Spelling Sisters

What Women Really Think
May 29 2009 11:01 AM

Spelling Sisters

Last night's 10-round National Spelling Bee final was a nail-biter, and an awesome one at that. There were redonkulously hard, beautifully arcane words ( schizaffin , palatschinken , Neufchâtel ). There was heartbreak (heavily-favored Sidharth Chand, last year's runner-up, crumpled before our eyes in the second round, when he realized he spelled apodyterium with an ei ). There were class clowns (Kennyi Aouad, a three-timer who famously got the giggles in 2007; not to mention the deadpan ninja Kyle Mou). There was even-awkwardly-former Olympian Shawn Johnson, who just won on Dancing with the Stars , and is apparently qualified to comment on all kinds of childhood competition.

The most compelling story of the night, though, took hold in the final rounds, when it was down to just three competitors, and we learned that two of them-Aishwarya Pastapur and Kavya Shivashankar-have been friends since nursery school. Aishwarya was easily one of the most composed, adult-like kids up there (hello, future Senator!), but when she misspelled menhir , she welled up and scurried off the stage. With her mother's arms wrapped around her, she watched her old friend carry away the trophy with Laodicean.

I was watching over the phone with my best friend-the one I mentioned in yesterday's post , the one I met at a spelling bee-and we both got choked up, for both girls. Now there's a follow-up story I'd like to read, once the dust settles a bit. Hey girls! My friend and I are still tight 17 years later; I have faith in you two.

(Unrelated side note: menhir ? Doesn't anyone read Asterix comics anymore?)



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Catacombs Where You Can Stroll Down Hallways Lined With Corpses

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Trending News Channel
Oct. 1 2014 1:25 PM Japanese Cheerleader Robots Balance and Roll Around on Balls
  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 4:15 PM The Trials of White Boy Rick A Detroit crime legend, the FBI, and the ugliness of the war on drugs.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 3:02 PM The Best Show of the Summer Is Getting a Second Season
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?