Sunday, April 29, 2012

WR Juron Criner Is A Raider - Let Us Give Thanks


Talk about a Wild Cat!


He's the 2012 Draft version of Raiders receiver Denarius Moore.  Juron Criner, out of Arizona, comes as a 5th round pick and I predict he and QB Carson Palmer could have a Manning to Wayne type relationship. This young man has a pair of hands that simply snatch out of the air anything within his hawkeye radar. He has incredible body adjustment to passes in flight and looks like a hungry receiver who's gonna fight for the ball.


Not only has JC been blessed with a pair of snatching hands, but he also comes with that wonderful bonus ability of running well after the catch.  He's a football player with unteachable football skills and instincts.  Maybe my receiver days from years of old have me singing the praises of JC, he plays with that ole skool receiver attitude of doing whatever it takes to sustain a drive.  No Prima Dona here folks, just a receiver who lets his play on the field do the talking for him.  


Look out NFL defenses, the Oakland Raiders have added a gem of a receiver and if you're not careful it's shine and sparkle will make you Pay!


"There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high-powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."



slider univ_arizona_logoFormer Arizona Wildcat wide receiver Juron Criner is in a great position to make things happen for himself during the NFL Scouting Combine this week.
He and his former quarterback, Nick Foles, made some sweet music together in Tucson, Ariz., during their time there, but it's time for them to do it all again in the grandest stage of football there is.
There's no question about Criner's athletic ability, his desire and soft hands, which allow him to catch almost anything thrown his way. 
He's shown time and time again that he can run a precise route, and get in proper position to make the catches, but scouts aren't in love with his initial burst of speed off the line of scrimmage..
Criner had a very solid showing at the Senior Bowl, which made his stock rise. Right now, he's falling in the second to third-round range, but a solid 40-yard dash time could boost him even higher. 
I'm sure NFL personnel have already done their homework on Criner, as far as his off the field issues and his health is concerned.
Depending on what they find out from their "research," and what Criner displays here in Indianapolis, he could have a very bright future in the NFL. 


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Raiders Pick Big O-Lineman

Raiders get a big, boisterous, mohawk sporting offensive lineman in the 3rd round of the draft.  Tony Bergstrom, a former Utah Utes offensive line specialist, was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the 95th pick.  Bergstrom appears to be a solid lineman very comfortable with zone blocking schemes.   


The one question I'm looking to have answered is what the hell are those things he's wearing on his legs? Knee Braces? Oh Boy! Think maybe  "Tough Tony" has something to prove in the NFL? He has his work cut out for him just proving to Raider Nation that those logs he calls legs can withstand the pounding of professional football.  Welcome to the Raiders TTB.


TONY BERGSTROM
Guard/Tackle
University of Utah
6-5, 315
Salt Lake City, Utah

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Korean Hip Hop - Let It Rain

Who knew! Korea's Got Beats and Ballistics.



Best Korean Rap Songs

NFL Draft Clock

It's 5 o'clock pacific standard time and the NFL 2012 Draft clock has just begun to tick. If you're a Raiders fan you should feel calm, cool and collected.


There goes Stanford QB Andre Luck chosen by the Indianapolis Colts as the #1 pick.


As I was saying, the Raiders family is sitting pretty watching the other teams sweat it out wheeling and dealing to get their man.  There will be big money spent today, but I don't think the Raiders organization will open their wallet to get a first round pick.  If GM Reggie McKenzie is as good as advertised, we'll keep our dollars and pickup a diamond in the rough later in the draft.


So Raider Nation, sit back and watch the hyenas glare and drool over the fresh raw meat being displayed for their viewing pleasure on the draft board.  Remember, we got seasoned steaks already sizzling on the grill in Oaktown.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Nascar, Football or Boxing?





Today I overheard a guy being interviewed who recently wrote a book about NASCAR.  He was making a strong case for professional racing car drivers being well conditioned athletes.  He said their bodies have to be in shape to withstand the force of the high speed turns and the endurance of many laps.  He also said the focus of having to hold onto a steering wheel for that length of time at that speed takes incredible focus.


He went on to compare a racing car driver to a quarterback driving his team down the field for a touchdown. By then I'd just about had enough but when he finally gave credit to the car, saying "yeah the condition of the car is important, you wouldn't bring a donkey to a horse race," it hit me.  Those involved in NASCAR see the car as more than just a machine.  They believe that driver and car become one during a race and the outcome depends as much on the driver as it does on the car. I suppose you'd have to be a fan of racing car events to decipher that piece of NASCAR wisdom, but I do understand it's not remote control racing and that there's a very human element involved.

