The finalists are poised on the edge of an emotional snickersnee as the great schottische of the finals of the 87th National Spelling Bee will reach its crescendo Thursday night.
The effervescent gestalt will be broadcast Thursday night on
If those two sentences doesn't make sense to you, don't worry. You don't have to know what the words mean to play along at home -- just how to spell them correctly, as can many of the real contestants.
More than 86% of the 281 original players were between 12 and 14 years old, according to the spelling bee, which is administered by E. W. Scripps Co. Others were as young as 8.
It is a multi-talented field that is about 51% female. Math is most frequently cited as a favorite subject. In this year's field, 138 said they speak more than one language.
A sporting event based on spelling may seem like an anachronism in this, the electron-fueled 21st century. But there are advantages.