Scrabble Spells F-U-N at the Spring Valley Library

“Raki?” asked Tony Mireles, Sr. skeptically. “Yes, it’s a Turkish something-or-other,” said Michelle Stacy somewhat confidently.

A quick check of the Official Scrabble Dictionary would confirm raki is a Turkish word for distilled.

Mireles and Stacy are two of the members of the Scrabble Club that meets at the Spring Valley branch of the San Diego County Library every Tuesday afternoon.

It’s a casual game with friendly jabs and gentle reminders of the rules, but mostly about socializing and having fun for these Scrabble diehards.

“We prefer a friendly game,” said Milan. “At tournaments, though, all bets are off and it’s no more Mr. Nice Guy.”

Mireles and Stacy, along with Luis Milan, founded the Spring Valley Scrabble Club two years ago. It’s an offshoot of the club that meets on Mondays at the La Mesa library that they’ve been members of for more than four years.

“We’ve been playing together for four-and-a-half years,” said Stacy. “I tried knitting clubs. I tried chess. I just wasn’t into those things.”

She had been playing Scrabble since her grandmother introduced her to the game at age 5.

The Scrabble Clubs are a perfect fit for the library’s mission to inform, educate, inspire and entertain. The clubs are also the only two in the County Library system.

“If you don’t play here or La Mesa, you have to do Scrabble Meet Ups or force your family to play,” said Stacy.

They play for four hours at a time and players are welcome to come for however long their schedules allow. Linda McCreight showed up midway through the first game this week and Rick Johnson – armed with a notebook full of handwritten word possibilities – came after three had been played already.

“I went to the Rancho San Diego library to look into a Spanish class and found out about the Scrabble Club in Spring Valley and started a year ago,” McCreight said.

“Linda’s one of the better players,” said Mireles. The first two words McCreight played were worth 44 and 56 points.

He joked that she likes to jump up and down on the table if she wins a game.

For the regular sessions, Scrabble dictionaries and even cheat sheets are welcome. Mireles said there is no time limit, either. During tournaments, however, dictionaries are not allowed and there are time limits on playing your tiles.

Anyone is welcome to join the club. The youngest player to participate has been 10 and the oldest was an 89-year-old in La Mesa.

“As long as you can hold a dictionary, we’ll let you play,” said Milan.

The Club is hosting its second annual Scrabble tournament at the Spring Valley library at 4:30 p.m. on August 18. You can call the branch at (619) 463-3006 to register or for more information.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact