Monday, April 30, 2012


Before I did debate, there were numerous things I found really, really funny about it. One of those things was a concept I now know is called "double-tagging." To a flowing debater, it's actually very convenient. You know what to write down because the speaker says it twice. If you didn't catch the tag the first time, he'll say it again. It's very helpful. I see that now. But to a mere observer who doesn't know how to flow and can't remember what "Solvency" means, it's hilarious. I knew that whatever was said twice must have been important (why else would you say it twice?) but that was all I understood about double-tagging.

Besides allowing the other team to catch your arguments, double-tagging has some other handy advantages as well:

1. More time
EvidentlyItalkfastindebatewhoknewright? Well, I know this now because my 1AC would always go way shorter than it was supposed to. The solution? Double-tag everything important. Slowly. It's a great tool. It takes lots of time, which is why I don't always double-tag in the 1AR.

2. Wake up the judges
Debate is sort of boring when judges have been judging it for the past three days. The easy way to get them back into the round is to double-tag. The important stuff is the stuff you say twice, so they know to write it down. Even I knew that.

3. A chance to make eye contact
Debate is a lot of reading. This makes it hard to look at the judges, unless you memorized your evidence, which I never did intentionally. So, be sure to make eye-contact during the second tagline. And try to look up at other times too, because no one will actually see you because they'll be writing down your tag.

4. A friendly reminder that everyone is listening to you
This is your speech. You are the one they're listening too. In fact, even if you start repeating yourself, they're still going to listen to you and only you. Muahahaha!

Double-tagging is not only funny, but also kind of fun! Allow me to demonstrate:

You're homeschooled.
You're homeschooled.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Ways People React When You're Practicing

I do a great deal of practicing speeches at tournaments. I used to be the find-an-empty-wall type of speaker, and while I still am, I don't always need walls anymore. Now, I just talk to myself wherever I'm standing: in the hall, waiting for postings, waiting in line at the snack table, waiting for meals... You get the idea. I'm at a competition right now, in fact, and have practiced all three of the speeches I've got here at some point today. The reactions I get both here and previously are absolutely priceless. Here's a few I've seen over the years:

1. Feeling Awkward
These people kind of look at you, and kind of don't. They make eye contact long enough to realize that you're talking to no one, and then look away. You're crazy and should not be messed with.

2. Interrupting You
One time, I was practicing my Persuasive for a friend of mine who doubles as my Persuasive coach and another friend randomly walked up and hugged me, not realizing what I was doing. I stopped mid-sentence to say, "Um. Hi." before someone explained what I was doing. Then he left. Also, sometimes people realize you're practicing, so they walk up cautiously and stand for a few seconds. You see them, but you're practicing, so you don't acknowledge them for a bit until things get awkward and you let them interrupt to say hi or chat about the weather and the speeches you have or whatever. Or they'll interrupt to ask if you're sane.

3. Staring
I'm sorry, but if you practice speeches by talking to yourself (like I do), you're kind of a freak. Have you ever stared at someone who had weird hair, or extremely tall shoes, or who went to public school? Then you can understand why people stare at you. Or maybe it's just a good speech.

4. Trying Hard To Ignore You
Within the course of today, I had the same group of kids walk by while I was practicing on three different occasions. They must certainly think I am crazy, but they tried to pretend like they didn't see me. I happen to know some of them are quite crazy themselves, so maybe they are genuinely immune to other absurdities. Regardless, they didn't act like they saw me until I awkwardly waved.

5. Laughing Because You're Weird
And do you blame then? It's funny to see people talking to themselves. Especially interpers. Talk about multiple personalities.

6. Laughing Because They're Practicing Too
I have developed a tendency to walk around in circles while practicing platforms. Other people do stuff like that too, practicing while walking through hallways, perhaps on their way to a room or perhaps walking just to practice. It's funny when you're doing the same thing and you make eye contact and then smile and laugh because you're both talking to yourselves together.

Whether the reactions you get amused, startled, or extremely concerned, practicing speeches at tournaments is totally worth it. Not only is it very helpful, but you get to be amused by other people as well. Not just the people who are watching you, but you're encouraging others to practice too. Then you can laugh at them. Cool.

You're homeschooled. Get practicing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Acting Really Extra Super Nice In Rounds

I have had several really bizarre rounds, and I've only debated 24 rounds in competition in my entire life.
Huh. That's weird. When I put it that way, it sounds like a lot, but I had intended for it not to. Weird.

Anyway, this year was my first in debate, so I haven't been debating that long, clearly. But of course, as evidenced by every other post, I still notice some occurrences that frequently occur in-round. And, of course, the exceptions.

One such exception was at my second debate competition ever. I was under the impression that us CHSADKs always acted really extra super nice in rounds. That is generally true. Perhaps that's why I was so taken aback in the first Cross-Ex, right after my 1AC. And then when I got up to Cross-Ex the next guy. These debaters had a strange habit of YELLING REALLY LOUD. Some might call it passion. I called it "scary." I seem to have blocked most of my memories during that round, but I definitely recall one conversation.

Other Guy: So you're saying that YOUR ONLY PIECE OF EVIDENCE under that advantage IS FROM A BIASED. SOURCE.
Me: (here I got mad.) NO.
Other Guy: (visibly shocked in my imagination.)
Me: That is not a biased source because [awesome comeback] and that is not our only piece of evidence.
Other Guy: (probably gritting teeth) Nofurtherquestions.

And his partner yelled at me in my Cross-Ex too. :(
Without even thinking, I stepped back as soon as he raised his voice. Perhaps it was to exaggerate our height difference in the eyes of the judge, so I looked even smaller. I don't know. Then my voice got really high, and I responded to him verryy slowwlly, like I talk to the kids I babysit when they're about to throw a tantrum. It was a weird reaction, but it worked.

What startled me so much about this round is that most of the people I have debated have always been really extra super nice to me in rounds. And I try to be really extra super nice too, especially against less-experienced teams. It's a lot more fun that way. There have been so many instances where I have had to remind myself (and my partner) simply to be nice. It's cool when the judges notice and your speaker points reflect, but it's much cooler when the other person/team is nice right back at ya, and then everyone's nice and charming and smiley and happy and stuff.

We're good kids, aren't we? That's rhetorical. You could leave a comment and answer if you want, though. But really, I mean it. We're good kids. We're nice even to the people we're competing against. I love that about us. Way to set a good example, other people.

But I didn't really tell you the end of that one story I told you a few paragraphs ago. See, as it turns out, those two guys are actually very nice, just not in rounds, where they tend to be very, uh... intense. I didn't like them much after that round, but they totally redeemed themselves later on, just in case you were curious.

You're homeschooled. Be nice. I know I don't have to tell you twice.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Your Friends Watch You Speak

If there is anything better than strangers going to a room specifically to watch you speak, it has to be when your friends do that very thing. I've always loved how supportive we are of each other. And what better way to support a friend's speech career than to go watch them? Granted, sometimes we get nervous when other people watch us, at least at the beginning. But generally, we get over that and love it when people care enough to come and see us.

An alumni friend of mine came to a tournament where I was competing last year. He met me on the way to my duo room.
"Hey, I'm coming to watch to your duo, so it'd better be funny."
"Oh, well, it's not."
"It's not?"
"No, it's actually really depressing."

Then he looked really sad later.
Ok, maybe that wasn't the best example. I mean, he did go specifically to see me, but maybe he was just feeling depressed from the speech. Sometimes people watch my sad speeches and feel depressed, and then I feel like giving them a hug.

But there are tons and tons and tons of other times my wonderful friends have watched me speak and been happy after, which is always very great. And yea, they still make me nervous. And I love it anyway.

Face it: if you're in a speech and debate league for Christian homeschoolers and have managed to make a friend or two, chances are you're friends with some seriously talented people. Why would you not want to watch them? Also, chances are that if you're in this league, you like having the attention on you. Not in a prideful, vain sort of way, but in a I-like-performing-and-communicating sort of way. Isn't that why we're here?

