After witnessing the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee up close and personal, I have a newfound appreciation for those middle school masters of the dictionary.
Don’t get me wrong, I have always thought the spelling bee was cool and watched here and there on ESPN when I could. But this week, I saw how much work the contestants put in.
The bee is a sport, and these athletes spend the whole year training their most important muscle, the brain.
Since Scripps runs the Bee, I was the D.C. correspondent for a Scripps paper in Abilene, Texas, the Abilene Reporter-News. I had the pleasure of reporting on 14-year-old Kate Miller, speller No. 232, as she made it to the finals, tying for eighth place.
Kate, her little brother and her parents are caring, wonderful people who embraced me as I chronicled her performance. I was proud of her for going that far.
In the end, two spellers became co-champions, for just the fourth time in the bee’s history. As they went back and forth, neck-and-neck, my reporter hat disappeared, and I became a cheering fan, jumping up and down at each word spelled correctly. I took this video and tweeted this picture.
Earlier in the week, I saw on the White House schedule that the Seattle Seahawks would be visiting the White House to be honored for their Super Bowl victory.
The White House and something sports related – talk about killing two birds with one stone, amirite? The White House actually seemed kind of small when I saw it in person.
It’s still beautiful and serene (other than the guys walking around with giant automatic weapons). I even snapped a pic of Sunny, the Obama’s second dog, as he was being walked. Even though I would have preferred to see my beloved Patriots in the East Room, it was cool to see President Barack Obama joke around with Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll.
Canton, Ohio, is where NFL greats are enshrined in the hall of fame, and I suppose the Newseum is the hall of fame for feats in journalism. Madison Fantozzi and I explored the museum with excitement, like the two news nerds we are, going through exhibits on Sept. 11, the FBI and prize-winning photojournalism.
The legend of Ron Burgundy continued when walked through the Anchor Man exhibit. Sex Panther cologne was on display, but it was not available for purchase at the gift shop. I was devastated – I could use cologne that works all the time 60 percent of the time.