A recent event of note for Michael and me was the Labor Day Scrabble tournament in Pontiac, MI. Twenty games of Scrabble over three days...who could ask for a better way to spend a long weekend, really?! The most fun part of this is, of course, each and every one of the twenty games. The next most fun part, though, is seeing how addled your brain gets during the process of playing twenty games of Scrabble....
and for us, you could definitely make a case that the brain-addling began very early on.
Day 1 began at 8:45 with registration and at 9:30 with games, and ended quite sadly for me, with a 3-5 record and 6th place out of 10. Ack - I knew I could do better than that!!!!
9:30am day 1 means 9:30am day 2...right? of course. had to be. we were even a couple minutes early!
All was not quite right in Scrabble Land, though...and I started picking up on that as I headed to the bathroom before going into the tourney room. Why is no one out here talking?! It's awfully quiet...
I walked into the room to a sudden barrage of information: "Ohthankgoodnessyoumadeithereyou'replayingTinayourclockisstartedjustgo!"
The tournament had, decisively, started at 9am, not 9:30. I had slightly less than 12 of the allotted 25 minutes left on my clock.
I owe many, many thanks to Amanda and Tina for calming the nerves of a suddenly very frazzled me. Michael, you see, is the consistently faster player of the two of us. He had to play a 12-minute game, too (we'd arrived together, as usual), but he played with that time limit fairly regularly online. I'm a slooooowwwww plaaaayyyerrrrr.....and I thiiiiiiiiink a lot.......and I'm never overtime, but I often allow myself the luxury of using my time down to the last minute or two. This in a 25-minute game.
Visions of a 3-6 record danced through my head. My 1022 rating would be very, very sad after this.
....I have no idea which tiles I even got that game, let alone how I managed to win it.
My "brilliance" continued a few games later, playing a very nice woman to whom Michael and I have great fun talking, and whom we consider a "Scrabble friend." Unfortunately, the best plays I saw on a few turns (whether for the purpose of TLSs or simply dumping misfit tiles) materialized as DUMPY, MORON, FAT, and CRONE. She pretended to be insulted. I seriously do not try to win games by demoralizing opponents! That's not my M.O.! Really! :-P
The spectacular piece de resistance of this all came at lunch that second day. I was absolutely tortured thinking of a rack/ideal bingo line I'd had in the previous game. There HAD to be something in it. But I couldn't think of it. "Michael, what the heck is in AEIIRST? ? You know - AIRIEST plus the blank?" Michael couldn't think of it either.
The Table of Division 1 Phenoms sat behind us having lunch there at Zoup. You know...those guys that all of us 1000-1200 players dream of being in, like, ten or forty years. I know many of them, I like everyone - and I had to know what I'd missed. Or maybe there wasn't anything in it after all????
Steve Knapp quickly enlighted me: HAIRIEST!!
Yeah, I know, you readers saw it five minutes ago when I first mentioned the rack. The depths to which my brain must have been shot are, in retrospect, remarkable. If Michael and I are the Scrabble couple, you can just call me the Scrabble airhead. :-P
Even more remarkable, then, was my completion of the tournament with a 10-2 record in the last two days. I finished 13-7 +762 for second place (behind the newest, youngest, and lightning-quickest up-and-comer of the Scrabble scene, one very talented Chris W.), a rating jump of 18 points from 1022 to 1040, and a prize of $105.
My inspiring message of hope is this: All ye tired, downtrodden, and brain-addled of the Scrabble world, fear not. If I can overcome
a horrible day 1
being needlessly and unintentionally insulting to another player
to place in a tournament, you certainly can too!!!!!
Just trust me. I'm not, like, an airhead or anything.