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Organized Adult Professional Spelling Bees

Excellent spellers can make a career out of it.
  (+18, -6)(+18, -6)
(+18, -6)
  [vote for,

I imagine taking spelling bees to the next level, creating an international organization that holds championships for adult professional spellers. I envision it working very much like professional tennis, with players being 'seeded' and playing in bees against each other, for huge monetary prizes.

Imagine the Michael Jordan or the Venus Williams of spelling. Talk about a good role model for kids.

(pre-emptive note: Adult spelling bees exist. The idea is for an organized professional 'sport' of spelling.)

waugsqueke, Jun 05 2002

Scripps-Howard US National Spelling Bee rules http://www.spellingbee.com/rulesloc.shtml
Could be adopted by the International Adult Spelling Bee Association (IASBA). [waugsqueke, Jun 05 2002]

For Egbert http://www.ajli.org/
Be careful about what you wish for. [jurist, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Spellbound http://www.thinkfil...oundMovie/index.php
An excellent film, concerning 8 children competing in the US National Spelling Bee finals. Did I mention that this film is excellent? [calum, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Great American Celebrity Spelling Bee http://www.sleazero...ews04/0129coo.shtml
I was rooting for Cooper but he sucked. This is the closest thing I've seen yet. I liked the whole "Millionaire" drama music and vari-lite set design stuff. Brett Butler won. [waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

"U.S. Sees Rise in Adult Spelling Contests " http://news.yahoo.c..._us/senior_spellers
The movement is underway. It's only a matter of time. [waugsqueke, Jun 26 2005]


       Is there wagering?
thumbwax, Jun 05 2002

       As much as there would be with any other professional sport.
waugsqueke, Jun 05 2002

       I've often mused about school-aged spelling bee winners as having a promising career in spelling. This would help make that more of a reality. It would also groom recruits for the guerrilla pedants.   

       I wonder if colleges would offer spelling scholarships. I bet Spelman College would.   

       And rather than being a poor kid's ticket out of the ghetto, it could be a less-poor kid's ticket out of the house (since most spelling bee winners are home-schooled).
beauxeault, Jun 05 2002

       Jock pedants. No no no no no. No.   

       [Blissmiss]: A spelling be a rich television studio executive, responsible for such dross as Beverly Kills 90121999911 (or whatever it was called). That's what a spelling bea.
Guy Fox, Jun 05 2002

       <off topic> Guy Fox, were you in Hubbard's on Great Western Road on Friday night? I saw someone who looked just like you, but wasn't sure enough to introduce myself </off topic>
salachair, Jun 05 2002

       <off topic>Was he wearing a stripy red-and-black punk top with faded orange hair, and drinking Guinness, by any chance? If so, it was indeed meself. Hubbards is one of my regular haunts on Fridays, Saturdays... um, Thursdays, um, sometimes Wednesdays... and, well, you get the picture.   

       So are you a 'wendy' as well then, sal? Come up and introduce yerself if you see us in there again; always delighted to meet new folks and any halfbaker will, of course, be plied with drink and conversation should they so desire.</off topic>
Guy Fox, Jun 05 2002

       <off topic again, sorry> Hurrah! Calum and I were making our way home after having been to the spectacle that is the Shaolin Monks, but we will come along to Hubbards one night and give you some fizzy chat. </off topic, that's the last time, I promise>
salachair, Jun 05 2002

       Huzzah and hurrah, indeed, sal 'n' cal! I shall keep eyes peeled and seats warm. (And if I'm not in Hubbards on a Friday, it most likely means I'm in the Stravaigin on Gibson Street (Bollocks! Now the Saucer Nazis know all my hideouts (Ah, it's OK; I didn't mention the Uisge Beatha on Woodlands Road (Doh!)))).   

