We have the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and also the Arizona EGUMPP Grammar Bowl. Bet you haven’t heard of the Grammar Bowl, much less EGUMPP.
In a previous career I was a middle school language arts teacher. I well remember trying to convince slouching adolescents the value of understanding and using proper grammar. I explained that grammar is the nuts and bolts of language; its job is holding ideas together.
Eyes rolled at the mention of predicates and subjects, indirect objects and transitive verbs no matter how hard I tried to convince them that grammar would rear its ugly, yet noble, head with every email, blog post, flirty text or cover letter they wrote.
EGUMPP stands for Electronic Grammar Usage Mechanics Proficiency Program. It was created by Safran Publishing and, yes, the company hopes to sell the program far and wide. If they can make their millions, and leave in their wake thousands of kids who know how to use the language and express coherent ideas, I’m all for it.
Each public, private and charter school in Arizona gets five free registrations for eighth and ninth graders. Beyond the first five the cost is $29 each. The deadline for registration is Jan. 7. Upon registering the students will wend their way through online and written grammar exercises for regional and semi-final rounds.
The final round of the Grammar Bowl at Grand Canyon University is a full-contact grammatical battle in front of a live audience. Each participant wields a dangling participle and a sentence fragment. The finalists tackle and subdue a run-on sentence and pummel it into a comma coma. Really. You’re not buying this, are you?
In reality, the final round is indeed in front of a live audience at Grand Canyon University Arena on April 14, 2012, with head-to-head competition between individuals demonstrating their grammar skills. The winners will take home iPads, gift cards, scholarships and trips to Washington, DC.
Deadlines approach. Interested schools can register students at AZ grammarbowl.com. — Dan Friedman