It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for for 4 long years: the second Barstool Spelling Bee. The chance to defend my crown and run through all the Barstool bloggers with my immaculate command of the English language honed in the hallowed halls of Emory University. The first one was a cakewalk, where I took home the trophy by dazzling everyone with my rapid fire, flawless spelling of “schizophrenic,” a word I spell in my sleep. An event that featured the biggest Nate highlight of his career – the infamous “this is a not a daiquiri” segment.
Well as I was doing my preparations reading through the Oxford dictionary to touch up on some of the tricky ones…I was told I am not allowed to participate. Too good. Classic participation trophy generation. They didn’t want me to hurt the other bloggers’ feelings for being dumb. Kind of sucks but whatever, I guess it’s an honor? Anyway, I’ll be your host for the afternoon. We’ve got almost every single person on the content team participating and I’ve got a killer list of 200 words ready to go (as well as their origins and etymology of course.)
We’ll be LIVE across all platforms at 4PM sharp which considering Pete is in charge maybe means 5, 5:30. But 4 PM is the plan.
With that in mind, here are the odds for who I think will take home the crown, who will embarrass themselves the worst, and some wild cards that could go either way.
THE TOP 5
Francis is without a doubt a better speller than me. He is the smartest guy in the office hands down. Not sure why he is allowed to participate. I recommended that maybe he co-host with me but was turned down. So unless I stump him with a word from my special Harvard subsection of words he will absolutely take this down fairly easily.
Also, if you needed any more of an assurance, he says that in the 4th grade, he was given the 6th grade spelling book because he was 2 grades smarter than everyone else. Classic Francis to tell me that.
RIGGS +100 Riggs also went to Harvard, which is a school in Boston that he’ll tell you about if you ask him. The Harvard degree instantly puts him as the second favorite, although I’m not so sure about how well he’ll actually perform here. He seemed like more of a hockey guy than a classroom guy at Harvard. He is incredibly smart, but I’m unsure how that will translate to the skill of spelling. Still, look for him to make some noise.
Riggs has informed me he will not be participating because he has a flight for another long weekend golf boondoggle. That takes away the only other person at the company that I thought could challenge Francis.
YP was an interesting option. I know he’s kind of a dummy a lot of the time, but he’ll show flashes of smartness every now and then. I figured I’d go over and give him a test word and see how he did. Started with mnemonic. He spelled it “pneumonic,” which is fine if we are talking about the lungs, but I pronounced mnemonic pretty clearly and did mention the definition. Whatever, tricky one. How about camouflage?
Alright, no YP.
ERIC SOLLENBERGER +250
When I said Francis was the smartest in the office hands down, it may actually be with one hand up, because Deadspin’s favorite Barstool employee Eric Sollenberger is legitimately a genius when it comes to some things. His ability to draw comparisons to current and obscure historical events is without equal, as is his ability to then take those analogies, dumb them down and spell them wrong in the funniest way possible when in character. When he’s not providing cover for Barstool he’s enlightening the people who sit around him with facts about the War of 1812 and Nazi Germany. The only downside I see here is that Eric Sollenberger recently died so will probably not be able to make it, and PFT Commenter is a whole different animal.
I don’t know why but Kate strikes me as a good speller. No not because she’s a woman. She just strikes me as very smart and well spoken. I think it’s mostly because she’s new here and hasn’t been around the office long enough for the dumbness of everyone around her to wear off on her. Let’s see if she can use that to her advantage.
Rone blogs so infrequently that I’m not sure how his spelling is, but I know he has a MASTERFUL command of the English language which he used to become the Battle Rap Champion of the World. His lightning quick brain is able to come up with disses and jokes and elaborate metaphors in the blink of an eye. Maybe it translates, maybe it doesn’t, but with competition as weak as this, he’s got a fighting chance.
The Bottom 6
For 15 years Dave has consistently said “spelling is the lowest form of intelligence,” a motto he adopted because he can’t spell. Not even remotely. Hey he managed to build an empire from a written blog without being able to spell words, which is maybe the most impressive accomplishment in the history of Al Gore’s internet.
Tex is not as dumb as people think he is or as he portrays himself on camera. Only problem is this will be on camera. Other problem is that Tex has sustained no less than 3 concussions since his first day here. Probably more. I’m not sure the brain is completely intact inside of that skull, and I’m definitely not sure spelling is at the top of his mental acuity.
Blockhead Smitty got that nickname for a reason, and it’s not just the literal shape of his head. Smitty publishes his own blogs completely independently, but I will never under any circumstances let him know any misspellings he made or correct any in his headlines. The reason people come to Barstool is for the personalities, and a Smitty blog without any typos is not a Smitty blog at all. It’s part of the brand and god damn does he embrace it. If you come to Barstool and read a Smitty blog with perfect grammar and every word spelled correctly, it was either ghostwritten or he had one of those head injuries where people wake up from their coma able to speak like 8 languages they’ve never heard before.