To me the vehicle does 85/% of the work while the driver and pit crew split the remaining 15%.  But what do I know?  I've never been to a race, though I'd like to someday.  I've been to many football games and I've never seen a quarterback go to a sideline for new parts so that he can return and finish the game. He might get a numbing shot but that part he numbed is now practically inoperable, unlike a new set of tires that might make the car run better and faster. Gotta give Nascar drivers their due though. They're courageous.




But no sport compares with Boxing.  I've been to one professional night of boxing matches and I challenge anyone to name me a sporting activity that demands more out of a man or woman.  You want focus, try keeping focus while punches are raining down on your face and body.  Endurance? Try standing up to those punches when your legs feel like rubber and your arms as if they're about to fall off.


There are no replacement parts, no backups, no substitutes and no overtimes in boxing.  Two men enter a boxing ring and the one with the better skill, power or speed that evening is favored to win the fight.  But mind you, favored doesn't mean that at any time one lucky punch from the underdog can't score an upset win. Favored is for the oddsmakers, because in boxing the one measure of a man that is unmeasurable is his heart.  


Sure, all athletes have the heart to compete, and racing car drivers have the courage or foolishness of risking their lives to flaming accidents, but a boxer is the only one that does it all by his lonesome, relying simply on his wit and primitive survival instincts.  There's no ball, no racket, no wimpy golf club and no 750 horse power engine under the hood with a crew on standby for servicing.  Just blood, sweat and guts with a screaming tongue-tied trainer outside the ring who's instructions at the time are about as good as having a seeing eye dog in the ring. Oh, and there's a cut-man in the boxers corner with tools that a racing car crew would simply laugh at; get this: 


Vaseline, an endswell and chemicals to clot the bleeding.  Oh there will be blood alright, it's boxing.  (cut-man kit)


So if anyone ever asks you what sport or competition you would participate in for $1,000.00, choose anything but the sweet science of boxing.  Anything, even a spelling bee!  Because when you step into that ring it's no longer a game or a competition, it's brutal truth and a physical battle to survive. Pray you choose wisely.


Nobody Plays Boxing!



Mayweather vs Cotto

Friday, April 20, 2012

Oakland Raiders 2012 Season Schedule

oooOkay Raiders fans, look into that silver & black crystal ball and tell me what you see.  I see three truly challenging games on the schedule; Steelers, Saints & Ravens, the rest we should beat.  Well, nobody said crystal balls are an exact science.  
-Just Win Baby!

  • 5
    Bye




Barry Zito's Early Musical Roots




San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito could've been the kid idolizing James Brown's superbad steps in this video. With the return of Zito's once dominating pitching comes all sorts of interesting facts about the man.  


Who knew that Zito could rhythm and blues with the best of them?  Think maybe he's rediscovered his baseball groove too? He starts today's Giants game in New York against the Mets.  


WATCHME! WATCHME! I GOT IT, HEY!



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49ers Stadium Developments Repost

As the San Francisco 49ers break ground on their proposed new stadium in Santa Clara,Ca., we look back to an incident that may have been the turning point in negotiations.  And to think the Raider Nation is rumored to be tainted with a criminal element.


Raiderlegend August 15, 2010



After blowing out the defending AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts 37-17 in today's exhibition game, the San Francisco 49ers were feeling their oats and wanted to send a strong message to all opposition.

They began immediately after the game by sending their red and gold clad negotiator, along with some tough looking advisers, down to a Santa Clara establishment who's reported to be holding up new stadium contracts with the city and county of Santa Clara.

A Raider Nation News correspondent happened to be dining at the establishment when the 49ers representative, sporting a gold-digger vest and red elmer fudd-like fedora, burst in and threatened the owner. Our courageous correspondent's pride and poise outweighed his fears of the 49ers hit squad as he was able to discreetly videotape the absurd demand accompanied by threats of a destructive return by nightfall.
Here we have a clip of the incident as taped earlier, with follow-up coverage later as this story develops:


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pat Summit, We Salute You!

Women's Basketball would not be what it is today without coach Pat Summit.  This woman just might be the greatest coach ever, period.  Coach Summit is stepping down from coaching after many, many years of success.  She played the game and won an olympic silver medal in 1976.  She coached the U.S. national team to a gold medal in 1984.  


