Craig Rowland has been a fan of word games since childhood and he played in his first Scrabble tournament in 1993.
Favourite Scrabble plays include: stacking AIRTIME alongside THEATER to make seven two-letter words; being down by close to two hundred points and bingoing out with a triple-triple ZILL(I)ONS to win; and playing a 714 point phony-free game.
Craig enjoys learning endangered European languages, he’s a big fan of English songstress Helen Shapiro, and you can read his travelogues, book reviews, and other musings at http://craigrowland.com/.
Marcela Kandanka hails from Toronto. She has two School Scrabble kids, aged 12 and 14. After a few Orlando nationals, they wanted to try adult tournaments. After spending eight hours on a weekend driving /watching, she decided to join them, “for her own sanity.” She adds, “Now, I play way more than advisable for anyone’s sanity, and certainly more than my kids, though my son Will Robertson, now 19, is playing with me in these Nationals.”
Marcela is multi-talented: people have paid for her paintings; she has completed three marathons without talking; and she makes a mean Pad Thai. Look out for her in Division Three – she may be the female doppelgänger of Louis CK.
Matt Canik has been playing Scrabble since he was 12 years old, and he has grown up to become a high school Anatomy and Physiology teacher (which helps with all of those tricky science-oriented Scrabble words). When he’s not playing Scrabble or teaching, you may find him golfing, cooking, or playing Super Smash Bros.
Matt is currently on a 2-month, 5000+ mile road trip playing Scrabble across the continent during summer vacation, which has included many games with rival and friend Joey Krafchick. Over their Scrabble tournament history, Matt has scored wins over Joey by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 points, tied him once, and accrued an overall record of 16.5-15.5 in their games – they may meet again in Division A in Fort Wayne!
Throughout the 2016 North American Scrabble Championship (NASC), we will be sharing mini-bios of our players.
Mel Jordan celebrates her birthday with Scrabble friends today! It was fate when she realized that the NYC Scrabble club met a block from her office. She played in her first tournament in July 2015 and this is her fourth tourney and first Nationals.
Interests other than Scrabble include law, and watching The Fall and The Bachelor. London is among her favorite places, and Tinder among her favorite websites.
Greetings from the Grand Wayne Convention Center in lovely Fort Wayne, Indiana! Players have been milling in all day, gathering their red swag bags, name badges, and event folders. The whole convention area is in full “welcome” mode with letter-themed throw pillows on the foyer furniture and letter-themed artwork everywhere (including inside the convention rest rooms!). Dallas and Sue Johnson, our event organizers, have the well-oiled volunteer machine working efficiently. Players received a set of NASPA tiles, a long wooden rack, and a chance to enter to win the two pairs of tickets being raffled from the Jim Gaffigan comedy show later this week.
At 7:30, players gathered at the opening reception across from the convention center at the Legacy Ballroom in the Courtyard Marriott. Connie Creed (Philadelphia, PA) once again outdid herself by ordering up a smorgasbord of great food: pulled pork sandwiches, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, flatbreads (one was “Philly Cheese Steak”), and fresh vegetable crudités! Tables were adorned with fresh berry parfaits and brushed aluminum cocktail tables were perfectly positioned around the room. The room was hopping with happy players already regaling friends with stories about great plays and the like.
Artist and SCRABBLE expert, Jeremy Hildebrand, unable to attend this year, has once again outdone himself by designing our event T-shirts. See if you can spot one in the event photographs! Hint: the skinny character is Johnny Appleseed!