Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Last-minute musings

The words have been selected, the pronunciations proofed, the sentences written. The programmes have been printed, the tables ordered, the nametags printed. The Bee Tree is organized, the decorations are ready to go. I'm baking cupcakes and brownies with little candy bees on them for the Bee Café. Tomorrow evening our months of planning will come to fruition, and the Bee will take on a life of its own.

I don't know who is more nervous at this moment--the contestants or the Bee committee.

As the compiler of the word list, I have to say it has been a challenge to balance the needs of the more competetive spellers with those who are just in it for fun. We don't want anyone going "out" on the first word, but we do need to establish a clear winner of each round--and, of course, of the Bee itself. Each of the 4 preliminary rounds has 18 words: easier words in the beginning, and harder words towards the end. The Championship Round has 17 words. Because we know we have some extremely good spellers coming, I have crafted a separate list of "Killer Bees": the most difficult words, designed to bring a protracted round to a (hopefully) swift conclusion. I have 75 "Killer Bee" words, and I'm bringing the entire 800+ word list just in case we need it. Remember, the folks who are spelling are really competing against the list, not one another.

Now is the time to remind everyone that all participants in this Bee are winners. They are supporting their town Library, one of Dover's finest treasures. I would like to thank all the participants, most sincerely, for their community spirit and willingness to come out and have fun to benefit the Library. I hope we have a large and appreciative audience to support the players (and to buy all the goodies out in the hall). Because we have had so many private donors to the Bee, all of our expenses have been covered. Everything we make tomorrow night goes directly to the Library via the Friends. It doesn't get much better than that!

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