       Anyhoo, of course, apologies to all concerned for this brazen halfbaked hobnobbing. Feel free to delete all this irrelevant chit-chat as and when, waugs. Toodle-pip.
Guy Fox, Jun 05 2002

       Don't mind it a bit.
waugsqueke, Jun 05 2002

       Spelling is one of my few talents and I *love* this idea. I can't decide which of the following I'd want to be, though:   

       the Real Madrid of spelling   

       the Martin Brodeur of spelling   

       the Lance Armstrong of spelling   

       the Ross Rebagliati of spelling (sp?)   

       the David Beckham of spelling   

       the Detroit Red Wings of spelling   

       the Kobe Bryant of spelling   

       the Keon Clark of spelling   

       the Tiger Woods of spelling
earl, Jun 05 2002

       What do you call bears without any ears?
pottedstu, Jun 05 2002

       [blissmiss] You're referring to my **, I take it? There's a reasonably good explanation for that.
earl, Jun 05 2002

       The Tiger Woods of spelling! Oooohh, I'd love to be the Tiger Woods of spelling! Webster's Collegiate Dictionary would make me a wardrobe of custom spelling-bee outfits! I'd get a caddy to haul around the OED! Campbell's Alphabet Soup would offer me millions in endorsements!   

       Naturally, the pressure would be intense. People worldwide would throng to library-bars to watch me spell in the Masters ... I'd be three, five, fifteen words ahead of my dorky college-professor competitors ... and when I won, I'd run over to hug my tearful parents, while whispering in their ears, "I owe it all to you guys, and those long lunches you spent quizzing us kids on spelling at Marie Callender's ..."   

       People would drink lattes, while keeping one eye on the televised Big Bee. They'd exclaim to their coffee buddies, "See her belt out 'epinephrine' in five seconds? Whooo, man, that girl's the s**t!"   

       But God help me, friends, if I stumble on 'mnemonic'. The wunderkind must ever win, never fail. If she fails, she's just another decent speller who choked on the 18th word ... just another sore loser in last year's green jacket.   

       It's lonely at the top.
1percent, Jun 05 2002

       I asume the persuns woo voated agenst this cant spel.
pottedstu, Jun 05 2002

       Just as long as you remember us when you're rich and famous, the HB will always be here to correct the odd word - and pedantically point out any other faults, of course... ;op
yamahito, Jun 05 2002

       Throw in some Welsh words to liven it up.
Suppose "I'd like to buy a vowel" - being that this *is* for adults, can vowels be bought?
thumbwax, Jun 05 2002

       Hmm. If your turning it into wheel of fortune, you will have to drastically reduce the prize money.
[ sctld ], Jun 05 2002


       No prizes for you, scuttled! ;op
yamahito, Jun 05 2002

       [waugsqueke]: I voted *for* the idea, but if this was a debating club and I had to argue the other side of the issue, I'd open by saying that professional adult spelling bees reinforce the destructive notion that words are fixed objects, subject to rules and regulations, subject to central authority. We should be celebrating the playful, rebellious, right brain, slippery aspects of language, not lionizing conformists.   

       I believe that William Shakespeare spelled his name in several different ways throughout his life.   

       That's what I would say.
earl, Jun 05 2002

       William Shakespear never wrote his name. It was an imposter. it was Marlowe that did it, Marlowe!
[ sctld ], Jun 05 2002

       Oh what a tangled web we create,/When first we decide to annotate.
earl, Jun 05 2002

       As in chess the best human speller would go a match against the Deep Blue spell checker.
FarmerJohn, Jun 05 2002

       "And the champion wept, for there were no more words to conquer."
earl, Jun 05 2002

       Shakespeare was Marlowe's ghost.
po, Jun 05 2002

       Boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo.   

       Iambic spooktameter.
earl, Jun 05 2002

       earl: re celebrating the "slippery" aspects of language ... I agree compleetely.   

       Hey Shakespeare fans! Did you know that, in the first staging of "Hamlet", Shakespeare himself is rumored to have performed the role of the Ghost?   

       I present this factoid in defense of the brilliant and generous Kenneth Branagh, as a rebuke to those who might see him as the original self-aggrandizing git <pillock?> in tights ...
1percent, Jun 05 2002

       I think gits tend to be older pillocks.
[ sctld ], Jun 05 2002

kaz, Jun 05 2002

       [1percent]: I didn't know that... That's fascinating. In my past life, I would have been quick to point out that this brings up all kinds of (postmodern) issues about the relationship between the writer and the actor, as well as the writer and the audience. You'll recall that Hamlet has a lot of difficulty deciding whether to believe the ghost or not... What if the ghost is a demon attempting to trick Hamlet? In early modern England, Puritans criticized and persecuted London's theatres on the basis that plays are simply institutionalized deceptions (sin).*** Shakespeare performing the role of the ghost puts a unique spin on the idea of dramatist as liar (and demon).   

