WINNING WORD: Spoliator
DEFINITION: One who robs, plunders or despoils.
With undergraduate degrees in Russian and environmental science from St. Olaf, Isaacs is now a doctor "two times over," as he puts it, and practices chiropractic and naturopathic medicine in Denver, where he's a member of the Gay Men's Chorus and runs triathlons. He doesn't remember when he told his partner about his spelling bee victory. "But he knows every year toward the end of May that I'm going to suddenly have an obsession with the National Spelling Bee and everything else that's happening at that time has to be put on hold."
Winning the bee isn't something he routinely talks about, nor does his clinic web site mention it. "In some ways, I view it as bragging. I ask myself if it's really germane to the conversation, would people be impressed or would they be put off? Some friends don't know, a lot of acquaintances don't know. It's almost kind of like a private little joy of my own."
But, personally, it still ranks as his Number One life experience. "And it probably always will be," he adds. "How many people can say they were number one in their field at one time in their life?
He doesn't take all the credit. "I had incredibly supportive parents. One weekend, my mom spent eight hours each day drilling me." Scott's second grade teacher set him on the spelling bee trail. "She noticed that I had a good aptitude for spelling and recommended that my parents enroll me in spelling bees. The following year I entered a makeshift spelling bee at a local mall and ended up winning. From there, I was thrilled, I was so excited." He went to the national competition three years in a row. When he won, his entire family parents as well as siblings, grandparents, uncle, aunt and cousins was in the audience cheering him on. By Rita Healy