Friday, May 13, 2011


I like the timers. No, not the beeping ones. The kids. They're cool, especially the really good ones, like the ones that tell you every time you've used another thirty seconds in prep-time, appear to be paying attention when you're speaking, and smile when you shake their hand. Here are some various types of timers who amuse me:

1.  The Tyrannical Timekeeper
He slouches in his chair. He lazily holds up two fingers to let you know how much time you have left. He growls at you in prep-time every thirty seconds, because every thirty seconds used is thirty seconds of his life he'll never get back. Now, I've never actually had this kid time me, but I saw him time an LD round once, so that's why I was amused and not angry.

2.  The Kid Who Times In Her Sleep
I am not kidding. These kids exist. I know a couple. They sit up in the middle of the night and call "Time," then go back to sleep. At least you know they're good at their job. Pretty sad, but pretty funny.

3. The Professional Timer
Not only has this kid been timing rounds since before he could count, he's pretty good at it too. I mean, you get good at it when you have 8 older siblings who compete in speech and debate and drag you along to every competition and send you to the timers table. These are the ones you want to look out for. These kids are practically guaranteed to win events in 2 or 3 years.

4. Mr. I'm-Having-Way-Too-Much-Fun
 I was watching an IE round one time, and the timer was very good at letting the judges know how much time they had left to fill out a ballot. "One minute remaining... Thirty seconds remaining... Ten seconds remaining, five seconds remaining, one second rema- Time." It got old after he did it after every. single. speech, but at least he knew what he was doing.

5. No, Thank You!
I had a timer one time in an OI round who hung on every word I said on the edge of his seat. It was amazing. When I shook his hand and thanked him for timing, he shook mine back enthusiastically. "Oh, you're welcome!" he breathed. Well then... awesome. One of his friends told me he liked my accent. Shweet. One of my favorite timers.

6.  That Kid Who's Timed You 10 Times In The Last 2 Days
Also known as the Timer Award Champion.

7. Your Friend's Little Sibling
I like having timers I know, because I can shake their hand and thank them by name. It's fun.

8. The Ones Who Talk To You Afterwards
I don't know if you're aware, but I have become somewhat popular with some of the timer crowd. (Hey, you gotta be popular somewhere, so why not there?) This is essentially through no fault of my own. I guess they just like one of my speeches, so they tell me that, and then we get into a conversation and pretty soon, we're buddies.

9.  The Ones That Give You Hand Signals in Interps and Platforms
I wish all timers did this, but they don't. Only the ones who haven't quite figured out the rules. For example, I was doing a speech at a club meeting one time that went 10:17, so the poor kid timing me was freaking out and silently screaming his head off for 17 seconds with his hands forming a letter "T" to let me know I was out of time and I'm thinking: Dude. Chill. I'm not done yet. But see, had I actually been paying attention to his hand signals, maybe we wouldn't have had that problem.

Well, that's my list. Additions?

I've actually never timed a round in competition, so I can't entirely relate to what these kids go through for us. I appreciate it though. I'm one of those awful people who forgets what all of my judges look like the instant I leave the room, but I always remember the timer. Weird.

You're homeschooled, and you have one minute remaining.


  1. How about the inexperienced timer who gets up to leave after the first speaker and says, "So, hey, thanks, but I gotta go now." And of course it was limited prep. Yep.

    Mrs. Vandewalle

  2. Hannah the GooseMay 24, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    I love timers. Some of them are so darn cute that I just wanna dunk them in my coffee!!! =P

    If there are any timers reading this blog, thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do!! I don't know what we would do without you.

  3. Having timed speech and debate for five years, (I'm a competitor now. :D) I completely know what you mean. I believe I most relate to numbers 3 and 6. I have gotten several first place timing awards. Unfortunately, some of those prizes were... unsatisfying, to say the least, after timing sixteen rounds.