       ***they had some other objections as well, of course, not least of all the rampant prostitution
earl, Jun 05 2002

       I'm voting against it for two reasons. One, it overemphasizes the importance of spelling obscure words in mastery of the English language. Two, it's a silly idea. Professional sports exist as entertainment; athletes make money because people watch them. This would be largely unwatchable, as it contains little of the uncertainty of sports and doesn't even have cute little kids.
bookworm, Jun 05 2002

       I want to be the Venus Williams of spelling. That kind of costuming might make it more watchable, too.
china, Jun 05 2002

       [earl] ... It is fascinating. I love the way Shakespeare used madness as a device of illumination in his great tragedies; I'd like to believe that he might have been playing with this motif as well, in the role of the Ghost. I think that Shakespeare was half in love with the idea of madness. Perhaps, to an artist of his time, any ailment that released one's inhibitions was more a gift than a liability.   

       What were you, in your "past life"?
1percent, Jun 05 2002

       [1percent]: A graduate student of English literature, drunk on ambiguity, heteroglossia, and self-reflexivity... TA of a first-year English course... Sir Andrew Aguecheek in a university production of *Twelfth Night*... Aspiring professor... But no more.
earl, Jun 05 2002


       I was: graduate student of contemporary literature; TA of a writing seminar for EFL graduate students; Isabel in a college production of "Measure for Measure"; adjunct college professor ... but like you, no more.   

       Are you sure we're not the same person?
1percent, Jun 05 2002

       a-ha! dopelgangers; you have both seen each other's ghost - which is an appropriate name for the online persona.   

       Once again I am led towards asking Masamune Shirow/ Mamoru oshii type questions....
yamahito, Jun 05 2002

       Nicely dovetailed, yamahito.
earl, Jun 05 2002

       Funny this should come up - I've just been reading an argument that Shakespeare wrote the part of King Hamlet's ghost based on himself in the knowledge of Ann Hathaway's infidelity.
stupop, Jun 06 2002

       As a result of Ann's infedility, centuries later - Jane Hathaway was uglified
thumbwax, Jun 06 2002

       Um, no. My first thought was to say that Scrabble champs would probably excel at this, but then I wonder if the skills required are the same. A Scrabbler is geared toward anagramming and looking for ways to use high-point letters, skills which aren't very useful when it comes to spelling "hydroxytoluene."   

       bookworm, your second observation is exactly how I feel about basketball.
waugsqueke, Jun 06 2002

       re: bobofthefuture's comment. I wonder if a Mystery Science Theater version would be more commercially viable.   

       p.s. "hydroxytoluene" is easy: h...y...d...r...
Use it in a sentence? "The word you are expected to spell is 'hydroxytoluene'."
Nation of origin? Why, France, of course. Everything was invented by the French. When the Sunshine Biscuit company was losing market share in their battle with Oreo cookies, the French, in their tradition of adding the seemingly inedible to food (truffles, snails, etc.) added an organic solvent, and called it "hydrox y toluene." Later, they realized it would me more difficult to pronounce if it were "toluene y hydrox," but by then it was too late.
beauxeault, Jun 06 2002

       Query: is yamahito correct in using only one 'p' in //dopelgangers// ? - I only ask, I am not sure.
sappho, Jun 06 2002

       Not according to my sources; 'doppelganger' is correct.
angel, Jun 06 2002

       Doppelganger, d-o-p-p-e-l-g-a-n-g-e-r, doppelganger.   

       No, I wasn't
yamahito, Jun 06 2002

       I agree with UnaBubba.
XSarenkaX, Jun 06 2002

       Yes, one of the fishies is mine, I'm afraid, waugs (and now I feel _really_ guilty about using this idea for idle chit-chat). Anyhoo, since you asked nicely, my reasons are pretty much the same as bookworm's and earl's (his hypothetical debating club argument, that is). If I were feeling bolshy (and I usually am), I'd also argue that prescriptive pedantry has been used quite politically in the past in order to privilege one dialect - and the particular social group that uses it - over another. Queen's English, R.P., and all that. Lallans Scots, for instance, is pretty much dead because it wasn't seen as a *proper* way of speaking or writing.   

       But maybe that's a bit anarcho-socialist of me, and I'm not about to argue against conventionality in terms of spelling (and grammar, etc.). I guess mainly I just don't think geeky smarts and competitiveness should mix, if for no other reason than that it encourages an "I'm smarter than you" attitude in people who are often badly in need of social skills as it is. (I know. I was that teenage geek. It took me years to learn that answering every question your teacher opens up to the class does not endear you to your peers) Leave competitiveness - and the arrogance that goes with it - to the jocks, salesmen and middle managers of the world and let smart people just be nice to each other, I say.
Guy Fox, Jun 06 2002

       It is apparently possible to lose one's ability to spell almost instantaneously. I was a local spelling champ at age 12 and 13 and then made the mistake of trying to learn shorthand to take notes more quickly in class. One of the first things you learn is to drop the second double consonant and to leave out all the vowels. Sudenly I strted speling things lik ths, even when I didn't want to. I dropped the shorthand course but lost the bee that year, and to this day I still make spelling mistakes -- because the words just look OK to me however I have written them. A true tale of spelling woe. Or wo. Or w.
magrak, Jun 06 2002

       I wouldn't be surprised if most of us here have encountered the stigma Guy describes. We are a geeky lot, really. I had one teacher who used to stand at the head of my row of desks and talk directly to me when teaching the lessons. I didn't have to raise my hand to ask a question, since we were essentially already having a discussion. Others had to raise hands just to get his attention, though.
waugsqueke, Jun 07 2002

       I rarely made it to High School on time. Maybe if there was a field trip or a Golf Tournament, but otherwise - natch. Consequently, my early period teachers hated me. The worst was my Advanced Maths - gawd he tried everything to humiliate me, and I - he. I usually stayed 2 chapters ahead on any given subject, got an understanding of things, waited until after class to pose questions about those tasks left undone in my mind. He didn't like that. At all.
So he'd be yammering on about something or another when I'd stroll in halfway through class, get the glare, plop down - glance at board and understand exactly where he was in relation to what I'd read and understood at least 3 days prior to moment in time. He'd be glaring at me while illustrating on the blackboard while the sheep I went to school with sat transfixed by his chalk movements. Then I'd hear
'Not necessarily, just thinking about a question I have after class about a couple of chapters up - I think we'll cover it next Wedn....'
"Grrrrrrr - get up here and draw this out from the beginning to the end. I'm only halfway done with this lesson, heeheehee (as he erased the board).
So I'd take it from the beginning (which I'd missed, being late and all).
'As, my distinguished colleague, Mr. F---'
"Grrrrr- do NOT refer to me as your colleague-Grrrrr".
'Thank you for setting the record straight, S-i-r, now (wink to class) realize that in order to find the answer to this nearly retarded one (yawn & draw quickly while in sing-song voice)... r in ft/second when d = 100 ft and t = 4 seconds, bear in mind that (Draw Formula: d = rt) looks like (look at teacher) "dirt", don't it?...'
"Grrrrrrrr- that'll be enough, Wax"
Class: OOoooooooooOOOOOooooo
thumbwax, Jun 07 2002

       easily outclassed...
yamahito, Jun 07 2002

       Well, I had a teacher break down in the middle of a test. This was when those clicking (automatic) pencils first came out and were real big. The teacher had had enough with the clicking during the test, so all of a sudden he went to the board and started hitting it with the chalk. Then he took some of those chalk erasers and started banging them together makeing big clouds of dust. Then he started jabbering away about clicks and such. He didn't come in to work the rest of the semester.
barnzenen, Jun 07 2002

       It's such a pity that we can't play this here.
Now, spell 'oxyhaemoglobin'.
NickTheGreat, Aug 15 2002

       this could bring out the beest in people. I foresee fighting on the terraces, fans throwing scrabble pieces at the referee, touts outside selling tickets at inflated prices, mexican waving, chanting and patriotic singing. facepainting and streaking. yeah ok, deserves a bun. +1
po, Mar 11 2003

       This is great; I'll rack up! Hell, I majored in spelling in college!
snarfyguy, Mar 11 2003

       [dag] you may have just *grown* or <shrug> shrunk.
po, Mar 11 2003

       have a drag on my spliff, chill out.   

       who went? half?
po, Mar 11 2003

       But would the words be easier or harder than the junior league? My spelling has gone far down the drain since high school.   

