Friday, April 20, 2012

I survive a spelling bee

Literacy Council coordinator Laura Young and husband Harvey look for Maverick.

It was my honor to represent the LeFlore County Journal, along with Trish the Wife and Big Barb the Mother in the Literacy Council of LeFlore County’s Adult Spelling Bee Thursday night.
The competitors ask each other how to spell.

I consider myself a pretty good speller, especially when using spellcheck. But this was my first spelling bee, at least that I can remember.

Naturally, I am not a win at all cost kind of person. I told anybody who bothered to ask, and a few who didn’t, that I either hoped we lost early or won it all.
Well, we didn’t lose early or win it all. Team Journal, not to be confused with Team Edward or the Team werewolf guy whose name I can’t remember, blazed to a third-place finish, outlasting seven other teams along the way.
I was surprised there were actually people who came to watch the Spelling Bee. I thought it must be a boring night for television, but discovered it was really pretty interesting, even for somebody like me who has Adult Attention Disorder, the old AAD.
Maverick of KTCS
While waiting for Maverick of KTCS to arrive, we were promised easy words for the first three rounds.
Our first word was caribou. I had a serious brain cheese and drew a blank so it was a good thing my teammates stepped up.
I could spell most of them and as Craig the Captain, so named because Ralphman Due Perdue had some family thing that prevented his appearance, or so he said, I had to actually spell the word when Maverick called on us.
We breezed through the first few rounds and soon other teams were dropping like band members at an August football game.
I was glad when the first team dropped out. At least we wouldn’t finish last. I tried not to show any joy when somebody else stumbled over a spelling, refusing to high-five the mother or even give a small fist pump.
I actually knew how to spell a couple of words my teammates didn’t, including aggregate, by gosh.
Soon, the words became borderline impossible. After the final four dropped to three teams, somebody informed us we had won a trophy. Whoa. Good thing I didn’t know that previously or I would have swallowed a tongue or choked on some of the tasty popcorn.
After it dropped to three teams, Maverick told us it was fixing to get tough, or words to that effect.
He was right. Buckley Library’s team was first to go. They were given a word so difficult they used a mulligan. I didn’t even know mulligans were available until shortly before the competition started and after finding out they cost $20, decided Team Journal would sink or swim.
That gave Buckley Library a pass.
Next, Maverick gave us the word abecedarian, but it was sounded out as abcdarian. I thought it was somebody who spelled out the alphabet. I did a mental check of the finances of Craig and thought maybe I could come up with $20 if I wanted to skip lunch and dinner for a few days.
Shouldn’t we be spelling words people actually use? It was helpless. I gave it my all but only got the first two letters right. I would say the crowd groaned because so many fans liked the underdog, but all I saw was a yawn or two.
The winning Stingers from Southern Star
The Southern Star team couldn’t spell their word, so a bit of controversy arose over Team Journal getting eliminated while the other two teams could not spell their words either in the same round.
Bee officials checked the rules and gave us the old heave-ho.
The other teams struggled after that, not that Team Journal could have done any better. Finally, the Southern Star Stingers actually spelled some ridiculous word correctly, then followed it up with another correct spelling and Southern Star was crowned champion and given the big trophy.
Team Journal: Maverick awarding us the trophy on the left along with Trish Hall, Craig Hall and Barbara Hall.
Our trophy wasn’t as big, but at least Team Journal left with some hardware.

Later, Maverick admitted he had never heard of I tried to console his anguish by pointing out we only cover LeFlore County. He asked some questions about the Journal and actually was interested, or put on a good act. I told Trish the Wife he didn’t sound like he does on his morning show, but she said he did.
It was a fun evening. I probably won’t start calling up friends and suggest we get together for spelling bee parties, but the main thing was it was a good night for the Literacy Council. So thanks to Laura Young and all the people who worked hard to make the night so good.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Wister wins with class

It’s hard enough to reach the finals of the baseball LeFlore County Tournament.

And it’s even harder to actually win the tournament.

That is certainly true, but Wister’s baseball program is a different story.

The Wister seniors reached the finals all four years, winning their second title in three years with a 5-3 win over Spiro in the finals Saturday.

This group also won as sophomores and finished second as freshmen and as juniors.

Saturday’s win had to be even sweeter for the Wildcats by winning over Spiro on the Bulldogs’ home field. This came one year after Spiro won the LCT over Wister on the Wildcats’ home turf.

Many of the same players competed for both teams and it was a three-day war to cap off the tournament.

Wister won the first game, lost the second one Friday night to force a championship game, then got the lead and made it stand up behind the pitching of Cody Luman and an excellent defense which pulled off a pair of double plays and threw two runners out at the plate.

Clint Crane was the winning pitcher in the first game against Spiro and was 3-3 in the finals. He was named the tournament MVP for his play.

Luman also delivered for the Wildcats, pitching Wister to the win in the finals and also going the distance on Tuesday against Poteau.

And the win came despite Wister playing without Tyler Gibson, another standout pitcher for the Wildcats, who is out with an injury.

Saturday’s championship win continued to build on the Wildcats’ impressive resume, which includes a Class 2A state championship last spring and frequent trips to the state tournament.

The most impressive part of Wister’s play is the way the Wildcats play. They don’t talk trash or try to distract or embarrass the opponent.

And Wister’s success and class is what will be remembered.