Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ending Cross-Examination On A High Note

One time, my partner and I were debating this team. That happens to debaters a lot. We were affirmative, and our plan would result in the eventual loss of tax evasion by instituting a simpler tax code that is therefore harder to evade without all those forms and loopholes and whatnot. Not that I know how to evade taxes. Anyway, the neg basically said that our plan was so simple, we couldn't possible generate as much revenue as we do now. Cross-Ex was fun that round:

Me: So what you're saying is, the current system, with its tax evasion, generates more money than our plan would?
Opponent: ...yes.

I didn't actually say any of this in caps or italics, but you get the gist. I could tell by the look on my judge's face that she got was I was going for: logically, a system without tax evasion is probably going to generate more than one where people avoid taxes, despite the stance of my opponent. I was so excited about the outcome of that question that I immediately ended Cross-Ex right there. I had said everything I wanted to, and though I probably could have come up with more less-interesting questions, why not quit while you're ahead?

Cross-Examination fascinated me before I joined debate. It still does. There are a lot of sneaky things you can do to get the judge leaning sliiightly to your side without even making any arguments. Forms of sneakiness are best put at the very end, I think. That way, the judge may be already agreeing with you, perhaps unconsciously, before your partner even starts his next speech. When it comes to Cross-Ex, we like to go out on a high-note, and try to look really confident and smart when we say "No further questions," which is not an inherently intelligent statement, but it could make you sound very smart if you pull it off.

You're homeschooled. No further questions.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interps: Interpretive vs. Interpretation

Sometimes, you want to be formal with your speech names. Sometimes, the abbreviations get old. Last year, when I was asked to list some achievements of mine, I decided I'd put down how I placed at the national tournamant the previous year. However, I didn't really want to say, "20th in OI at NITOC," because that doesn't sound that impressive. I decided I'd go with, "Quarterfinalist in Open Interpretive at Stoa's National Invitational Tournament of Champions." Pretty snazzy, huh? Especially the Champions part. They mean the same thing, but that sounds a lot more awesome. Yet, I still had a problem. In fact, I still have this problem. I can never tell when I'm supposed to use the words "interpretive" and "interpretation" regarding interps (which is an abbreviation for one or both of those words. Again, I have a hard time remembering).

This is odd, because interps are kind of my thing. They're what I do. I really should know what "interp" means. Suddenly, everything I know about speech and debate seems less concrete. Do I even know what any of the names mean? Do I even know what speech and debate is? What do I know? The uncertainty is just maddening!

So I found a solution. It's right here. Yes, the Stoa rules. I love this website. Basically, here's the logic behind interpretive/interpretation: DI, HI, OI, any other "I" speech, (Thematic, Original Open, all the crazy stuff the National Forensics League has, ect) and, of course, Duo, are referred to collectively as THE INTERPRETIVE SPEECHES. Individually, they are Dramatic Interpretation, Humorous Interpretation, Open Interpretation, Thematic Interpretation, Original Open Interpretation, and Duo Interpretation. Why Interpretation? Why not Interpretive? I have no idea, but now we know. Yes, it's pretty exciting. And quite a breakthrough. Arguably shattering to every misconception you had about interps. I know how you must be feeling.  Don't ever mess them up again.

You're homeschooled. Or home schooled. Or home-schooled. I can't remember which.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Not Leaving Your Name Tag In The Room

I'm one of those kids who doesn't do name tags while giving interps. I have to take them off. They're too distracting. I used to ask, "Is it alright with the judges if I remove my name tag?" but I recently stopped because it's always alright. Except for one time.

I was watching a girl in my room who gave her speech shortly before I did. Before she started, however, she removed her name tag and a judge asked that she out it back on. It was weird, but I didn't make the same mistake.

Anyway, because I take my name tag off before every interp (except that one time), I try to pick it up again afterwards. I have forgotten to grab it nearly every time, especially at my first tournament. One judge gave it back to me after quarter finals, and it somehow ended up with my friend's mom after semis, which is funny, because I just remembered that that same friend ended up with my name tag at Nationals last year after I left in a room during a prelim round. I can't tell you how many times I have crept back into rooms after giving a speech to retrieve my lost tag, awkwardly smiling at judges while doing so, and trying still to look charming and adorable and not give a bad impression. Somehow, throughout all of my mishaps, I have never actually lost a name tag, but that day may yet come.