       And now I've got all these UK variants to fret over. Why can't the British learn proper English, darnit?
RayfordSteele, Mar 11 2003

       I think you've got a good idea. and as support for spelling as a sport, if curling (yay curling!) is a sport, why shouldnt spelling bee? get it? be...bee? oh whatever
Seafris, Mar 11 2003

       That makes it play in my head as organ-iced.
bristolz, Mar 12 2003

       No it doesn't.
bristolz, Mar 12 2003

       No, you say potato and I say spud.
bristolz, Mar 12 2003

       Can there be a "junior" league for engineers? I'd walk it easily, there are only two people in our entire company that can spell and the other one's a salesman.
egbert, Mar 12 2003

       [egbert] In the States, the Junior League is strictly an upper and middle class women's organization that supports worthwhile charities and women's rights. (link) You may wish to be careful about the line you say you would walk unless you enjoy wearing skirts and high heels.
jurist, Mar 12 2003

       How about an online version of this?
OK, contestants, your first word is "necessary".
hippo, Mar 12 2003

       // only two people ... the other one's a salesman //   

       Tautology. Salesmen aren't "people". Debate continues in the engineering community as to whether they are in fact a life form at all, or merely some sort of toxic irritant compound.
8th of 7, Mar 12 2003

       Maybe [egbert] meant to add a "too" at the end of his sentence?
PeterSilly, Mar 12 2003

       Possibly. His grammar or syntax is as obviously bad as his spelling are.
8th of 7, Mar 12 2003

       He used to be an engineer, but being an uber-pedant he just couldn't take it any more. The lure of a free car was too much.   

       And at least I know the difference between a tautology and an oxymoron.   

       And jurist, not saying.
egbert, Mar 12 2003

       //Salesmen aren't "people".//

Well, of course not. I thought everyone knew that Soylent Green is people.
DrBob, Mar 13 2003

       Have you ever wondered if it shouldn't be "Soylent Green *are* people"?   

       Neither have I.
beauxeault, Mar 13 2003

       Someone spelled "Soylent" incorrectly on the Halfbakery the other day. I believe (s)he said "soilent." So this digression ended up being slightly relevant.... Very slightly.   

       Dratitude. It was deleted.
brenna, Mar 13 2003

       //I believe (s)he said "soilent"// sounds like the woik of UnaBubba.
po, Mar 13 2003

thumbwax, Mar 13 2003

       she said - don't...
po, Mar 13 2003

       woo hoo. sigh-n me up. one of the few ways I would be have the potential to become a champion. I am loving this idea to pea-says.
thecat, May 02 2003

       Would this be Adult Entertainment?
bungston, May 02 2003

       [waugs] I sure hope you're not excluding kids here. They have the same "right to spell" as you. </meant as light humor - no offense>
Worldgineer, May 02 2003

       I am an organized adult spelling Bees.   

       Mostly organized, anyway.
bristolz, May 02 2003

       But are you a professional?   

       // I sure hope you're not excluding kids here. //   

       Of course I am. They're strictly amateur. But they can get college scholarships and turn pro after graduation.
waugsqueke, May 02 2003

       who would their sponsors be? oxford dictionary?
phlegm, Oct 16 2003

       Spelling ZZZZZ's is all I'm getting from this idea.
jackottabox, Oct 16 2003

       Ah, I see. A spelling "Bee" is a spelling competition (!?). How odd. I have never heard the word used in this way. As I was waiting for this to load, I thought, "Surely all bees are adult, the immature "bees" being known as larvae. Also, bees are well known, indeed *renowned* for being extremely well organised, social insects. Bees could well be said to be professional, since they are extremely specialised and carry out indispensible services, namely the pollination of flowering plants and the production of honey, to the exclusion of all other activities, such as the study of aerodynamics, which is just as well or they would all *realise* that they should not be able to fly and would, perhaps, cease to do so. Now, spelling. Well, I'm not too sure about that. He must mean *smelling* but has spelt it incorrectly. This post must, therefore, concern bees which are specially trained to home in on certain scents, relaying the location of the origin of the fragrances by way of their famous "waggle dance". Waugs must have discovered a method of decoding the dance in such a way that humans can also understand it. Clever old Waugs." I thought....   

       But a spelling competition for adults is good too.
squeak, Mar 08 2004


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