I cannot name a tougher coach than Pat Summitt.  Tough coaches aren't the ones who only know how to yell loud and scream their way to victory.  A tough coach inspires players to be rock solid in their mental discipline and physical execution.  A tough coach gains the respect of players not by instilling fear, but by touching that place inside an individual that even she/he was unable to reach and exploit.  Players realize when they've been coached by a great coach.  They can taste it and smell it.


Pat Summit and her Lady Vols have been playing with the smell of success for a very long time. The sports world must bow to a grand lady and great mentor as she steps away from the game she's helped define.  There may never be another Pat Summitt, but she most definitely blazed a trail for others to follow.  At the moment I can't think of any woman who led with such command and courage.  I'd vote her President of the United States over any would be female candidate, and half the male candidates.


If you love competition and toughness, you loved watching Pat Summitt lead her team like a commander-in-chief.  She truly brought passion and perfection to our sports lives. Thanks Pat.



Pat Summitt, a Legend Retires!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Right Place, Right Time for Giordano

#27 Matt Giordano (Raiders Safety Net)


The Oakland Raiders are making a smart move by re-signing safety Matt Giordano.  Giordano led the team in interceptions last season (5) and just seemed to be in the right place more times than not.  He has blazing speed, so when he gets his paws on an interception or fumble he makes the opponent pay for their mistake.  His timing and speed makes him dangerous in the defensive backfield, and he loves to hit, making 66 tackles for the silver and black in 2011.


Last season I watched Giordano make some very smart plays on defense, reading and reacting quickly. Safeties especially, need the smarts and instincts not to be fooled by a quarterback or the play could go for six points.  They're usually the last line of defense.  If they screw up on coverage it can make a cornerback look bad.  Hell, it makes the whole damn team look bad.  So not only do safeties have to know their responsibilities, they have to know when and where to pick up the defensive slack.


Here's the bonus with Matt G; he played his first four seasons with Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts.  He lined up in practice against Peyton.  He won't be intimidated by Peyton in a Broncos uniform this season, and he can hopefully share some tips on how best to cover against Manning.


#27 Matt Giordano folks, keep an eye out for this 27-year old bright spot in the Raiders defense.  Could we possibly see him on offense or kick returns?  He's got the speed and the hands.  Most of all, he's got the heart. He's a gifted football player doing extraordinary things with the skills he brings.


We See U Matt.  We See U!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jackie Robinson Day 2012



On a date usually associated with Income Tax (evasion) and post offices, April 15, 2012 turned back the clock to a very important event in sports and the United States. 


Major League Baseball celebrated it's fourth annual Jackie Robinson Day today. After years of following a gentleman's agreement amongst themselves, white major league baseball owners reluctantly allowed a handful of Black baseball players to compete against their boys.  In 1947 the following former colored league baseball players debuted for major league teams:


Willard Brown - St. Louis Browns


Hank Thompson - St. Louis Browns


Larry Doby - Cleveland Indians


Jackie Robinson - Brooklyn Dodgers


Of the four, it would be Jackie Robinson who'd become the poster boy for league integration.  Following in the footsteps of baseball, in 1948 the President of the United States issued executive order 9981 desegregating the military.  Though blacks had fought in all the wars of America, they had served separately under  unequal conditions.  President Truman's order didn't bring immediate equality to the military, but it paved the way toward its future and set an example for American civilian society.


In baseball, a black man by the name of Bud Fowler is said to be the first black professional baseball player.  His first game being in 1878 and his last professional game in 1888.  Not only did Fowler play but he managed a number of teams.  he's also credited with inventing the first shin guards.


Getting back to Jackie Robinson, the man suffered those first years in the majors not because of his style of play or lack of baseball smarts, but because of his color.  Yet, through it all he endured to become one of the major league greats.  The league and country are a better place for it.  


So today's acknowledgement and celebration of the man Jackie Robinson is as important a celebratory day as any. For here in this country, where a darker skin color has somehow always played a part in the equality of individuals, Jackie Robinson reminds us that the content of one's character and individual skills he/she brings to the table is all anyone should ever be judged on.  We're still learning that lesson.


Thanks #42 for your courageous contribution to humanity.


