerts in the Park, set up a disc golf course and does other initiatives in my hometown. I don’t mean to brag but my aunt, my cousin, my cousin’s friend and I were returning champs. So this year everyone was gunning for us – would we be able to stand up to the pressure? We may have had some confidence as our team name this year was “Do it again”
This year it was all team competition. The word would be said and we could confer but then a rotating “speller” would have to stand up and actually spell without help. If a team got it wrong another team could buy a do-over (this was a fundraiser after all). The competition was fierce and we purchased a few to keep our score up. Our team was really good again this year and out of all of the words I think we would have had 75%-80% of them correct. We went into the final “lightning” round with a score of 15 and a one point lead. The lightning round was new so we weren’t sure what to expect. One speller would get a chance to spell a word for 5 points. There would be no do-overs and no team help for this one.
Because the words were 5 points the words were very difficult. Team after team was getting the words wrong. However when it got to third place with 11 points the guy spelled flaccidity correctly and that put them a 16 points. This team was a dark horse and we were all surprised as we weren’t concerned because we didn’t know about the 5 point lightning round. The pressure was on. Second place spelled there word wrong. Then it was my turn.
The Queen Bee (not the actual name but the official were wearing antennas) gave me my word. She said something that sounded like “in-soo-shent”. I had no idea what the word meant and it was hard to picture it in my head. The game was on the line and I could feel the pressure and the eyes on me. I closed my eyes as I did every time I had to spell and said the letters out loud. “I-n-s-o-u-c-i-a-n-t”. The judges look surprised and to be honest I was too when they said it was correct. It was pretty exciting. Kind of like a three pointer as the clock expires or a Hail Mary in overtime. Except that this was not an athletic contest at all.
Overall I had a good time. I did feel good going in but you never know how these things go and what the competition will be like. Overall there were 8 or 9 teams and I think everyone had a good time. There were dirty rounds with suggestive words which kept the evening fun. This was a little awkward because both my parents were in the crowd. Some of the words I remember besides the winning one were sadomasochism, bratwurst, bankruptcy, promiscuous, pudenda, tumescence, intravenous, separate, frottage, and ukulele. (I guess the dirty words were a bit more memorable). It was a lot of fun and the money went to a good cause. Plus now I have two spelling bee trophies at home which would balance out my mantle place if I had one.
You can read more about the Horicon Phoenix at there website.