Another reason we're here (besides to speak) is to hear speeches! That's one of the best parts! Don't you love it when your friends fill up a room for you? Or when you get to fill up a room for your friend?

You're homeschooled. I'm feeling the love.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Student Snack Table- Hannah Socolofsky

(Pleaaasssee welcome, one of my good friends who is not only fantastic, but one of this here blog's very first readers: Hannah Socolofskyyyyy!)
The student snack table at tournaments is the light of my existence.  And the bane of my existence, too.  But we won’t go there.  *herm*
If you’re a CHSADK, you’ve probably at least seen, if not taken advantage of, the student snack table.  I mean, come on!  Who doesn’t like a table that has tiny cups of food on it and smiling ladies sitting there behind it???  You’d have to be crazy not to occasionally hang out by The Table.  
There are five types of people at tournaments:  

1.The Glutton
Another name for this person is . . . well, me.  This is the person who takes way too many little cups of Cheez-its and pretzels and red vines . . . simply because they are there.  You’re not necessarily hungry.  You’re not necessarily bored.  You see food.  You nab it.  It’s an instinct.  

2. The Sharer
This is the person who oh-so-very kindly takes only one or two dixie cups of food and gives one to a friend.  This just about makes the day of the person on the receiving end.  Also, the less food you take from The Table, the more there is for others.  See?  Sharing skills.  

3. The Food Snob
This is the person who doesn’t even know that the snack table exists, and even when they do, don’t take advantage of it.  They have a cooler full of yummy snacks they’re familiar with.  There’s a Jamba Juice around the corner.  Who needs infinitesimal cups filled with unhealthy junk food?  

4. The Stalker
This person usually has radar attached to their head.  Whenever the student snack table moves, they freak out until their radar locates it again.  Once The Table is found, their peace of mind is back.  (NOTE:  See # 1) 
I have yet to meet a stalker, but I’m sure there’s one out there.  I mean, I have a momentary heart attack every time I see the snack table gone.  My mind goes into panic survival mode as it gasps for lack of junk food.  Surely I’m not the only one.  Right?  RIGHT??  *sighs* Ratz.  

5. The Sneaker
No, I don’t mean the shoe.  This is a different sneaker.  It’s a sneak-er.  This is the person who always feels slight guilty going to the snack table because they know that their mom would have a heart attack if she knew what they were filling up on.  Because they never get these snacks at home, they gorge on them at tournaments.  Do you do this?  Viola.  You are a Sneaker.   
The student snack table was a brilliant idea.  There is food.  Kids work hard at tournaments.  They need sustenance.  Hence, the student snack table.  The ladies kindly sit there in the hot sun refilling Dixie cups all day simply for the benefit of the students.  How kind is that?  
Next time you see the student snack table, go up and thank the ladies for what they do.  Where would you be without them?  Yes, that’s right.  You would be rummaging in your cooler, eating HEALTHY stuff.  Blecchhkk.  
You’re homeschooled.  Eat yourself into a food coma.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stereotyping Competitors Based On Their Events

Sometimes I'm tempted to stereotype our competitors based on events. Which is what I decided to call this post. "Stereotyping Competitors Based On Their Events." Snazzy, right?

Anyway, I'm not sure when this started, but I guess it did. It couldn't have been my novice year, because I didn't really know anything then. Maybe this year. Or last year. Either way, at some point in my life, I got into the habit of anthropomorphizing each IE and debate event. These personifications are basically descriptions of what the people in them probably do and say. Are they accurate? Well, see for yourself:

