A blog experiment by Brad Mills.


Creating a buzz about Scrabble

Typically I segregate the various parts of my life. Somewhere along the way I decided that certain people simply weren't interested in certain things, so there was no need for me to bore them by bringing those things up. Silo-esque and inside the box thinking at its finest.

I'm starting to form another opinion in that area, though, and that opinion is: Fuck that shit. People are going to filter naturally, so there's really no need for me to; and there's no way for me to know what's going to strike someone's fancy. I have no problem being a catalyst and facilitator, and if a few folks expand their horizons at the cost of a few others bring bored, well, so be it.

So with that in mind, I'm going to do something I rarely do here. I'm going to talk about Scrabble just a little bit. The WV Scrabble Blog is where that topic usually goes, but that blog has been neglected to the point of irrelevance, and like I said, I want to possibly expand some horizons. And this isn't going to become a frequent topic here or anything, so don't worry about that. (I do reserve the right to revise that statement.)

I ran the 6th Annual West Virginia Scrabble Tournament this weekend, which pulled in 45 players from ten different states. The total tournament prize pool was almost $2500. Not huge money in the grand scheme of things, but nothing to sneeze at. It's not the biggest event I've run but it's definitely not the smallest either. It ran smoothly and with very few incidents — that's the way I like it, that's the way most players like it, and I work my ass off to make that manifest.

By my estimates, Charleston businesses picked up close to $5600 from this one event. Again: not huge money in the grand scheme of things, but nothing to sneeze at.

However, it was a big weekend on a lot of different fronts. I landed — with some help — a radio interview to publicize the event (which is a first for me). At some point during the weekend, there was discussion (with someone who could probably make it happen) of a "Scrabble school" program getting started through the Kanawha County Library where people can come learn a few basics and some strategy. The club in Lexington, KY (which has had a somewhat rocky history) is interested in doing some kind of matchup with our club in the near future, something I've wanted to set up for several years. And finally, there might be a college-level course offered nearby (won't say where yet) in Spring 2012 on how competitive Scrabble relates to mental function while touching on other topics related to the game and getting the students to participate in actual club and tournament settings.

Interesting developments all, quite a few opportunities for growth, and lots of good publicity. The stars were definitely in alignment. The trick now will be capturing that momentum and going with it.

While the tournament was going on, several conference rooms next to ours were occupied by the Charleston Rose Society. I peeked into these other rooms a couple of times, and sure enough, there were roses all over the place... tables and tables and tables of them. And I kept thinking to myself, "There's really that much buzz about roses?" Apparently so — I had no idea.

I don't know how much buzz there can be about Scrabble, but it seems like it's a great time to try some things and see what happens.

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