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The agony of defeat at the bee

We didn’t want to give the trophy back. And it was almost an impossibility.

For the last year, the trophy proclaiming the Typographical Airers, a team of splendiferous spellers from the Suffolk News-Herald office, as the winners of the 2018 Suffolk Education Foundation Grown-Up Spelling Bee has sat proudly in our office.

The trophy sat beside a certain indoor plant noted for its prolific growth and, as luck would have it, the plant soon intertwined the trophy so that it was impossible to pick the trophy up off the desk.

OK, the plant might have had some human help toward that goal.

But alas, we still had to give the trophy back when it was asked for a few weeks ago. After we carefully freed the trophy from the grasp of the plant, we handed it back to the Suffolk Education Foundation, mildly confident in getting it back.

But it was not to be.

We sailed through the beginning rounds of the competition. Another team used a lifeline to sting us on the very first word, “accrual,” and we aced it.

We successfully spelled “cantankerous” and “scherzo.” We used a flyover lifeline to get past “drupelet.” We then sailed through “write,” “unicameral,” “ignominious” and “hyperbole.”

We were in the final rounds with the team from RRMM Architects, builder of many of Suffolk’s public schools and, apparently, great spellers of many words.

They stumbled on “glockenspiel,” but then we did too. It could have ended right then and there, had we gotten it right.

They got another word right, and then we scored on “nihilism.” They got another word right.

Then came our downfall.

“Vassalage,” apparently, has more than one S. Who would have thought?

But all joking aside, the important thing about the Grown-Up Spelling Bee is that it raises money for the Suffolk Education Foundation, which works to provide scholarships for graduating students, educational grants for teachers to provide more learning and enrichment opportunities and resources for their students, and more.

We hope next year that we get the chance to compete against more teams, in front of a larger crowd, and once again bring the trophy back to our office on South Saratoga Street.