More than Just a Game

Matt Klein, Staff Reporter

What seems impossible to some, is a passion for others.  That’s the way it is with Francophone Scrabble (French-language Scrabble).  One of those passionate people is Trinity world languages teacher Mr. Alan Wilson, who is the coach of the French Scrabble team. He started coaching the team in September of 2000.

While Wilson teaches a tough subject, he knows how to make learning French fun. He first got into coaching French Scrabble at Holy Cross, where he led the team for two years. After 21 years leading the Rocks’ team, Wilson said he still loves it.

Currently, the club has 13 members, among them Luke Vanlandingham, Whit Hilleary, Landan Eirk, Mark Sears and Korbin Sunley. 

One teammate has grown to become Hilleary’s rival, his best friend, Vanlandingham. They go back and forth in their matches, and these competitive games inspire both of them.”

The team competes against other schools, including St. Xavier, Manual, and Sacred Heart Academy. Annually, an independent tournament is run between these schools. A teacher from one of the schools coordinates the tournament, and this year that teacher is Wilson.

Sophomore Hilleary is especially excited for the tournament and has very high expectations for the Shamrocks.

While intelligence comes in handy playing French Scrabble, winning a game is largely dependent on the luck of the draw. A person’s letters greatly influences their ability to win the game.

The biggest skill factor that comes into play is the ability to spell in French. Although Wilson is fluent in English, he believes that French Scrabble is easier than English Scrabble.

Wilson considers himself a good player, but has been beaten by his students in the past. Hilleary strives to accomplish that momentous feat. However, if you ask Hilleary, he doesn’t think he will ever be able to complete his goal.

Hilleary joined the team at the start of his sophomore year. After taking Wilson’s freshman French class, he decided to join because Wilson showed how much he loved the language. Hilleary said he enjoys the Scrabble team environment.

One teammate has grown to become Hilleary’s rival, his best friend, Vanlandingham. They go back and forth in their matches, and these competitive games inspire both of them.

Unlike Wilson, Hilleary thinks that English Scrabble is easier than French Scrabble. He is still undecided about whether he will play French Scrabble in college, but “if it is at the college, probably, because it is pretty fun.”

Wilson has fond memories of his time as French Scrabble coach. When asked if he would go back and change anything, Wilson said “no, because I have had good experiences.”