Raiderlegend: 19th Century Pioneer

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review - Mental Illness


The Snake Pit
By Mary Jane Ward
1946

Carnival of Lost Souls

Going down into the Snake Pit with Virginia Cunningham, an amateur novelist with plenty imagination, is an exercise in being trapped.  The events that take place and the people encountered drive Virginia sideways, backwards and diagonal before allowing her any forward progress.  The writing gives the feel of participation, as if you the reader are a patient inside the mental institution with Virginia.  You experience her feelings of agitation, vulnerableness and instability.  Snake Pit is not a feel good book as the voices both real and imagined get into your head.

The Snake Pit is an exercise in finding one's way out of a dark place full of nightmarish treatments and untrustworthy fellow passengers. The fear, uncertainty and longing to get out and return home to normalcy with a loving spouse, away from the institution's carnival of lost souls, starts to become a distant, hopeless fantasy. V. Cunningham, the patient, holds the key to not only her release but yours.  

The closer she gets to unlocking the door, the more fearful she becomes of pleasing her husband and the world outside.  Meanwhile, you the reader are ready to leave immediately upon arrival.  Like I said, not a feel good story, but one that's very unique in its telling and hard to stay away from. Because of the difficulty and confusion in reading the early parts where Virginia is not sure where or who she is, it takes extra effort on the reader's part to stick with her through the disoriented episodes.

After reading Snake Pit I agree with this statement in the book:

You wanted to get well.  You never had a conscious moment in which you were not aware of being sick.  You could no more, while conscious, forget your sickness than you could forget to breathe.  Asked your greatest wish in life you would have replied at once - sanity.  While people in the outside world longed to be millionaires, movie actors, club presidents and even novelists, nowhere, but nowhere save in a madhouse, did mental health get its share of prayers.

"Long ago they lowered insane persons into snake pits;
they thought that an experience that might drive a
 sane person out of his wits might send an insane
person back into sanity."


The 1948 film by the same name led to changes in conditions in mental institutions in the United States.  Excellent Movie featuring Olivia de Havilland, Celeste Holm, Leif Erickson.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Opening Day Cain 1-Hitter

The San Francisco Giants season home opener took place today. It was a sunny, blustery day that was welcomed by fans after last night's lightening striking thunder storms attacked the bay area with a vengeance.


The Giants came home after a 3-4 road swing that began 0-3.  Pitching has been very sketchy, with ace starter Tim Lincecum having two very unFreak-like outings.  Who woulda thunk that big money Barry Zito would pull the team out of their starting slump by winning the first game of the season in Colorado.  


Today's opening day pitcher was workhouse Matt Cain, who blew a six run lead in his first game of the season, something that just never happens to Cain.  In today's game he was back to being himself and some might say even better.  


Matt Freakin Cain, 9 innings 2 hits  11 strike outs 0 runs


Yeah, that's what I asked; who was the noodle who gave up the hit?


Oh well, It's a long season and just seeing Cain back to solid, shutdown form is enough to celebrate.  After the start the Giants had this season, Cain's 1-Hitter eases my concerns about the pitching staff and reassures me that this season can be another magical season.  Besides folks, it's just too dang early to stop believin Championship.  Where the heck is Ashkon?


A very special visit by Tyler Stowe, son of loyal fan Bryan Stowe, who threw out the first pitch. Bryan couldn't make it to the game, but appeared with his mom on the big screen at AT&T Park to do a virtual handoff of the first pitch ball to his son Tyler.  Tyler's pitch was a bit high but had better zip than a Zito fastball.  Great Job Giants!
Final Score
Pirates 0
Giants 5

note: SF Giants 1962 World Series team was introduced and escorted to the mound being given gift watches.



Thursday, April 12, 2012

Sharks Win Game 1 in 2OT

I simply couldn't watch.  Checking into the game for what seemed like marathon hours, I was rewarded with a Sharks double-overtime victory.  


The Sharks took a good bite out of the St. Louis Blues at Joe Louis arena.  Keep chompin until you hit bone boys, then crunch down and gobble up their remains.


In the infamous words of former KNBR host Ralph "The Razor" Barbieri; Go Sharksz!




Final Score
Sharks 3
Blues 2

We Interrupt This Sports Blog: Media Matters

Better late than never, I listened to a radio talk show last night that covered a certain television news network's angle of doing business.  We've heard of the bias in how some networks report their news information, but to hear it broken down to expose it's targets and methods here in America should make the average working class American tremble with national security concerns. 


