TBT! A Spell Checkmate: What’s Your Kabaragoya?

The annual child abuse festival  Scripps Spelling Bee has it’s championship today. Some pre-teen kid with a facial tic and an ulcer will be crowned Biggest Nerd in the Land for mastering a skill that technology has rendered obsolete.

(05/31/14) See what I did there with the title? That was clever right? For the first time in 52 years the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie. Before I go any further in mocking the spelling bee I would like to pay homage to a contestant  who didn’t win. If you haven’t seen this, click the video. It’s only 44 seconds and it’s really funny.(just make sure to click “Skip ad” in the bottom right to save 40 seconds) This kid is especially funny because if I was in the spelling bee that would have been me, sans the glasses and bad hair.

Kabaragoya? That’s what’s wrong with the spelling bee. There has never been, in the history of planet Earth a practical reason for anyone to use the word kabaragoya in any context. The fact that I’ve used it twice in this paragraph is already a new world record. Here’s your chance to win something. I’m trusting that you’ll be honest. The first commenter to tell me what the word kabaragoya means, without looking it up, wins a free copy of one of my books. All three are in e-book format and the two novels are also in paperback.


It’s a good thing the contest ended in a tie. I doubt that any single spelling bee contestant has the muscle mass required to lift that trophy by themselves. It ended in a tie? Apparently after the competition was whittled down to two, the contestants both spelled twelve words correctly before it was declared a tie. Really? Twelve words? Are you telling me there wasn’t an adult somewhere in that room that couldn’t have cracked open a dictionary and pulled out a few more words?  How about if you asked the contestants to spell the word “girlfriend” or “social life.” I’m pretty sure those are terms they’re not familiar with. Did they have to declare it a tie because the competition is so physically grueling that the contestants couldn’t go on? Were they worried that the audience was in danger of literally dying of boredom?

When I’m elected President, or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m going to pass a law mandating that if the spelling bee is down to two contestants and they’ve both spelled two words correctly the tie will be broken by a physical competition. The first contestant to successfully demonstrate any actual dance move wins. Moonwalk, Gangam Style, Harlem shake, anything close wins.

Now I know that you may be thinking that I’m just a mean jerk for mocking these kids. I may be, or perhaps it’s just green eyed envy. I was almost one of them. Almost… That’s right, as a 13 year old I was my school’s alternate to go to the county spelling bee championships. Had I gone and won, it would have sent me to the state championship and then the National Spelling Bee. We took a written test that we never got back, so I don’t even know what my kabaragoya was. It will haunt me forever. One more correctly spelled word, or a convenient “accident” to my in school competitor and fame and fortune could have been mine. Instead I’ve just got this blog, so please leave a comment to help me overcome the demons of a spelling bee past that has scarred me lo these many years.

As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please share by Facebook, Twitter, or re-blog. Have a great weekend! ~Phil

10 responses to “TBT! A Spell Checkmate: What’s Your Kabaragoya?

  1. A spelling bee past is nothing to laugh at.
    You truly are an inspiration *wipes tear*
    Anyway I don’t know what Kabaragoya means… so I’m off to look it up.
    Hopefully its something I can use in a sentence casually so I can sound smart and sophisticated.
    Like “I was on my way to dinner with Drake when I realised that I forgot the Kabaragoya”
    Or the simpler “I don’t have the time for this sort of Kabaragoya”

  2. TBT LOL. Enjoyed it.

  3. So, I had to go and look it up, and now I know. By the way, one of the sites asked “What made you look up this word”. Is it OK if I dob you in?

  4. Here’s the site were you have now gone viral: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kabaragoya

  5. Oops. “where” you have gone whatever …

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