Summer Scrabbling

Summer Scrabbling

In the mad scramble to clean, prep and paint the laundry room before our chest freezer was delivered, I found all manner of stored items that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. Sports equipment, old game console, Magic cards, VHS tapes, Trivial Pursuit Star Wars Classic edition, high school commencement programs from the 70s, paint ball guns and RC car parts. Among all the miscellany of two or three generations of Mosses, I rediscovered my competition Scrabble board and accessories (including my chess timer for tournament play).

A decade ago I had an itch to up my Scrabble game. I found a local chapter of the National Scrabble Association and began studying letter combinations. While they are technically words, their usefulness on a Scrabble board depends on their point value. Which is why, as a word nerd, I eventually lost interest in attending tournaments and competition Scrabble. Most high level Scrabble players don’t really care what the word means.

On a Monday evening, I talked Terry into playing a game of Scrabble after dinner. Even though my Scrabble board will rotate, I usually leave it orientated towards my opponent, so I’m playing upside down. It forces my brain to think of different less obvious plays. My first game in several years and I could tell how much I had forgotten.

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Scrabbling Scrabbler Scrabbles to Tournament

Scrabble Tournament Mini-Flyer from Leavenworth Public Library

I checked out more than just a held book last night at the Leavenworth Public Library. The first thing I saw, literally at eye level, was a large announcement taped to the glass door proclaiming ‘Scrabble Spells Fun.’ This I already knew.

I even recognized the name Ricky Sirois from my previous attempts at competitive Scrabble.  I asked at the front desk about the Scrabble event scheduled for Sunday afternoon, and she suggested I call the number listed on the mini-flyer she handed to me.  The person whom I needed to contact did not work the evening shift at the Library.

I thought at first the event would be a simple Scrabble club meeting type get together, but when I reviewed the Library’s website, the event is billed as an actual tournament.  I learned this after I had already called and left a message about attending.  I let my membership in the National Scrabble Players Association lapse more than a year ago.  I decided I didn’t have enough time to study like a real Scrabble competitor needs to study, nor could I afford the gas to attend the closest Scrabble club meeting held way down in Leawood every other weekend.  In fact, I haven’t played a game of Scrabble with anyone in well over a year if not two.

So perhaps this is not the brightest thing I’ve ever dived into.  Especially since I’m planning a day trip to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas on Saturday.  I will have no time whatsoever to even review the allowed two letter words or all the words that start with Q.  If only I had known about this two or three weeks ago.  Oh, well.  If I can find all my Scrabble playing paraphenalia (board, ProTiles, timer, score sheets, quick reference sheet, etc.), I can at least make an appearance and have some fun word playing.

Cramming in Some Word Study

I thought it might be a good idea to cram in some word studying today at lunch, so I downloaded my favorite Scrabble word study software:  Zyzzyva (appropriately billed as the ‘Last Word in Word Study’).  I’m about to find out how atrophied my word building muscles have gotten.