Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Panicking During Other People's Speeches

I have not timed very much, but I do time speeches at club sometimes. Like impromptu. One time I timed this kid who spent three minutes on his first point. THREE MINUTES. For a timer, that's very nerve-wracking. Then he had to combine his third point and conclusion because he ran out of time. I felt really bad for the guy, especially since I know he's a good speaker. But honestly, that was the most stressful speech I have ever seen. For me. The kid was fine afterwards, even though I was a quite shaken up.

There are a couple stages we go when we panic during other people's speeches:

1. Eyes get wide. Jaw gets dropped.
"What's going on? What is he doing?" The panic sets in.
2: Fingers Shaking
If you're timing, you'll be particularly intent on your hand signals, making sure you don't miss one and maybe even giving them a little early. But you're nervous, so your hands shake. Imagine your fingers are saying, "Th-th-three minutes remaining."
3. Nervous Glances
Look at the competitor. Now look at the judge. Back to the competitor. Now back to the judge. Repeat steps multiple times and watch for reactions of the judges. Now look down. Then back up. Do it all over again.
4. The Recovery
You freeze. The speaker was lapsing, but now he's coming out of it. You can't believe it. You sit in your seat in shock, and then quickly hold your hand up in a C shape, because the speech is almost finished.
5. End Of Speech
Ahh, peace again.

The whole panicking-while-watching-speeches thing kind of reminds me of a conversation I heard once:

Buzz: Hold on, this is no time to be hysterical!
Hamm: This is the perfect time to be hysterical.
Rex: Should we be HYSTERICAL?
Slinky Dog: No!
Mr. Potato Head: Yes!
Buzz: Maybe! But not right now!

You're homeschooled. This is a time to be hysterical.

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