I know I'm not the only one who does this. You know I'm not the only one who does this. Approximately 97.6% of people who take off their name tags leave them in the room. It's just what happens. That's why it's so awesome when you beat the odds and don't forget your name tag! Maybe you got smart and set it on a desk near the door so you'd spot it after thanking everybody for doing their thing. Maybe you casually stuffed it in your pocket. Maybe you gave it to someone to hold on to. Maybe you decided name tags are too mainstream and ditched yours a long time ago. Or maybe you got it to hang in a non-distracting way around your neck and didn't have to take it off at all! Brilliant!

You're homeschooled. Don't you forget it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Debaters and Frisbee: It's Ultimate- Michael Sheetz

(Michael's written a guest post before, which was pretty awesome, and for some reason he wanted to write one again! Give him a round of applause, because this post is hilarious.)

Harken back to the long-gone days when Russian foreign policy had just become the resolution for the team policy season and you may discover an alumni and a student, slaving away at a case into which they wished to breathe their sports enthusiasm and knowledge. 

Kyle Helmick and I may have been crazy, but if it was any kind of crazy, it was a genius crazy. We had nearly finished a 1AC that mandated the US send aid to Russia. Not just any boring aid, the 10-million-frisbees kind-of-aid. Statistics of child obesity in Russia were staggering, and proving that Ultimate Frisbee would significantly decrease this problem were easy (Did you know that the only sport that burns more calories on average in the same amount of time as an Ultimate Frisbee game is water polo? Yup, didn't think so. You learn something new everyday.)

Of course, that was until we ran the idea by some parents. First question: "What judge do you think will vote on this?". 

Ok, so we didn't know. But that doesn't refute the fact of how awesome Ultimate Frisbee is. 

If any of you are wondering, Ultimate Frisbee is a sport. A sport where the objective is to pass a disc into an endzone that is on the opposite end of the field. Whenever you have the disc, you can't move, but anyone else on your team may. If that doesn't make sense, just find a homeschool debater and ask them to show you. 

The appeal to debaters, I believe, is the amount of fun you can have by simply throwing around a frisbee. In-between rounds, it's a fantastic way to pass the time, socialize/meet new kids, and talk. Of course, that is until someone gets clocked in the head (which I've seen before. It's really not that bad unless it hits someone's nose)

Back when I started playing UF, I got to play in a group that was in its glory days. Rad people like Amy Van Vlear (The-girl-who-keeps-beating-you-on-fast-breaks-into-the-endzone), Matt Mitt (Am I supposed to even try to defend him?), Sean Hansen (Did he just throw it under my leg?), Cree McCook (With a name like Cree, he's fast. Not fast. fast), Kyle Helmick (Either I'm going crazy or I just saw his arm telescope into the lower stratosphere to grab that), Trevor Scholten (What other fiery ginger can cause so much chaos with just one throw?), and the like were dominant. Being a novice at UF was like being a novice in debate: You kept doing a lot of things but you didn't know why you were doing them or how it could look so easy for everyone else. After about a year though, I picked up on the ropes of UF strategy and people started passing to me. Imagine that!

Three years later, I'm amazed I had never heard of UF before being involved in SAD. 

So whether you've only recently seen frisbees flying around at tournaments or you've been a part of the scene for years, Ultimate Frisbee will always be the second passion in a debater's heart. 

You're homeschooled and you know how to throw both a flick and a hammer. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Awkward Moments in Cross-Ex

See, I didn't know these actually happened until the other day, when I had my first debate tournament. But they do. There are occasionally weird, awkward, and therefore hilarious moments in Cross Examination. But you have to hide your amusement. I'm being confusing. Let me explain with a list and some made-up stories:

Awkward Moment #1: When They Respond To An Argument Instead Of Asking A Question
Debater Numero Uno: So, regarding your disadvantage, you're saying that it would be waste of money to spend $10 billion for every endangered seal, correct?
The Second Person: Yes.
1: Actually, it's $10 billion dollars total, not for each seal, so your Disadvantage doesn't stand.
2: ...oh.


1: my next question...

Awkward Moment #2: When The Wrong Person Starts Asking The Questions
1: Hi, how are you doing today?
2: Good.
1: Ok, great. Now, in response to your 12th Solvency point, were you assuming that our plan actually wouldn't solve?
2: Well, how can it? Do you even attempt to solve for the impending tomato crisis?
1: Yes! It was in our 1AC!
2: But isn't that evidence biased?
1: No! VeggieTales is not biased.
2: ...
1: Are you going to ask another question?
2: No. That's your job.
1: Oh... right.

Awkward Momenent #3: When Someone Forgot About Cross-Ex
1: Thank You and I am now open for Cross-Examination.
2: ...oh! That's me! Ok, so... when you say your value is, umm, Justice, do you mean that that's what you think we, or you, should try to, uh, uphold? Through, you know, valuing Personal Freedom?
1: Yea. That's what a value is.
2: Oh, ok. Thanks. Umm, my next question...

Awkward Moment #4: When Someone Asks Way Too Many Questions
1: So, you say your plan will result in the creation of 24 jobs, right? What kind of jobs are they? Are they really significant? Are they jobs that benefit the rest of the community? Can I get your evidence for that? And a copy of your 1AC? Oh, almost forgot, how are you, anyway?
2: Uh...
1: Never mind, we're out of time.

Awkward Moment Number 5: When They Ask For Evidence But There Wasn't Any
1: Your 4th disadvantage was that of "Death, Destruction, and Nuclear War," correct?
2: Yup.
1: Can I get the evidence under that?
2: There, uh, there wasn't any.
1: Really?
2: Yea.
1: Did you bring up any evidence in your speech?
2: No.
1: ...this is awkward.

Moral of the story is, awkwardness is inevitable. This is homeschoolers we're talking about. No, not just any homeschoolers. DEBATERS.

You're homeschooled. This is awkward.

Monday, November 21, 2011

When People Go To A Room To Specifically Watch Your Speech

There is no greater feeling for people like us who love to be in the spotlight than having an audience. Sometimes you get lucky and go right before someone really popular, so the fan club has to watch your speech before the popular one. Take that, fan club. You have to watch me first. Ha.

However, there are a couple of times when you just know, or at least suspect, or feel like assuming that someone is in your room to watch your speeches. Here are the scenarios:

1. A big, happy crowd

It has to be a happy crowd because people are far more likely to try to catch your HI or Duo than a Dramatic, sad OI, or pretty much anything else. I'm sorry. That the truth. So, if you walk into a crowded room and get the vibe that they really like you, as indicated by smiles, chuckles, laughs, guffaws or something, feel free to assume they camped out in that place to watch you. They love you. Embrace it.

2. The people who sneak into the room right before you start and slither out when you finish

I had one of these at the recent Round Robin. A really talented interper, who happens to be very nice, crept into my DI room right before I started. That speech has very little eye-contact, but when I did see him, he seemed genuinely interested. He virtually vanished the instant it was over. I'm convinced he came to watch me. I don't know for certain, but why not think that? People do that. You do that. I do that. It's a thing.

3. The kids that stalk you

"Hey Chandler, can I watch your speech? What room are you in?" I love hearing this question. Unless you are one of the two other Chandlers in Stoa, you've probably never had anyone ask you this. (No, actually, I'm not the only Chandler. The others are in... Oregon? Texas? I don't remember) But maybe you've heard it with your name. Isn't it wonderful? This time, you know for certain that they came to watch you. Awesome.

4. The traveling fan club
It happens to the popular kids. We've all been part of the fan clubs. We've all seen them. We've all had them leave right before we speak, which is awful. But sometimes, you realize, whoa. You have a fan club. What is this madness?? Awesome. Er.

Have you had any of these happen? Well, you better get ready.

You're homeschooled. Your audience awaits.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Emailing Alumni

I've developed a wonderful habit of acquiring the email addresses of some of my favorite alumni at Round Robins. One fine lad wrote it on a ballot after judging me three times, asking that I feel free to email him with any questions about his comments or about speech in general. And I did. It was awesome. Then I saw him last summer and he told me to email him if I have any questions about debate. I have yet to do so. I haven't thought of any good questions yet.

Additionally, just today at a Round Robin, I spoke to another favorite alumni of mine, who nearly begged me to email one of my scripts to him so he could give advice. He also wanted me to do it for him at a competition sometime because he "loves giving feedback on presentation as well." This kid has won events like 400 times, plus he's awesome, so of course I didn't object. When I saw him, I was actually on my way to asking him if I could email him but he beat me to it.

Here's the thing: alumni miss competing. They want to be part of the action. An inquisitive email may bring tears of joy and nostalgia to their eyes. Or so I'm told. I've actually never been an alumni. Yet.

So grab a few alumni and email them every day for the rest of your career. Any questions pertaining to speech, debate, presentation skills, why Appearance should not be part of the ballot, the meaning of life, which trophies are the best, should medals be given to quarter-finalists who don't qualify, whether Nationals should require three checkmarks, ect. You know, the usual. I guarantee, they will LOVE you. Besides, they obviously have more free time than they know what to do with.

Have you ever emailed an alumni? What did you say? Did they reply? How many pages was the response? Probably a lot.

You're homeschooled. You've got mail.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Flw-Spk = txt spk 4 CHSADKs

It consists of leaving out letters, using an excessive amount of symbols, and tons of abbreviations. I kind of feel bad for people who try to read my flowsheets. Especially my debate partner. I'd be shocked if he could read my handwriting, let alone my shorthand. I'm trying to get better about that.

Some of my abbreviations make sense, like "rev gen'd" which every 2011-2012 Stoa Policy-er should get. Many would probably not make sense to an innocent bystander. I don't even know what they all mean. "Fl tx," I get that one. (Flat tax) This phrase is weird: "-capply respons to DA2- don (no sign) ↓." It took me a minute, but that one says, "Cross-apply response to Disadvantage 2- do not reduce." It made sense at the time. Pretty exciting, I know.

Before I was a debater, I refused to flow rounds. I was convinced I didn't know how. Debaters have their own special language that I couldn't understand. Now I get it. It's not really a special language. It's whatever you manage to get on the page before the next argument comes along, in as many symbols and abbreviations as possible, occasionally leaving out critical vowels so you get an unpronounceable mess that you still somehow understand. 


Ur hmscled. R u gd @ flwing?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trying to Send Your Debate Partner Messages Via Mental Telepathy-Carey Vandewalle

(Carey is the awesomest person who has ever written a post about telepathy on my blog. Plus she's an excellent writer. Please welcome back... CAREY VANDEWALLE.)

I had an awesome and fantastic and all-around great debate partner. The fact that I only debated in TP for one year was not his fault. Not many guys would put up with all that he did. He dealt with my frustrated sarcasm, late night hysteria, insanely distractible mind, doodles of skull-and-crossbones on my flows, and bad habit of never eating at tournaments. He patiently restated countless clever strategies that had taken several minutes to explain only to get a blank stare and a “oh, sorry, I wasn’t listening” from me. He always laughed at my lame jokes about nuclear weapons. He never got mad when I refused to listen to him during debate rounds, and he faithfully made fun of me when I was being ridiculous. He never flaunted the fact that he got higher speaks about 85% of the time, or the harsh reality that he always got more compliments on his appearance than I ever did on our ballots. Add all this to the fact that he is a brilliant debater, very knowledgeable, and (obviously) an accomplished speaker, and I was certainly blessed to be his partner. Did I mention that he is still friends with me?!  This kid is great.
Now that I have spend a more than adequate time flattering him, I can now get on to my real post. Not that all that wasn’t real. It was! But acting as my ex-partner’s wingman was not my purpose. However, he is single, ladies. 
Anyway, despite how awesome he is, he and I didn’t always communicate very well at the most important times. Those most important times being that critical moment when he is standing at the podium and I am sitting at the table and he is talking at the judge and she looks confused but he doesn’t see because he’s looking at his flow and we’re about to have the other team in an amazing double bind if he can only craft the arguments carefully enough and he really really really needs to impact this crucial disadvantage or it won’t work and he’s not going far enough and he needs to add that one last sentence but he’s not and I’m sitting at the table dying of distress.  You know those most important times? Yea, those times. Anyway, it was at those important times that I resorted to mental telepathy to try and enter his brain and convince him to say that one essential sentence.
I’d casually tried it before, but never at such momentous occasions. It hadn’t ever worked. But I thought, if I’m ever going to make this thing work, it has GOT to be now. That “now” was not just one round. It was at least twice at every given tournament.  
I would sit there concentrating on his mind and repeating my message over and over in a desperate attempt to reach him before all would be lost.  
It never worked.
He would smoothly move on to another argument, little suspecting that he had just murdered his only debate partner. Cause of death? Strain due to malfunctioned mental telepathic communications equipment, and explosion due to distress. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.
You have probably tried this in some form or another, too. Sometimes it really feels like lightning bolts covered in flame throwers and tigers will fall from heaven and obliterate your chances of ever winning NITOC if your partner doesn’t make that all-important point. But you know, they’ve probably felt the same way about you. And despite the fact that you have just died a thousand deaths from the above causes, life goes on.  
But I did not attempt Inception. If I compete in Parliamentary debate, I most certainly shall have a go. So if you’re my partner, and your dreams get real bizarre, you’ll know why.
You’re homeschooled, and killing your partner is a bad idea. Moral of the story, kids.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buying a New Suit

I remember way back before my first competition, even before my first Round Robin, the time came for me to get myself a suit. I had never needed tournament attire before. My mom and I trekked off to whatever store we had been advised to visit and found pretty much nothing of use, EXCEPT for this one rack that had these skirt-and-little-jacket suits on sale. They were pretty much adorable. I picked out my favorite, tried it on, and we went to pay for it.

Mom (to cashier): This is on sale, right?
Cashier: Well, actually...
Mom: freezes in panic
Me: also afraid
Cashier:'s on clearance.

You can imagine how big that sigh of relief was. I've gotten lucky with suits several other times too. But regardless, suit-shopping is just fun and exciting. A new suit makes you feel all the more ready for the next year. You try it on, straighten your tie, tuck in your shirt, fix your jacket, maybe add a snazzy pin, look in the mirror and think, yup. I'm ready to go win something.

Maybe it's just me, but I've always felt that my suits, and especially my tournament shoes, give me confidence, which, as you know, is helpful in speech and debate. Have you ever felt this way?

I've mentioned this previously, but it really does irk me that "Appearance" is part of the ballot. You can get comments about ridiculously silly things, like having a white hairband with a suit that is red and black and that that is apparently bad (true story). But much to my chagrin, those little box are there, smiling their toothless smiles at us after every competition. We may as well play that game and look nice and feel awesome. Haha, pointless little squares! We win!

What about you? Do you like getting new suits?

You're homeschooled and you look great.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When Your Favorite People Do Really Well At Tournaments

This happened to me at Nationals. Not that I won any events or anything, but lots of cool people did. I love this. There were a few speeches that I had had my eye on throughout the year that didn't win any tournaments here, and then BAM. They win Nationals. I was so proud and somehow felt like I had taken part in their victory simply by rooting for them. It kinda felt like I was part of their team. It was pretty exciting.

We all have those people we like, whether they're our friends who rock at debate or just someone who has a really good speech. We love to see them get trophies and stuff. Their victory is our victory. We were right there next to them, even if they don't know it.

Throughout any tournament, your favorite people may break and generally do well. By all means, give 'em a thumbs up, high five, awkward hug, or a simple "Good job." They would probably appreciate that. And they deserve it, because, they're your favorite.

You're homeschooled. I'm rooting for you!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Name Tags

One time, my mom was registering me for a tournament and accidentally entered my name as "Chandler La." I guess the Internet browser recommended adding in "Lasch" and she thought it changed it... It didn't. She got it changed for postings and breaks and stuff, but not for the name tag. (Or the certificate thing, but the tournament people were nice enough to send me a new one.)

Name tags are a beautiful invention. When random kids who know my name talk to me, I can pretend like I know their names too! Most of the time I do. Now. But only because it's on their name tag.

Essentially, there are two kinds of S&D competition name tags: the clip kind and the elastic-necklace-y kind. Personally, I prefer the elastic one. The clips tend to hang off my collar at really odd angles. Not cool. The elastic one I can tie and adjust so as to attempt a spiffy looking result.

I wish everyone wore name tags all the time, not just in tournaments. It's super convenient. And, you'll never again forget how to spell your name! Or anyone else's! Genius. If the name is correct, that is.

The moral of the story is, clip your name tag to your tournament attire with pride. Or slide the strap part over your head and try not to mess up your hair. Name tags are super handy. And I haven't even mentioned their potential as an art canvas, except for just now of course.

You're homeschooled. What's your name? Oh, never mind. It's on your name tag

Monday, November 7, 2011

Friending All of Stoa on Facebook

Disclaimer 1. Some of you do not have a Facebook. That's fine. There is a 98.6% chance that if you are reading this, you are on Google Buzz, or Google+, as it were. Just substitute "follow/follower" for "friend" and "Buzz/Plus" for "Facebook." It should work pretty fantastically I hope.

Disclaimer 2. Some of you are not in Stoa but NCFCA. Maybe. Actually, yes. Just use the same logic as above.

