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Back to NSC98 Sunday Commentary

John D. Williams Jr.'s Opening Address

[John D. Williams, Jr. is the Executive Director of the NSA.]

Sunday, August 9th, 1998

[photo of JDW at lectern] Good Morning:

On behalf of the NSA, Hasbro, and players everywhere, Welcome to the largest NSC in history. Special thanks to those of you who have endured travel complications, hotel miscommunications, and a shortage of hors d'oeuvres. As a token of appreciation, we've arranged for a few extra blanks to find their way into your bag.

I'll update you on a NSA plans and activities at tomorrow night's Town Meeting, when we will also try to answer your questions and hear your ideas.

I have one last and very important item. The SCRABBLE® Community recently lost two very wonderful and very significant men. The first was Joel Skolnick, who died a couple of weeks ago in New York.

Joel is acknowledged to be one of the founding fathers of the organized SCRABBLE® movement, having organized and run events long before there was an Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, a Maven, a ratings system, a National SCRABBLE® Association. His legacy is in this room.

The second is Mike Wise. Mike was the next wave of SCRABBLE® organizer, the father of Canadian SCRABBLE® and director of WSC and Superstars, whose tireless blend of enthusiasm and grace has left its mark in SCRABBLE® circles throughout the world. His legacy is also in this room.

Please join me in a moment of silence for both these men to whom we owe an inestimable debt of gratitude.

[pause]

Thank you. There will be more tributes in the next SCRABBLE® NEWS and on our new NSA website <URL:www.scrabble-assoc.com>.

But we also wanted to make Joel Skolnick and Mike Wise part of this historic event. Our current World SCRABBLE® Champion, Joel Sherman <icenine@panix.com>, has created and funded the special Joel/Wise prizes for this event. Joel will come up and explain it quickly.

[photo of Joel at lectern] Joel runs up to podium and says [Sherrie Saint John paraphrases]: For games 1-28, in each of the four divisions, a $20 prize will be awarded to the highest-scoring play including the letters JOEL/WISE. All the second-highest scoring plays from each division will be put into a hat and one will be drawn out. Thus, 5 separate prizes of $20 will be awarded after round 28 for each of JOEL and WISE, for a total of $200.

From the crowd, someone asks, "If you play JOWLIEST, do you win double the prize?" Answer: you are eligible for both prize groups if you play JOWLIEST.

Thank you Joel Sherman for this kind gesture. Okay everyone, those are more than enough words from me. Now it's your turn. Let's play SCRABBLE®!


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