The biggest, and dare I say scariest, question one comes away with is has our government been corporately compromised and if so what percentage?  When Benedict Arnold felt he was being passed over in favor of politically motivated promotions by the Continental Congress, he began spying and plotting against the young American republic until the exposed plot led to his joining the British enemy with a brigadier general's commission.  Since 1780 this has been the standard by which we Americans judge a traitor.


If today there is anyone inside and/or outside our government who is against, not in disagreement with, but against the leadership of America, I beg you not to take up the methods of a bitter Benedict Arnold by compromising the freedoms of it's citizens.  I urge those who have no goodwill to our current government to abandon any thoughts and/or plots against us and leave our shores in peace.  


Our first amendment gives us freedom of speech as well as the press, but should traitorous actions and strategic plotting to undermine our American constitution and democracy be exposed, I say those involved in such a plot not be treated like Benedict Arnold's British accomplice, Major John Andre,  but incarcerated for life and be made available for public viewing for citizens to see and a warning to traitorous minded politicians and/or businessmen.


America might be a nation of wealth and leadership in the world today, but it only takes one man full of bitter greed and desirous ideas to change it's course in history and mislead it down what just could be a dark and dangerous path.  


God Bless America!

Tune in to Media Matters


Aaron Burr Acquitted Sep. 1, 1807

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

San Jose Sharks Rd 1 Playoffs


LIVE ON TSN, CNBC, RDSI, CSN-CA(HD) Radio: KFOX


Thu

04/12/2012
4:30 PM

Here we go again! Our Bay Area Sharks are ready to prowl the NHL playoff waters looking to gobble up every opponent standing in the way toward their first NHL championship.  We all know the story, six year playoff run, twelve playoff appearances in fourteen seasons, struggling to reach these 2012 playoffs.  They come in at a number seven seed and will face the number two seeded St. Louis Blues

The seven game series begins Thursday and Sharks fans can't wait to support their team in what will hopefully be an unprecedented season final.  So get out your teal, black and white gear and get ready to go to the depths and cheer home a Shark Tank Title.  The difference this season is that the Sharks had to play playoff caliber hockey to squeeze into the playoffs.  They're battle tested and bait hungry.  They want a Stanley Cup now! We want a championship yesterday! Come'on Sharks, bring it home!


State of the Raiders

Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com reports on the state of the Raiders franchise to date.  The "around the league" review is a great way to keep up with off season adds, moves and changes.  


New GM Reggie McKenzie is definitely making his presence felt by turning the team focus away from traditional speedy player acquisitions and looking for straight up athletic football players.


George Zimmerman In Custody



In our sleep,

pain which cannot forget falls
drop by drop upon the heart until
in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

I haven't reported on the sad and painful Trayvon Martin case and was holding back until further evidence of the fatal incident surfaced.  Well, there's no new evidence, but there was an arrest made today. That arrest, along with further investigation on my part, forced this blog post.


A young man of seventeen on a cell phone, wearing a hoodie, returning from buying skittles and a soda is shot and killed by a twenty-eight year old man on neighborhood watch.  The older man has been sanctioned by the state of Florida to "stand his ground" with use of deadly force.  The younger man was not armed.


High ranking police officials appear on the scene before the older man is taken into custody then released.  The story the older man gave investigating police is one of being attacked by the younger man, forcing him to use deadly force to defend himself. 


The police claim to have questioned witnesses who's stories support that of the older man defending himself. The police have yet to question the younger man's girlfriend who was on the phone with him at the time of the incident and claims to have heard what could be crucial evidence.  Phone records support the girlfriend's phone call claim.  


Video showing the police station arrival of the older man getting out of the patrol car handcuffed, shows no visual evidence of him being beaten in the face with his head being smashed into the ground repeatedly, as he claimed in his statement to police. The video shows a leaner, more athletically built older man than pictures of him shown via news coverage. Current photos of the younger man are also very limited and the one the media chose to show looks like that of a 13 or 14 year old adolescent instead of a teenager. Why such discrepancies?


The medical examiner as well as the funeral parlor mortician saw no evidence of a physical struggle on the body of the younger man.


Because the younger man is African-American and the older man is Caucasian, the question of how much did race play a part in this tragic event cannot be ignored.  It's actually become the driving force behind the story, unfortunately. President Barack Obama commented that the victim could have been his son if he had one.


We in the SF Bay area saw a young black man shot and killed by an older white transit security man in front of loads of eye witnesses. There was video of the shooting and eventually an arrest and prosecution, but it was not a cut and dry case and many still believe that justice was not served. 


