I do know. Life is busy. Noah's life is busy. In addition to homework, he had rehearsal every night this week for an upcoming variety show. He left the house at 6:30 a.m. two mornings this week for his jazz band rehearsal. He played his trombone in the Winter Concert Tuesday night. (And believe me, it felt like winter.) Friday he spent most of the morning at the Cedar Valley Band Festival. He loves it all, but he was exhausted.
Saturday morning he had to rise bright and early for the spelling bee. That's life.
He studied his words, and we showed up at the bee, tromping through fresh snow and slush to get to the school. Sidewalks were not shoveled, and most roads were not plowed, but he was excited to be there.
This was the third time he has participated in the contest, so it was a fairly comfortable situation for Noah. Spelling bees are not necessarily comfortable. It's a dramatic experience, filled with plenty of fear. I made the comment to the woman sitting next to me that I wished the judges would smile. Wouldn't that help to break the ice?
We were all crammed like sardines into a small classroom. Moms, dads, students, brothers, sisters, friends, teachers, and judges were sitting elbow to elbow. A tape recorder took up space on the front table. (Where did they find a tape recorder?) I looked to my left and saw a man peering over a filing cabinet. He didn't have a chair. People standing behind me didn't have chairs, either. One of the judges said he couldn't find anyone to get more.
The first announced rule: pictures were only to be taken during the practice round. I held up my camera to snap this picture of Noah. He was spelling the word solicit.
Noah spelled occasion, judicial, tariff, ingenious, and rampart. He spelled comrade. The word that ended his round was jocular.
Jocular is an adjective that means "fond of or characterized by joking; humorous or playful."
Noah earned third place. His friend Nathaniel and a student from the other junior high in town, Margaret, will advance in a few weeks to a regional spelling bee in Oelwein. They are deserving students.
One of the girls who had advanced to the state bee a year or two ago shook Margaret's hand and congratulated her. She said, "Good luck to you." It was a genuine demonstration of sportsmanship. Margaret's mom asked if this girl had any advice, and she said, "Yes, study. Study a lot."
Another parent and I talked a bit about the spelling bee. She and I agreed it was luck of the draw. Sometimes students got an easier word, and sometimes the word was tricky. She said, "Well, you can't win every time, and that's a good lesson." I couldn't agree more.
The media took pictures of the students as they received trophies and ribbons.
He said, "Thanks. Hey, I think the Super Bowl commercials are going to be pretty good this year."
I bet some of those commercials will be jocular, I thought, but I didn't want to say it. I love the funny ones, if they truly are funny. Noah does, too.
"Do you know what time the game starts Sunday?" I asked.
"I don't," he answered, as we trudged through the snow and climbed into our car.
An article about the spelling bee appeared in our local Sunday newspaper. The link: