Spelling bee looks for a savior

What have you got against spelling, Twin Cities?

In an op-ed commentary in the Star Tribune today, spelling bee coordinator Kelly Maynard notes that no sponsor has emerged to sponsor school kids in the regional portion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The majority of other areas of the state are covered by sponsors in Rochester, Mankato, Fergus Falls and Staples, according to Maynard. But the Twin Cities comes up empty.

We’ve been in this position before. Last year, when the absence of a sponsor was publicized in January, Minnesota Public Radio swooped in and graciously saved the day. Unfortunately, MPR is unable to do so again this year. Back in 2004, the Star Tribune stepped in and ended up sponsoring the bee for four years. The newspaper department that oversaw the project no longer exists. In the intervening years, the Minneapolis law firm Lockridge Grindal Nauen served as sponsor for five bees and Augsburg College for three.

Nashville took another approach: Last year, the NFL’s Tennessee Titans stepped in as sponsor for middle Tennessee, becoming the first professional sports team to sponsor a regional bee. It wasn’t a big leap for an organization that runs on competition, and the team extended its sponsorship for this year, too.

All these sponsors are among the heroes that, historically, have scrambled and hustled — often at the 11th hour — to keep local spelling competitions alive. But what this region needs is a consistent, dedicated sponsorship for the long term.

Maynard points out the obvious disconnect in sponsorship priorities. Sports is in, spelling not so much. And the deep-pockets of local sports teams owners stay on the sidelines.

A metropolitan area with six professional sports teams — and a billion-dollar stadium in downtown Minneapolis — should be able to scrape together a few grand once a year for a well-established, much-loved and much-publicized competition of the academic kind.

The cost of sponsorship is about $5,000, according to Maynard.

  • Anna

    It’s called “spell check.” 🙁

    • That doesn’t always work well.

      • Anna

        I definitely agree with you Onan.

        One look at the headlines online reveals it nicely as well as the missed words that are pronounced the same but have different spellings i.e. hear/here, shear/sheer, there/their, etc. not to mention the syntax errors with words like read.

        If I see too many of these errors, I stop reading the article. It makes me wonder if the person didn’t cut and paste the article from another source then didn’t bother to do spell check or grammar check.

        There’s a cure for spelling and grammar errors. It’s called proofreading. You can also do it the old fashioned way called a dictionary or if you’re really old like me, you can use a Harbrace College Handbook.

  • Jack

    Maybe they need to go the “Go Fund Me” route.

    • MikeB

      I see that a lot for health care expenses. Perhaps soon to be a huuuuge growth market for Go Fund Me

  • We are in a “post-education” world.

  • Zachary

    Us poor spellers should untie behind this cause.

    • Rob

      Us should.

      • jon

        Wee sir tinley showed.

      • Jerry

        I’m sorry, you are looking for Those That Talk Bad Grammar. This is Bad Spellars Untied.

        • tboom

          I is bath.

  • Mike Worcester

    //The cost of sponsorship is about $5,000, according to Maynard.

    I presume that is per-year? That;s pocket change when you consider the cost of sponsorship of other events in the community. (Check out the per/person(!) costs of a sponsored tent at the recent Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.)

  • crystals

    The Vikings could use some good PR. Why in the world WOULDN’T they do this, especially for $5,000? Zygi, make it happen.

    • RBHolb

      Good one.

      The Vikings are not going to do it unless their players can be on camera for the TV news, showing us how important they think it is to “give back.” Can you imagine how that would go at a spelling competition?

      • crystals

        I’d rather have Teddy Bridgewater present at the spelling bee than have there be no spelling be at all.

        • RBHolb

          Same here, but I wonder if Teddy would feel the same way?

  • Jack Ungerleider

    We have a lot of well paid athletes in this town as well. There is a local “kid”, who plays for a local team and is due $23 million this year. That comes out to almost $142,000 per game for 162 games. Which in turn reduces to just under $7900 per half inning.

    So Joe, if you’re reading this can you spare your pay for the top of the 3rd inning of the Wednesday April 5 game against the Royals to help out the spelling bee?

    Thanks, the kids will appreciate it.

  • DavidG

    How about a GoFundMe campaign?