The Bee, the Huskies, and Everest metaphors

The spelling bee was great. It took a little less than an hour to bring the competition from 25 or so 5th and 6th graders down to two, and then only a few minutes for the champ to emerge. My duties consisted of stating the word, reading a sentence using the word, then saying either, “That is correct,” or “I’m sorry, that is not correct,” and reading off the correct spelling. Masterfully, of course. The winning word was “honorable,” which would have been misspelled if this had been a British Bee. Most of the kids did very well, missing not so much on long and difficult words but more on simply tricky ones, like “buoy” and “mortgage”—the kinds of words that always make me thank the digital gods for spell-check. (A girl also went out on “bureau,” a word I spell correctly approximately one time out of 10.) The two finalists both got $75 Savings Bonds and a chance to compete in the State Bee. Lots of fun.

Post-bee, the UConn women gave the whole state of Connecticut heart failure, getting dominated by Rutgers in the first half, and falling behind by 14 points before pulling to within five by the break. They eventually won a very ugly game by 10, and are off to the Final Four in New Orleans next weekend, where they will play Stanford, then (we hope) the winner of the game between Tennessee and LSU (Louisiana State University).

I implied in yesterday’s post that the coach of this team is pretty cool. He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s spectacularly demanding. And he must read promiscuously. He knows a lot about a surprising number of things, and seems to know a little about almost everything. The other day, he told the press that the regional final (the game they won last night) is always the toughest of the tournament—tougher than the semi-final or final, and he described it in terms outdoors people would appreciate: “That’s the Hillary Step on Mount Everest…more people die at that spot than they do anywhere else.” So, to extend the metaphor, our girls have gotten to the top of the mountain. Next weekend, all they have to do is get down safely and deliver Sir Ed’s great line: “We knocked the bastard off.”

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