Not Zah’s fault, he’s a great guy. He’s written some funny shit too in his free time. He’s just not from America. His first language is Shona, the most widely spoken language of the native people of Zimbabwe, a language that forms a dialect continuum from the Kalahari desert in the west to the Indian Ocean in the east and the Limpopo river in the south and the Zambezi in the north.
His second language is chiKore-Kore, a language that doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.
His third language is chiManyika, spoken by the Manyika people in the eastern part of Zimbabwe and across the border in Mozambique. and containing tonal patterns represented by kuCV’CV’CV’X, kuÓCV’CV’CV’X, ku?XCá, (where X stands for a string of phonemes of any length.)
His fourth language is English.
This is an English spelling bee. Just doesn’t seem fair.
GAY PAT +1,500
No greater chunk of my day is spent anywhere at Barstool than it is proofreading Gay Pat’s blogs. The next time Gay Pat writes a blog draft that features less than 6 typos will be the first. Not even the headlines are safe. We’re talking a complete and utter disregard for the English language.
PFT COMMENTER +100,000
As discussed before, we should be seeing PFT Commenter show up for this competition in the stead of his late brother. And if PFT Commenter knows one thing, it’s how to spell things incorrectly. He’s got it down to an artform. The only thing he does better than misspell words is commit himself to his character and dedicate himself completely to his brand – a brand that would certainly take a hit if he started spelling words correctly in front of the bright lights and cameras. It’s about telling not spelling folks.
Glenny Balls doesn’t strike me as a Mensa candidate, no offense. But this morning he informed me he won his second grade spelling bee on the word “chocolate.” So he’s got past experience, and in competitions like this, experience is key.
Jared is a great writer and a sneaky smart guy. However it seems to be completely and solely focused around the sport of baseball, so if he gets some words that aren’t Red Sox related, I could see him struggling. That is until he told me that he lost his 5th grade spelling bee on the word “Abraham Lincoln.” That’s not even legal. That’s a proper noun. Abraham Lincoln is a name, of Abraham Lincoln. I was pissed hearing that so you can only imagine how pissed he is. And if I like to stake my money on a dark horse, it’s the guy with a massive chip on his shoulder.
I don’t know if this dude can spell but I know he’s autistic and I’ve seen Rain Man like 35 times so who knows.
Liz is very smart but, like most Mexicans, her first language is Spanish. Much like Za, she faces the obstacle of having to compete in something other than her native tongue. As a tolerant and progressive person and someone who always looks to give women a leg up around here because of the unfairness they encounter in every day life such as sexism, the wage gap, and pregnancy, I will see if we can bend the rules a little bit and incorporate some Spanish words. As an 8-year student of the language myself, this seems like a muy bueno idea.
The same thing was going to apply to Kayce (the leg up part, not the Spanish part. Kayce is super white.) Then she texted me to say she is “the worst speller. Definitely the worst in the office, by far.” Then she came over to say she once lost a spelling bee by misspelling “starlet” which I’m not sure which letter you even get wrong? Maybe an I instead of an E?
So it doesn’t look like there’s anything that even I can do.
Ria is an interesting late addition that came to my attention last night, when Fran and Ria texted me asking why didn’t you feature us. Well that was my mistake, because Ria is more than just a pretty face with a vast knowledge of Hollywood breakups. Turns out Maria was a finalist in her middle school’s spelling bee, where each class had a spelling bee, then the winners advanced to the real deal that included the entire school. And she didn’t just make the cut – she made it all the way until the end. That is until Mrs. [name redacted] gave Ria her word: “hallsale.” Now, 8th grade Ria was confused. Mainly, because hallsale is not a word. She asked her to repeat herself. She said “hallsale.” She asked her to use it in a sentence. She said “the store had a hallsale sale.” She asked one more time if she was literally saying the word “hallsale,” to which the teacher replied yes. So Ria proceeded to spell h-a-l-l-s-a-l-e and was instantly buzzed out of the bee. The word, of course, was “wholesale.” I asked Ria if she couldn’t figure that out from both the context clues of the sentence and the fact that “hallsale” is not actually a word. She said of course, but the woman said “hallsale” with such conviction that she had no choice but to believe it. I told her I put about 30% of the blame on her. But clearly this teacher and her trash accent had a grudge against Ria, and when a judge has a grudge against you, you’ve got no shot.
The good news for Ria is that she’s like my little sister and I want her to win so I’m going to do the opposite of what Mrs. Hallsale did and probably just blatantly cheat to help her out.
Fran wasn’t really interested in talking to me about this so whatever good luck with pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.
My guy KFC is a very bright guy with an MBA and, when he actually has time to blog, some of the best longform pieces ever to grace our website. He also couldn’t spell the word “missile” until 2 weeks ago and has to sound out the word “definitely” in his head in order to spell it correctly. He also has no idea how to use apostrophes so he just literally refuses to use them, which doesn’t apply to the spelling bee, but drives me fucking nuts.
See everyone tomorrow at 4 PM!