February 2014
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Scrabble Madness!

Scrabble Madness

Are you a word nerd? Do you have a competitive edge? Do you like playing games and benefiting good causes? If you said yes to any of those questions, Scrabble Madness is your kind of tournament.

I first heard of Scrabble Madness when I was a prospective student. I sat in on a Shakespeare class, and the professor mentioned an on-campus Scrabble tournament that he had competed in that Saturday, which I learned later was the first of its kind held on campus. I was intrigued. A Scrabble tournament was one more little reason for me to come to love McDaniel.

About a year later, I found myself in Glar late one Saturday morning. An acquaintance of mine, Ed, came up to me and asked me if I liked to play Scrabble. I said yes, and within half an hour, I was competing in the 2nd annual Scrabble Madness tournament with Ed and his friend Matt. I was replacing their friend Doug, who was feeling under the weather that morning. I hadn’t registered to compete in the tournament myself because the tournament fee per team is $100, which benefits the Carroll Literacy Council. What I didn’t know, however, was that certain academic departments on campus sponsor student teams, so Ed, Matt, and I got to play in the tournament at no monetary cost to us. With some luck, chance, collaborative creativity, and one word played by Ed that netted us over 90 points, the guys and I made it to the final round of the tournament, which we won. It was an unexpectedly phenomenal day, and I’ve been competing in the Scrabble tournament every year since (though with less success than in my first year).

This year’s tournament had more student teams than I had ever encountered in Scrabble Madness, which I thought was wonderful. This was made possible due to a grant to the tournament, so McDaniel students and local high school students got to form a handful of teams at no cost to them. However, because the tournament got pushed back a weekend, due to snow, one of my professors who helped organized the tournament requested that the two teammates I’d recruited each play as substitutes for two teams that were unable to attend the event. That meant that my perfect Scrabble team was reduced to only me for a round. But things got better. I convinced the professor to split up another team for the second round, so I got one of my teammates back. She and I were able to win a game at our table, but in the tournament as whole, my team didn’t finish so well. Last year, I got sixth place in the tournament, but this year, there were so many teams ahead of me that I didn’t bother to count.

I didn’t have the tournament I had anticipated having this year, but I still managed to make the most out of a less-than-ideal situation and have a good time. The tournament was able to go on because five students out of dozens of people made some sacrifices, and our actions have benefited Carroll Literacy Council, which offers literacy programs to adults.

And a little birdie (my professor) has told us that there is something peanut buttery awaiting the five of us in the English department office. I can’t wait to find out what it is…

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