Bee proud

Congratulations, Olathe, Kansas. You're the home of the National Spelling Bee champion, Miss Kavya Shivashankar.

For years, Kates and I have watched and rooted for the young Kavya on the Spelling Bee stage. Each year she got smarter, studied harder, advanced farther. And this year all of it paid off.

When Kavya finally pulled it off, Kates and I shouted out a unison Yes! and clapped. Then, I got a little teary-eyed too (which should be no surprise to you considering I get teary-eyed at a sliver of emotion). I shouted "Olathe, Kansas, represent!" (I still can't believe I didn't wake Phoebe with my hoopla). And then I went on to Facebook and exchanged celebratory wall posts and likes and pokes with my Kansas friends ... Good times.

Seriously, though. How sweet was it last night when the moderator gave the final word -- laodicean -- and that little smile leaked out of Kavya's mouth, as if to say I know it! ... A few deep breaths and some writing on her palm later, calm and collected, she put the championship in the bag and the coveted trophy was handed to her.

All the while, it was just as amusing to watch Kavya's father sitting with the family in the background. The commentators talked multiple times about how much the father-daughter studied, and with almost every word you could tell by his body language how well Kavya knew the spelling. Sometimes he'd just sit back and stop paying attention, as if to say Too Easy. Next word, please. Kavya and I have been studying this word for like six years ...

We also got a good kick out of the funnied-up sentences this year to help the spellers understand a word's context.

On another note ... Since when did the Spelling Bee feature Super Bowl-caliber commercials!? There were some pretty comical and dazzling breaks, including -- albeit a network promotion -- the one featuring the characters of ABC's most prominent primetime shows at a house gathering right off Wisteria Lane.

The Trib has an excellent photo gallery featuring the faces of the Bee.

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