davidd (davidd) wrote,

"Video killed the radio...." No. Wait. I Meant "Boggles," not "Buggles."

I made my students watch part of the national spelling bee, which I had videotaped last night. Okay, I didn't actually force them to watch, they had the option of visiting quietly, or signing yearbooks, or whatevering. It's the last day of school, they weren't gonna work anyway. I wanted them to see some role models.

A few of my students were very interested in the competition, which pleased me.

The boys in particular liked Saryn Hooks. "Wow, she's really beautiful," I heard the boys in the back of the room commenting in hushed whispers.

"Fourteen?" the girls commented. "More like 24. She's the only one there who's passed through puberty!"

Catty teenage girls: just one of the things that make this job so much fun!

For the most part, my students were pulling for each contestant, and a collective groan of sympathy arose with each error, with one notable exception. With each replay of the stumble by media favorite Samir Patel, the kids laughed and cheered. "He's so full of himself," they told me. "He won't shut up." "He keeps talking about how he's going to win." In the only interview I saw with him, he seemed confident but realistic. I think his joy in each success was genuine, and he was definitely crushed when he faltered in the seventh round. I felt kind of badly for him. Not so my students. They're ruthless!

It's kind of a curse, I think, to be in the media spotlight. Despite the media attention, Samir did much better than you-want-ego-I'll-show-you-ego media darling Olympian Bode Miller. And what can I say; I laughed -- I felt guilty, but I laughed nonetheless -- every time Bode crashed at the Olympics. I think Bode is probably past his competitive prime. I suspect Samir, however, is the "Terminator" of high profile spelling. He'll be back.

Of course you all know who I was pulling for. Even if I didn't know her, after watching all the contestants, she'd still have been my favorite. It's that semi-unkempt hair-in-the-eyes thing, and that serious demeanor. And cool shoes. If I were to choose an additional fave, it has to be Canadian Leslie Newcombe. I was quite taken with her spelling of "ersatz": "E-R-S-A-T-ZED". I told most of my students I had the good fortune to be acquainted (such as it is) with one of the spellers, and that her dad has Hawaii relatives. They were underwhelmed, I'm sad to say. One class, however, I asked to guess which of the spellers I knew. In fact, I offered an "A" for the quarter to anybody who could guess. (I suppose I would have had to pay up; but then, since it was mostly the "A" and "B" students who were paying attention anyway, I didn't have much to lose). I took great pains to remain silent throughout the tape. At the end of the period I asked for their guesses. Several of them called out, "the one with the funny haircut, with the straight bangs." Hmmm... perhaps I reveal too much of myself to my students.

it's kind of weird, though, the whole chain of randomness and chaos and chance that spiraled me into an orbit that intersected 905, Natsuki, Molecularman49, B, and the spelling thing (which intersects the orbit of that silly Oxford book from P, which drove me to no ends of irritation); it's strange that, after watching all those spellers (well, 80 or 90 of them), if I could pick one I'd want to actually be acquainted with, it'd be the one with whom I am.

I know there's not really true "randomness" at work; it's a conflux of similar interests converging via the internet. It's not all that strange at all. Yet, considering the size of the world, the scope of the internet, and, like, life, the universe, and everything, it is kind of mind-boggling.

Granted, my mind is easily boggled. But still.

It's not even that late at night, I have no business rambling like this. I shall stop now.

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