Lawrence O'donnell on "The Last Word" raises this very telling question when interviewing Eugene O'donnell from John Jay College of Criminal Justice: 


"If you're listening to someone tell you a story as an investigator,  what does that person (the older man) need to be able to tell you about how he escaped from that complete physical control the other person (the younger man) is exerting over him, and got to a gun that's in a holster underneath the body of the other person (the younger man), who's obviously sitting on that gun, what does he have to tell you to convince you that he turned the tables in that situation and then shoot that person dead?"


Sad to say that the Criminal Justice expert from JJ could only say that "that's what's at the heart of the investigation, finding out if it's a believable, plausible story." I only wish that the interviewer had followed up with the question of whether or not it be wise to not hold a man in custody until his "extraordinary" story of killing in self defense can be fully believed and plausible.


It seems that the investigation, or lack thereof, has been as questionable as the self defense claim. Today George Zimmerman has been arrested and is being charged with second degree murder. The family of Trayvon Martin are relieved to hear of the arrest, but still have so many unanswered questions.  Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, said this:



"The question I would really like to ask him is, if he could look into Trayvon's eyes and see how innocent he was, would he have then pulled the trigger? Or would he have just let him go on home?" 


As a parent Mr. Martin, I feel your pain and understand your cry for answers. My prayers to you and your family. 


To pray means to open your hands before God.  It means slowly relaxing the tension which squeezes your hands together and accepting your existence with an increasing readiness, not as a possession to defend, but as a gift to receive.  Above all, therefore, prayer is a way of life which allows you to find a stillness in the midst of the world where you open your hands to God’s promises, and find hope for yourself, your fellow congregation members, and the whole community in which you live.
— Henri J.M. Nouwen




The Killing
The Questionable Self Defense Claim
The Hoodie & Racial Profiling
Justifiable Homicide & Gun Laws
The Political Atmosphere & Police Investigation
The Media Slant
The Video Evidence
The Long Awaited Arrest

SCRIPPS Spelling Bee May 27

Just a friendly reminder for those fans of the historic National Spelling Bee tournament hosted by the E.W. Scripps Company, the 2012 competition week is May 27 - June 1. Again the tournament will be broadcast Live on ESPN.


If you've never witnessed the tension and pressure of this spelling bee event, then I urge you to tune in to experience a competition like no other.  The combatants are 14 years old or younger, the playing field is a stage with a microphone and the only defensive struggles one might face is in his or her own mind.  It's part word memorization and part spelling skill while under the emotional duress of that all knowing fear that every competitive soul must acquaint themselves with; failure. 


We've seen what the pressure of failure can do to competitors of college age and above, imagine an adolescent making it to the national spelling bee finals and then being given a word to spell like......."cymotrichous?" The heartbreak and agony of failure looms as large as the thrill of victory ahead. Mind you, these are pre-teen adolescents performing on a national stage. It's brutal to watch folks.  The thrill of victory and agony of defeat has never been put on stage and displayed to viewers with such complete innocence.  


All competitions have losers and winners, but it's the young age of these competitors that forces viewers to root for and applaud all participants. If nothing else, it takes self-confidence and courage to stand up in front of a national audience and problem solve in just two minutes and thirty seconds or less. Who but a Philadelphia fan would root for a kid to lose?  I know, that's hitting below the belt, but they've earned it.


Last year I watched Sukanya Roy, of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., pull out a victory when she spelled "cymotrichous" correctly, a word not listed in my spell check. Sukanya had the pressure of getting close to the championship in previous years, kinda like the San Jose Sharks.  In 2011 Sukanya persevered and won the darn thing and the spelling bee world was happy for her.  Former winners are not eligible to participate in future national spelling bee competitions.


Maybe you get a bit uneasy and choked up when watching kids compete. I still find it hard to watch young girls compete in olympic gymnastics events.  To watch young competitors forced to meet and shake hands with Mr. Failure at such a young age can bring tears to the eyes of an audience.  But competition is not for emotional wimps and whether it's chess, competitive eating or a spelling bee, the participants must come to the event mentally prepared to do battle with themselves. There's no crying in spelling bees!  Well alright, maybe just this once.


2011 National Spelling Bee Photo Gallery


Animated Film Jody Ann Maxwell by fifth-grader Alexis Brown

1925-2011 Champions and Winning Words
(competition cancelled 1943-45 during WWII)