I recently got on Facebook. I'm really late to the game, but what can I say. I'm homeschooled. I don't do trends. Anyway, I keep getting all these "People you may know"s of CHSADK's that I sort of do know. The best part is, Facebook is like, "You have 47 mutual friends with so and so" and I'm thinking, I didn't know I had that many friends but cool. Lots of Stoa'ers on FB are friends with every other Facebook-user in Stoa. Folks, that's a lot of people. I have gotten a few requests from kids I've never met but after a bit of innocent speechranks stalking, I figure out what's up. Then, once I see they are in speech and/or debate, I friend them because I meet really snazzy people that way.

Here's what great about the fact that Stoa kids are willing to be friends with everybody else in Stoa:

1. You have people to wave to at tournaments
One time, my sister was at her first tournament ever and I was pointing out this kid who is just awesome and would later win a lot and at Nationals and stuff. In the midst of this, he turned around and waved at me. My awesomeness points went up by about 250%. It's great to have people to wave at, because you look cool, waving is fun, and our hands don't get nearly enough exercise with all the "Thank you for judging"s. You need to at least somewhat know someone to wave at them, so Facebook friending them is a good way to go.

2. The famous people feel more like real people
Stoa has a decent amount of local legends and small-town celebrity sorts. When you're friends with them on Facebook and looking at their pictures and clicking their links and reading funny stories about their cats or whatever, they feel more like the normal people I always forget they are. It works out in their favor, because now they can be real-friends with awesome people like you without worrying about you asking for an autograph or something.

3. Everybody's not super competitive and angry at each other
I've mentioned this before, but one of my favorite things about speech and debate is that everybody really likes everybody else. I sometimes look at online acquaintances and think, wow, I beat her in a debate round but she doesn't hate me. That's super awesome of her. Or, wow, that guy's way better at speech than I am, but he still wants to be my friend. That, kids, is awesome.

You're homeschooled. "I can be your friend." (VeggieTales ftw)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Those People At Tournaments That You Sort Of Know

One fine day, I was innocently minding my own business outside of an impromptu room at a tournament. The room I was sitting in was connected to a ton of other rooms where a ton of speeches were going on. A lot of other people were waiting to go too. Some kids were sitting on the ground in circles with kids that they knew, but I didn't know anyone there so I was kind of a loner. But then I noticed something about one of the kids in the circle nearest me. It was his nametag I noticed. No, it probably didn't have any pretty decorations. I noticed his name. That's the great thing about nametags: they have people's names on them. Maybe you knew that already. Anyway, as soon as I saw his name, I thought to myself, Oh, hey, I know that guy!

I kind of didn't know him though. I mean, I hadn't ever talked to him before and I didn't recognize him. I just sort of knew him from seeing his name online. I feel like a stalker saying that, but it's true. Now we're friends, so it's not weird that I know his name any more. Which is good.

If you're anything like me, there are probably approximately 1 billion people who you see at each tournament that you kind of know and kind of don't. You've seen their speeches, but you've never talked to them. You've debated them, but you're not entirely sure they know who you are. You're not really friends, you're sort of "acquaintances." Who knows, maybe someday you will know them. I know a ton of people who I only sort of knew a year ago. It's pretty sweet.

What about you? Do you have people who you kind of know and kind of don't?

You're homeschooled, and I sort of knew that already.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Postie's Jig

Postie's Jig (or "Postie's") has nothing to do with being homeschooled, being in speech and debate, or even being a kid. However, people who meet all three requirements tend to be fond of English Country Line Dancing. I guess it's better than the dancing public schoolers do. If you're not familiar with Postie's, it's quite the phenomenon. To a beginner, it seems a sort of beautiful chaos. 
"Okay, ready? FISHHOOK. You, over here. You're a post. You're a dancer. You go there. Hold hands with her. Girls go under, guys go over. Now go with the post. Now hold hands, and the couple closest to the music goes over... NO, OVER! Don't crash! ...never mind. Okay, girls, under, guys, over, post, go, SQUIGGLY. Ok... CAST OFF. Noowww, fishhook!"
And the game goes on. Or dance. Whatever.
It's very confusing. My first time doing Postie's, I was a mess. This one girl in my group would occasionally grab me by the shoulders and push me off in the direction I should go. It was very helpful. My second time was not much better. But my third, oh man. Something clicked. I now see the appeal in Postie's. 
If you don't know Postie's, ask a homeschooler to teach you. It's quite the adventure. We're obsessed with it. Four times in one night? Sure. Total exhaustion? Bring it.
You're homeschooled. Five, six, seven, eight, cast-off!

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.