A Spelling Bee? As a fundraiser? This is my kind of community! Our local high school sponsors a spelling bee on the last Sunday in October, and our team, the F/V ((fishing vessel) Timmy Boy, has joined the dozen or so competitors in the atrium of the local community college for the past three years.
I had only relocated here for a short time when my dear friends and neighbors enlisted me as a teammate. Despite my strictly-summertime vacation visits here to our family’s beach house, Michele and I have shared books in common for decades. When I count my blessings, I put her at the top! Her husband Bob, a fisherman renown in these waters, has joined her there. So…spelling.
Have I mentioned how I love a challenge? Michele eclipses me! She is fierce, with rapier wit, and stunning intelligence. No pussyfooting around it. At first the invitation was a “fun” thing, but as the date for our maiden voyage approached, so did our vie-for-the-win spirit.
I marveled at the mechanics of the event. First all the teams showed up in costume because…Halloween. We were sporting FV caps and t-shirts that year. At tables each team clustered around a white board and markers, scratch paper and pencils at the ready. The moderator, a beloved high school teacher, called out the word, then a sentence, then repeated. Team members began busily whispering and deciding on their final spellings. Each team revealed its attempt while the correct version flashed on a large whiteboard overhead.
In the early rounds, spectators seated in the center of the atrium could “buy-back” participation with donations when their favorites misspelled. Oh, my gosh—the words were tough! Obviously error leads to better fundraising, but we were proudly holding our own, only needing a couple of rescues from family.
When the serious rounds began, no buy-backs, teams began sinking fast, lawyers, teachers, students, local businesses, but the fishermen remained afloat. That first year, we claimed third place, the second year, hopes and intentions high, a disappointing fourth. This year, we came in second! We knew where we were headed next year.
Fishing for ideas this morning, I received this in my inbox:
It’s a Chukar, you know? We didn’t, so it spelled elimination in 2019. We won’t make that mistake again!
(Thanks, Michele, for the inspiration.)