We had a blast. I will post pictures tomorrow. We did not win. 🙁 We came in third. We did win $50, which amounted to $12.50 each – not bad for a couple hours of fun. The team that won had been practicing for 4 weeks. One girl said her daughters had been quizzing her every night for the past month, so much so that the entire family sat in the audience spelling all the words correctly, right along with the participants. We, on the other hand, had only been a team for a week and had never practiced together, hadn’t even decided until our first word who would write the word on the whiteboard, and barely practiced individually. I merely scanned the word list, looked over the ones I thought might be troublesome – weimaraner, schadenfreude, balalaika – words like that. The German and Slavic words would clearly pose the greatest peril. We sailed along through multiple rounds, easily spelling apparatchik, commissar, prosciutto (my Italian roots came in VERY handy), maraschino, lithe, salve, madeleine, and more I can’t recall. A team here and there went out. Four teams were left. All four teams were doing so well that they were running out of words. The stepped up to the second level of challenge words. One team got dreidel and spelled it dredl. Down to three. A couple more rounds passed, then the pronouncer said “min-here”. We had 10 seconds to ask any questions and write down the correct spelling. Obviously, there was no time to ask any questions. Our writer wrote down “menhir”, which is a large, upright standing stone. Just as she finished writing the word, the pronouncer said “a Dutch word for a gentleman” or something like that. Well, we knew we had the wrong word, but she had not said the definition and time was up. Additionally, she had pronounced the word incorrectly. The judges gave us a second chance. Our next word was pronounced “chach-key”. S and I drew blanks. Then S quickly wrote “chotchke” on the board. Immediately I shouted, “wait! There’s a T at the beginning!” grabbed the marker to put the T down, and heard “Time!” The word was tchotchke, which is actually pronounced “chach-kuh” or “tsats-kuh”, and is Yiddish for knickknack. Out we went. The next team got the word hoomalimali, which the pronouncer mispronounced so severely the only way they could have known the word was because they’d memorized the list. The pronouncer said “WHO-mullee-mallee” but the word is pronounced “ho oh mahlee mahlee”. As soon as I saw the word I knew it had been mispronounced because it was clearly Hawaiian and you pronounce every vowel in Hawaiian words. Anyway, it was tons of fun, even coming in third. The costume contest winners were “The Nerds and the Bees” – two guys dressed as nerds and two gals dressed as bees. Very cute. The spelling bee winners were the “Aluminaries” – they wore space blankets as togas and foil hat things “to keep the other teams from reading their thoughts”. We were the Information Goddesses, and I was the Tech Goddess. We were very popular with the audience. And we’re already preparing for next year. I suggested “The Spelling Beetles” and said we should dress as the Beatles, with black and yellow striped suits, Beatles wigs, etc. I think we’d win the costume contest for sure.