Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Evil Side of Spelling Bees



Everyone has to cover a spelling bee now and then.

It's a photojournalist's nightmare in a lot of ways. Dim light, not much action and overly smart kids as far as the eye can see. The kind of kids who can make you question your own intelligence as an adult. Kids that seem to be perfect. Polite and soft, but well-spoken students who certainly spend hours reading the dictionary instead of running about, tracking mud in the house and acting foolish. Shirts tucked in, hair neatly parted to the side. Khakis pressed into smart straight lines. Penny loafers.

When they misspell a word, they simply smile and walk off stage.

As I make my way back and forth across the dead silent LSUS theater filled with English teachers, I swear they are judging my handwriting. I start to feel like I don't belong, but then I look up and there on the stage is a kid with whom I can relate. Number 11. Faded jeans, shirt untucked, devilish smile.... tennis shoes.

Number 11 proceeded to do the unthinkable. He made a spelling bee fun. As the numbers dwindled he held his head in his hands, breathed heavy, oozed with anticipation and finally in the final round Number 17 gave up the goods.... the ole jublilation/dejection shot. A sports photographers dream. Who would have thought it.

And although Number 11 lost in the end, he gave me a new appreciation for the sport of extreme spelling.

2 comments:

Anonymous 3/05/2007 10:41 PM  

Not sure how long you were there, but I see a lot of empty chairs in that photo, and it couldnt have been too exciting before #11 gave you that shot. Patience is definitely a virtue in photojournalism.

shanebevel 3/14/2007 12:11 PM  

I was there a good while, you can't really show up for the end of those things. If you do, you are likely to miss what you need. At that point I had been there probably an hour and a half.

Blog Archive

Contact The Times photo department by email

  © Blogger template 'The Pattern' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP