Chattahoochee Chatter: 'The Playermaker' pops up in town

March 5, 2014 

Let's start this week's Chatter with an unexpected tweet.

Early Tuesday evening, former Dallas Cowboys star and current ESPN NFL analyst Michael Irwin tweeted a picture to his 172,000 followers:

"Standing in Columbus Georgia taking a picture of Alabama. WOW THATS BEAUTIFUL."

Irvin was indeed standing Columbus when he took a picture of the Chattahoochee River behind the RiverMill Event Centre. Irvin was the keynote speaker at the Aflac Partner of the Year awards banquet. He later tweeted a photo from the event. The event honors the companies that partner with the Columbus-based supplemental insurance company.

While in town, Irvin also posted a photo that appears to have been taken at the Columbus Airport. Irvin posed with five soldiers while holding some of their luggage.

"I ran into a few GREAT MEN, and I was HONORED to just carry their bags!!!!!!" he wrote in the tweet.

Thanks Twitter for letting us know "The Playmaker" was in town.

•••

If you want your children to be a spelling bee champ beyond Columbus, you might want them to study the menu at as many ethnic restaurants as you can afford.

Aaron Cohn Middle School seventh-grader David Coats and Arnold Magnet Academy eighth-grader Tyrian Jilles, the winner and runner-up in the 2014 Muscogee County School District Spelling Bee last month, represented us well Saturday at the next level: the Georgia District 6 Spelling Bee at Fort Valley State University.

Out of 19 participants, Tyrian finished fifth and David placed sixth.

Tyrian persevered through more than 30 rounds, spelling words such as "croquette," "sonata," "gradient" and "kipper," said her mother, Stacey Jilles Thibodeaux. David lasted 11 rounds, said his mother, Ellen Coats, and correctly spelled words such as "fatigue," "wiseacre," "caribou" and "langosta," which is a Latin American lobster.

And both of them were knocked out of the competition when they misspelled foreign food.

Tyrian misspelled "sashimi," which is a Japanese dish of raw fish with soy sauce and wasabi paste. David misspelled "quesadilla," which is … Well, even the wiseacres at Chatter don't have to look up that word, so we won't define it for you and risk being condescending, because that wouldn't be Chatterliciousable, which you won't find in a bee or in any dictionary.

•••

Members of Fort Benning's Officer Candidate School will get plenty of drama as future leaders, but recently the Alpha Company spent some time learning about the arts at the historic Springer Opera House.

Over the last few weeks, soldiers have volunteered at the Columbus theater, building props, moving furniture, cleaning and taking down back drops as part of a collaboration between the Springer and the OfCS.

Volunteering serves two purposes for the students. The opportunity exposes soldiers to the arts and allows them to serve the community outside the gates of Fort Benning.

Exposure to the arts is beneficial to the officer candidates in a number of ways, said Capt. Alexander Victoria, commander of OCS Alpha Company.

"It provides them with an opportunity to give back to the surrounding community, teaches them the importance and history of the Springer Opera House, broadens their horizon of being exposed to historical plays and enables them to encourage others to support community entertainment," the commander said.

There are a few perks for OCS soldiers volunteering. They get to attend the theater's productions and dress rehearsals providing space is available.

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