It’s Finals Time

What a morning of spelling. We finally got faces to all the names we’ve been reading about. That girl from Alabama made me look like a real idiot. Dr. Bailly smirked at every single “use the word in a sentence” sentence regardless of whether or not it was funny. Before I get into the finalists, here’s some highlights.

The step up from yesterday to day is insane. “Mage” was a word yesterday. Mage. Today there were words that were 17 letters long with like one vowel. The best part about this is most of the kids parents are totally lost. It’s like when you get to a high enough math class and your parents look at you in terror if you come anywhere near them with a homework question. Speller #15 Enya’s dad looked like he was hearing foreign languages pretty much all day while she just slowly carved up these words.

I don’t know who the lady ringing the bell is this year but they better find a professional for the primetime rounds. It sounded like she was slapping that thing with a wet piece of linguini. Let elimination ring, lady! Let it ring long and true so when that kid falls asleep he or she will swear they can still hear the slight reverb of that tiny, metal soul-crusher.

For some reason I thought the winner took home $100K. Turns out the winner takes home $40k. That is unconscionable. These kids spend years sacrificing normal human contact for this stuff and the best you can do is 80% of one year’s tuition at Northwestern? For shame.

The Finalists

Speller #15 Enya Hubers: I enjoyed watching this girl spell. Quiet confidence in what she did and seemed to be in control the whole round no matter how much her father cowered. Unfortunately for Enya, she’s Canadian. I consider this an event as American as apple pie. You ever had apple pie and maple syrup? That’d actually be pretty delicious. Regardless we can’t let Canada come in and win this thing. Odds are her Canadianness will betray her and she’ll accidentally throw an extra “A” at the end of a word.

Speller #50 Aisha Randhawa: I’m about to say this about a lot of the finalists but this chick is nails. She didn’t flinch for the whole round. She never took more than 75 seconds to spell a word, which is huge points in my book. Anybody that uses more than that should get harder words. That being said, as far as pure entertainment value, she’s heavily lacking.

Speller #60 Simone Kaplan: I picked this girl after round three strictly because she looked like somebody’s little sister. Turns out she’s a monster at the mic. Just swags up to center stage in her American Girl Doll sized bee clothes, mouths the word “bitch” at Bailly, then asks for every piece of information on the word. You think I’m here to play your little games Bailly? No sir. When I say dance, you dance. Now tell me every possible pronunciation and get me a damn juice box. (This girl’s mom is a rocket.)
Speller #72 Paul Hamrick: I have a lot of thoughts about Paul but I’m going to with hold them because he might be on the spectrum and also he scares me. (The kid blinked one eye at a time. The Lizard people are infiltrating the Bee.)

Speller #80 Anisha Rao: This girl was fine. Again, real surgical approach. The importance of knowing multiple languages is huge in this event. She’s one that has it down. It’s always fun to see these kids just show out and, rather than asking the country of origin, throw out the country and make sure they’re right. I’m picking Anisha to see the top 3

Speller #98 Erin Howard: I haven’t written anything in like two years. I haven’t made an unfounded prediction in at least three. I try and be cute and poke some fun at Alabama via Erin Howard and she comes out and just stomps the morning round. Even did that stupid keyboard technique like she was taunting me. An Alabama native hasn’t won this thing since 1975. I might be the first person to reverse jinx a spelling bee.

Speller #133 Tara Singh: Textbook approach. Apparently she loves chocolate, which is great, but ESPN let her take a tour through a chocolate factory and as Wilber Wonka D.D.S. will tell you kids in braces should really avoid chocolate. I’m pulling for Tara because she’ll need that money to pay for veneers after her teeth fall out of her from all the sugar.

Speller #192 Jashun Paluru: Zero opinion on this kid. He’ll probably win the whole thing

Speller #279 Navneeth Murali: Another boring kid. Apparently his favorite actor is Will Smith and his favorite movie is Pursuit of Happyness. Not a great look for a supposed world-class speller to tolerate such a blatant misspelling in his favorite movie’s title.

Speller #290 Shruthika Padhy: This girl is tough. She’s getting over an illness so this is basically Jordan in game 6 all over again. She’s big into sneakers and rocking some quality Air Force 1’s. I’d be a huge fan of hers if it wasn’t for her little brother. Pretty sure he competes as well but right now he’s in the stands. Every time she comes up to spell the little shit closes his eyes and pretends to pray real hard. I know this because as soon as she’s done spelling, he opens his eyes, stares directly in the camera and gives double finger guns. Save the spotlight for the kids still spelling, loser.

Speller #315 Sravanth Malla: I don’t think this kid is human. I think he just asked questions to Bailly because he was programmed to engage humans for at least 30 seconds before destroying their simplistic language. I think a double shwa will make him short circuit.

There were supposed to be pictures and five more finalist previews but I ran out of time. Simone is winning this whole thing.


What happened in the Bee yesterday and What to look for today

Today begins the final rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, aka the greatest sporting event not involving sports. What about the World Series of Poker? Grow up. Chris Moneymaker ain’t walking through that door.

I could go on and on about reasons to love the bee. The commentators making these kids seem normal. The unbelievably punchable face of Dr. Jacques Bailley. The joy of seeing kids who’ve rarely experienced the spotlight either blossom or wither but either way provide footage that would make my 14 year-old self move to a remote part of Greenland. But I’ll cut to the Round 3 action.

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Hey White Sox fans! Shut the hell up

In case you hadn’t heard from a Chicago South Sider, the White Sox were the last Chicago baseball team to win a World Series. They did it in pretty convincing fashion, sweeping the Houston Astros in 2005.

Now that we got that out of the way, can we let the Cubs have their moment? Since the World Series started, the Sox faithful have been bitching non-stop about how they’ve been forgotten in all of this whole Cubs making their first World Series since just after World War II thing.

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Leave Steve Alone

We’re about 5 hours from the Cubs first opportunity to make a World Series since 2003 and I’ve seen an astounding amount of Steve Bartman reminders. The infamous scapegoat of the ’03 season is back in the headlines in maybe the most unfair throwback of all time.

Sure he interfered with a ball that should have been the second out of the eighth inning of Game 6, a play that would have put the Cubs four outs from the World Series. But there are about a million other people that should get more heat than that poor, head-phoned man in the stands.

I could give you a breakdown of all the culprits but the simplest and probably most fair is Alex Gonzalez. His error on a routine double play ball in the same inning should have put the Cubs three outs from a World Series. A Gold Glove caliber short stop couldn’t rise to the occasion. It was his fault. Not a fan going for a souvenir.

So as the Cubs go for their first World Series appearance since 1945 tonight, I beg FOX to at least show that fielding error every time they show that poor fan’s mistake.

Prove me wrong, Connor

I don’t know what happened. I can’t pinpoint the moment when it happened. But at some point it happened. Connor Cook became a god to anybody wearing green and white.

For his whole career I saw Cook as somewhat of a Kirk Cousins who didn’t like football as much. He never seemed like a student to me. If things went wrong, I didn’t imagine Cook thinking about the tape he watched the week before. I imagined him pulling an unsuccessful Brett Favre (heave and pray).

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A Word to Michigan Football

Michigan State beat Michigan in football this weekend but that is not what anybody is talking about. MSU was supposed to dismantle Michigan and that is exactly what they did.

All of the talk leading up to this year’s match up was about the general feeling that, if this was any other team, it would be just another rout. I couldn’t even get up my usual Blue hatred that begins to simmer around a week before the match-up.

But then Michigan had to be Michigan.

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