Spelling Bee: I'll see your knaidel and raise you a Vannieuwenhuizen

May 30, 2013 

Arvind V. Mahankali, 13, from Bayside, Queens, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday.

Arvind, an eighth grader at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School, won the nationally televised contest by spelling “knaidel,” a Yiddish term of German origin meaning “dumpling.”

This little smarty pants won $30,000 in this year's spelling bee for a word than in essence is a "dumpling." Lord knows I couldn't have spelled that or many of the other words presented to those kids, but I don't have to.

In my world, it's names that have me looking at the roster sheet to see if 'z' comes before 'c.' After a game or two, it's like spelling "dumpling."

In the Western Hockey League, we have Wes Vannieuwenhuizen, Jesse Zgraggen, Nick Buonassisi, Richard Nejezchleb, Rob Trzonkowski, Nikita Zagryadsky, Tanner Lischynsky and Shannon Szabados. But my all-time favorite is former Spokane Chief JP Szaszkiewicz. With the Americans playing the Chiefs 12 times a year, it became as easy to spell as Price.

If I would have gotten $30,000 each time I spelled Szaszkiewicz, I could have retired oh so long ago.

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