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in the hoosegow

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

stage mothers

Last night I watched the documentary Spellbound. It follows 8 children as they prepare for the 1999 National Spelling Bee. They're all very much supported by their parents and teachers, some to what I'd consider a normal degree, others to an extreme. One kid in particular had tutors in three languages as well as a normal spelling tutor. His grandfather agreed to feed 5000 people (in India) if the kid won the bee.

Some of the children seemed to be fairly normal, like the smart kids I went to school with, and others were freaky freaks, like they might be the ones to go crazy and blow people away because they were picked on so much, or get bound up in their hyper-intelligence and become unable to function in "normal" society.

Watching the bee itself was nerve-wracking for me. I wasn't rooting for any particular child but each time one of them came up my heart would beat a little faster and I'd be trying to spell along with them. It makes me wonder what I'd be like if I had a smart kid. Would I push him to compete? Would I let her choose her own activities or make her take piano lessons, ballet and gymnastics just because I never got to? (note: I did take violin & cello lessons and I played softball--I wasn't neglected or anything)


At 2:57 PM, Blogger keef said...

hee hee! I competed in the 1992 National Spelling Bee, and some of those kids were straight up weird. I saw Spellbound at the Angelika pretty soon after it was all over and it brought back all these weird memories. I remember the inital ice cream social at the Hilton, where I connected with like-minded kids, and just raising all kinds of ruckus. I wasn't the type to actually study; I just read a lot and had a knack for the spelling game.

Awesome movie. Were you a speller?

At 8:33 AM, Blogger ranger said...

Heck no. I'm no speler (haha). I was into other pursuits at that point, like orchestra and BOYS. I can totally see you there, though, Keef.


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