Preparing for the Nationals

The 2012 National Scrabble Championship begins on August 11th in Orlando, Florida. This is what I’ve been doing to prepare myself for the grueling four and a half day marathon:

  1. Practicing tai chi. I’ve never done tai chi before, but I’ve seen pictures and all you have to do is contort your body into these funny positions. Example: stick your hand out to your side while you slowly raise your leg. My balance isn’t very good, so I’ve been practicing while lying down in bed. Note: It’s important to look peaceful when engaged in this ancient Chinese martial art.
  2. Getting together a Scrabble prayer circle. I pray, but I’m not very good at it, so one day I said to myself, “Why not get other people to do it for me?”  I’ve heard friends of sick people say “Time to start a prayer circle.” If I’m having a rough day at the Nationals, I will simple tweet my followers and tell them “Time to start a prayer circle.”
  3. Stocking up on essential oils.  A new study shows that the smell of jasmine induces a sense of calm that can improve athletic performance. This particular study was done on baseball players.  I can’t imagine CC Sabathia soaked in the sweet smelling substance, but I think the Cubs are quite fond of it. Another good essential oil is grapefruit, which is supposed to help with concentration.  I plan on dousing myself with jasmine and grapefruit oil before every Scrabble game. Even if the oils don’t make me calm and focused, their smell may very well nauseate my opponents.  I should check with the official tournament rules, though, in case there’s something that prohibits making opponents nauseous.
  4. Reading the official tournament rules. (See above, re nausea.) My husband, who is an official Scrabble club director, says there are new rules involving tournament play. Bitching aloud about bad luck was never permitted, though you can bitch to yourself in your thoughts, I guess. But now, groaning is not allowed. Or is it moaning? Or is it groaning and moaning? This presents a problem, as I am both a groaner and a moaner, though probably more of a groaner.
  5. Playing Quackle.  I look at the Generate Choices option and choose the best play suggested by the Championship Player. This way I win a lot and feel good about beating the computer. I also challenge Facebook friends who’ve never played Scrabble to FB Scrabble. This way I win ALL THE TIME! I don’t know if my game has improved, but my Scrabble self-esteem is at an all-time high.
  6. Thinking of changing my name to something dramatic and quirky to throw off my opponents. Winter ZXQKJ seemed like a good choice until someone told me that’s already taken. But NOT Summer AEIOU  As of now, I’m Summer AEIOU.
  7. Looking for the gold medal that my husband received in appreciation for being the head judge at the Special Olympics for the Chicago public schools. He wore the medal to his first Scrabble tournament years ago, held in Milwaukee around the time of the Olympic trials in that region. When opponents asked about the medal, Marty responded “I’d rather not talk about it right now.” He won second place in the intermediate division; one of his opponents later said to him, “You know what? A lot of us think you’re a jerk because you won’t talk about your medal.
  8. Practicing telling people “I’d rather not talk about it right now.”   Also thinking of getting a pair of Mickey Mouse ears to go with the medal. I’ll be in Orlando, so why not? Maybe a Goofy suit would be better…..
  9. Checking with the Official Tournament Rules to see if there’s anything about wearing costumes.
  10. Studying.  I plan on going over all of my two letter words so I don’t keep playing DA and TE.  I also plan on memorizing every single Q word in the Scrabble dictionary. I believe it is this kind of focused study that will help me do well in the Nationals.

Feel free to share these tips, unless, of course, you’re playing in my division

2 thoughts on “Preparing for the Nationals

  1. Maybe “11. Contemplate wearing sunglasses inside to intimidate others, poker-style.” Note: avoid the ones with mirrored lenses…they look cool, but may do more harm than good.

    Hope all the training’s going well!

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