TPers like to talk fast, give arguments that make sense half the time but always sound really intelligent, and argue about anything and everything. LDers, on the other hand, are incredibly philosophic and don't have to say much at all for you to hold them in the highest respect because whatever they just said with those big, smart-sounding words has got to be true. People who do Impromptu, much like TPers, never stop talking. They could talk about anything and everything and know all kinds of historical figures like the back of their hands and Never. Stop. Talking about them. People who do Apologetics can also talk at length, but about really important things that would hurt the Impromptu people's brains, like the meaning of the monotheistically-given decalogue found in the pentateuch and its relation to soteriology and the parsimonious idiosyncratic significance thereof and you'll be way too confused to realize that that last sentence didn't make any sense at all. The Extempers are also really confusing, but they like to talk about entire countries you've never heard of and all sorts of breaking news that will probably be in the papers a week from now because they are that on top of things. The DI people cry a lot; the HI people laugh a lot; the OI people don't do anything except, I don't know, open doors and drawers and other things. Boxes, maybe. The Persuasive people are passionately convicted in every area imaginable and want you to be passionately convicted as well. The Original Oratory speakers talk and talk and talk much like the Impromptu-ers, but not about people- they just talk about abstract concepts, kind of like the LDers, but the OOers are way easier to understand. The Expos people fidget nervously if they aren't holding or pointing at anything. And the people who do Wildcards are kind of what the event sounds like: wild and bouncing off the walls. Very impulsive. Kinda seems like you'd have to be to do an event that only lasts a year.

Do you know anyone who fits any of those categories? Yea, you might. Like two people. I know one guy who's the TPer. Ok, two guys, but one actually did LD so he probably shouldn't count. There is, of course, the annoying fact that the vast majority of CHSADKs compete in more than one event. Then again, we already knew that interpers have multiple personalities, so I guess it's ok to fit more than one stereotype.

So yea. Basically, these stereotypes probably are not all that true ever, but isn't that what's fun? Like I mentioned recently, anybody can do speech and debate. Sure, we're a lot alike in a lot of ways. But we're all crazy and different, and that's cool.

You're homeschooled, so you're probably crazy too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Unlikely Competitors

So, one time, I was standing outside this DI room trying to get into character, right, and since everybody knows that the D in DI stands for Depressing, I'm feeling kinda down, but then this kid who had to be like, 12, rides up to me on a scooter, and I'm thinking, "Why is he riding a scooter to a DI room?" and then the kid says, "Hey, d'you have a DI?" and I'm like, "Yea," and he's like, "Hey, me too," and I'm thinking, really? So then the kid rides away and comes back and he says to me, "Hey, what place did you get at the last tournament?" and pretty soon I'm hearing how he did really well this one time, and I'm thinking, really? This random twelve-year old on a scooter did that well in DI?


He was very sweet and uber friendly and may very well have been a very gifted interper, but I was definitely caught off-guard. When you think of people who do DIs, you generally think of girls who cry a lot. If you think of a guy, you think of a guy who gets tortured and screams a lot or something. But that's not going to be your first thought, and a little guy on a scooter is going to be nowhere on that list. That's one thing I love about homeschool forensics: the unlikely competitors.

My mom and I noted once during my first year that speech and debate is one of those rare activities that is not dominated by either girls or guys. I mean, think about it. It's not like guys do TP and girls do LD and guys do Limited Prep and girls do Interps, ect. Though all of those things are true, the reverse is just as true. Girls do TP and guys do LD and girls do Limited Prep and guys do Interps and they rock at it. It's really cool. Anyone can enter any event and it's not weird or unusual or frowned upon. Unless somebody with a lot of experience did Novice Impromptu or something, but that's beside the point. Novice aside, anyone can do anything, and, more awesomely, anyone can do well at anything. Like the kid on the scooter.

Last year, as a first-time-Humorous-Interper who happens to be female, I was a bit distraught to discover firsthand that HI is a guy event. According to speechranks last year, I was 22nd in the nation in HI. 20 of the people above me are guys. At least I think they are. Some of them have weird names like "Chandler" where it's hard to tell. But this year, things are a little different. At the first tournament I went to this year, half the finalists in HI were girls. It was so cool. We're totally taking it back. At least, we think we are. Sure, guys are generally better at HI because they can do weird things and make weird faces and act like girls and it's funny. Sure, I may have been an unlikely competitor doing my HI which was totally not a typical "girl piece" (much like most of my speeches) competing against a bunch of guys. Sure, I feel like an unlikely competitor every time I wind up on the stage next to this one guy in HI who is literally 17 inches taller than me. But you know what? That's ok. It works out.

Like I said, no matter how unlikely it may seem, anyone can do whatever they want to. I, a diehard interper, can do impromptu despite my former great fear of it. TPers can rock LD. Extemp people can win DI. It's pretty awesome.

You're homeschooled. You can do anything.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Doing Things Homeschoolers Shouldn't Do

I have a confession. This week is my spring break, and I'm not doing school or much of anything. Nope. Lots of my friends are leaving for various tournaments this week, but not me. Instead, I read Harry Potter for a few hours today. Yes, I admit it. The Series-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named is one of my absolute favorites. These books have been kind of shunned throughout much of the homeschool community. Sure, some of us read them, but not a ton. Once I heard of somebody who did a duo on The Sorcerer's Stone. (If you're not American, it's The Philosopher's Stone. If you're a Muggle, it's the first book.) My aunt was judging that round. She was a community judge and a fellow fan of Harry Potter, so she didn't object. She just thought it was weird. But surely, you must protest, homeschool-stereotype rebelness must extend beyond simply reading and giving speeches? And it's true. We also sometimes watch Harry Potter movies.

Two of my good friends introduced me to the term "HSA" and its counterpart, "non-HSA." Actually, it would be more accurate to say that they used the term around me again and again until I finally figured out what it meant. Here, I'll give you some examples. See if you can figure it out.

"That song talks about a guy and a girl wanting to hold hands. It's very non-HSA."
"This blog mentions books Mom said I can't read. Sooo not HSA."
"This movie is rated G. Nothing is scary. No one lies to their parents. No one ditches school. No one listens to modern music with lyrics and a beat, only music that was written for organs and hymnals. There isn't even a villain, so we have no danger of being indoctrinated with dualistic teachings. It's very HSA."

Any guesses? You might have figured it out, or you might even be familiar with the term from a previous encounter: HSA = HomeSchool Appropriate. It's a very handy abbrevation. Much humourousness has come out of it.

So what other stuff that is generally considered non-HSA do we enjoy? Well, we do occasionally watch PG-13 movies. I know, I know, I'll give you a second to throw your hand over your mouth in horror or faint in shock or whatever you do. Are you back? Ok, good. C'mon homeschoolers. Ever seen Pirates of the Caribbean? I'm gonna take that as a "probably." And don't tell me you've never watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I will not believe you haven't for a minute unless you're telling the truth. Highly unlikely. And, as you know, some of us even saw The Hunger Games, and, as is demonstrated by many, many emails I keep getting from an online-forum-like-thing for homeschool nerds who act like LDers, then engaged in heated discussions about it. We're just like that. We're rebels and we'll never ever be any different.

Let's see, what else? Oh yea. Homeschoolers aren't supposed to party. But we do. We totally do. Ever been swing dancing? What about English Country Line Dancing? Talk about a party right there. What about a research party? I went to a debate research party once. It was a bunch of kids on computers looking up stuff for this case we were considering. It was quite exciting. And if that doesn't sound like more fun that a person could possibly comprehend, let me tell you about this extemp research party my friends had last week. Actually, I won't. I wasn't actually there. I don't actually do extemp. But it was probably a pretty mind-blowing party. I mean, you know how extemp is: mind-blowing. They call us anti-social, but psssh. What do they know? We're so social, it's ridiculous. Why, just a minute ago, I said something to my sister. And my mom. Boom. I win.

We get a kick out breaking the unofficial rules someone else made up for us. We defy stereotypes and exceed expectations left and right. We're that cool.

You're homeschooled. Go do something crazy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Your First Time in Finals

I remember my first time in finals like it was only 859 days ago, on February 20, 2010, shortly after 1:15 in room D215 where I was assigned 4th speaker but actually went first because I was the only one there. I just have a really good memory like that. And I write postings on my iPod.

Anyway, the point is, I remember my first time in finals. Who wouldn't? I remember being absolutely shocked when my name was called and being speechless, somewhat ironically. I remember the kid standing in front of me turning around to congratulate me and me nodding emphatically as a way of saying, "THANK YOU!!" I remember doing my DI for the 5th time ever in competition before a group of judges and like, three other people, and then going to watch duos with everyone else. I remember a bunch of awesome people taking 1st-7th and me taking 8th place and being ecstatic.

I remember my friend's first time in finals. She joined the same year I did, and she's a fantastic interper, but hadn't ever gotten past semis in her first two years, which is certainly not bad but I couldn't help feeling like she deserved to go farther. Then, this last year, she did! I was pretty excited for her, but I started jumping up and down and hugging her simultaneously in my excitement when I heard it was her first time! I didn't even care anymore that my speech didn't break at all. I just cared about my friend. Your first time in finals is really cool, and I was so so happy for her.

Breaking to finals is a great feeling. Especially if it's early on in your career and you can presumably only go up from there. After all, you've probably still got a few years left. Or even if you don't, it feels good to finally reach that sometimes-seemingly unattainable goal. Especially if they have tall trophies. Trophies are the fun part, after all. We all want them, even if they aren't the most important thing and all that other stuff that people who have a lot of them will say. It's fun to have a trophy or two to put on the bookshelf. Especially if your competition was stiff, and especially if it was your first trophy ever. You only get one first time. Make it awesome.

You're homeschooled, and you nevereverever forget your first time in finals.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

People Who Yell Things At Awards Ceremonies

As you know, everyone is usually really tired by the time the awards ceremony rolls around. However, that doesn't mean we don't get excited about how our friends do and big trophies and sideshow pictures with people we know in them and stuff. Nope, we're probably even more hyper due to the loss of sleep and therefore lack of sanity. The most excited people tend to be really vocal about it. 
You know what I mean, right? I mean that guy who screams out, "That's my sister!" every time she does well, the girl who yells, "That's my brother!" whenever he goes on the stage, and the debater/interper who alerts everyone that "That's my partner!" which is not a good idea if you're on the stage with them. They would be mad if you yelled in their ear. Everyone knows anyway. Otherwise, go ahead. I can only think of one time someone has yelled something for me, and it's kind of an interesting story. See, as I was getting my award for HI, my friend (I'm not positive, but I think I know who it was) shouted out, "Chandler is estupido!" which sounds really mean, but if you have seen my HI, you'll get it. If you haven't seen it, perhaps because you live in another state or Canada or got here by accident after looking up VeggieTales on the Internet, in my humorous speech, I have a character who is told she is "estupido," but she thinks that means stupendous, so really my friend probably meant it in a nice way. There, I just gave away the best joke in a way that was likely 10x less funny. Sorry. You should watch the speech anyway; the 2nd best joke is probably good too.
Sometimes it's not even something specific that we shout. Sometimes it's just a simple "AAAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGGGHHHHHH" whenever the announcer guy thanks your mom or your coach or gives your favorite timer a pen or something. (Yes, I do have a favorite timer. I believe he knows who he is.) And that's good too. You probably meant something good when you were screaming whatever it was in the ears of some annoyed parent in the row ahead. So we forgive you. 
The key to screaming out at awards ceremonies is simple: don't over do it. I realize if your brother gets 90th in impromptu at a competition with over 200 people, that's cool, 'cause he gets a checkmark. But seriously, if you scream, 80 other people who don't need to be yelling are going to be yelling too. On the other hand, if your sister wins an event, please scream your head off. Seriously. That would be great. I did didn't scream when my sister won an event though. I cried. <3
Anyway, if you really want to scream something at the next tournament I'm at, feel free to yell "Happy Birthday SCHSADKL!" if I'm on stage because SURPRISE. It's our birthday!! I feel like all the sentimentalness came out here, so if you missed it, go read that post I linked to. Also, here's a link to the first post. It's really short. Silly author.