Monday, May 7, 2012

When You Realize You're Qualified for Nationals

Judging by the fact that you're reading this, you're probably familiar with how the qualification system for Stoa's National Invitational Tournament of Champions works. It's fairly simple: everybody on who has two green checkmarks (representing finishes in the top 40% or a winning record in debate) in a NITOC event will receive an invitation to compete at Nationals. Oh, and if you're #1 in your state in any given speech event, you can also be invited regardless of checkmarks. Plus they invite the top two TP teams and top two LDers from each state too. And if you have just one checkmark in Original Interp, this year's Wildcard, then you also get invited. Like I said, it's not too complicated, except for when it is. Most people who qualify get there by way of having two green checkmarks, so that's generally what we think of when we think of qualifying for Nationals. It's much simpler that way.

Sometimes, us CHSADK's will find ourselves at a tournament. That actually happens a lot. But what doesn't happen a lot is a certain realization we sometimes get. It goes like this: Whoa. I broke. I just got a checkmark, in addition to the one I already have, making this my second checkmark. OH MY GOSH THAT MEANS I'M QUALIFIED AAAHHH!!!

It's a great feeling.

I remember the first time I realized I was qualified for NITOC. It was actually nothing like the experience I just described. A friend ran up to me at speech club a few days after my first tournament (back when you only needed one check to qualify) and yelled, "CHANDLER. You're qualified for Nationals!!" and I replied, "Oh, ok, awesome!" but I didn't really know what that meant. I asked my coach, and he said that yes, I had indeed qualified. I was surprised. You can qualify after only one tournament? Wow. Cool.

Of course, it's not quite that easy any more. Perhaps that just adds to the excitement. My duo partner and I were at a tournament this year where, before the competition began, the tournament people posted a spreadsheet that showed who was in each event online. The purpose was to double-check for registration, but I took it as a chance to count up all the competitors in my events, do the math, and figure out where the top 40 lines would be drawn. At that tournament, they broke finals and semis at the same time. When they called us for finals, I was super excited because I knew: we were qualified! YAY!! My duo partner, however, didn't quite realize it at first. I turned to face where he was sitting a few seats over and drew a checkmark with my finger. He smiled and gave me a thumbs up. Then, a moment later, his eyes lit up and he whispered, "OH. We're qualified!" That was a wonderful moment. It was pretty much exactly like what I described earlier.

Sometimes, though, people get checkmarks in events, but they don't break, especially in impromptu. Or, maybe they do break, but they're never really sure if they were 4-2 or maybe 3-3 with high speaks. Don't you love seeing that slide at the awards ceremony that has a picture of a checkmark and your name on it? Doesn't it just wipe away all doubt and make your day? It doesn't matter whether you broke or not. If you get a checkmark, especially a second one, you'll be pretty happy.

And then you go home and stalk speechranks for a few days until they put up results. If you weren't convinced you qualified before, now it's official! And if you're still not convinced, wait until you get that NITOC invite. That, my friend, is a great moment.

You're homeschooled. See you at NITOC?


  1. Hahaha I was so excited when I got my first NITOC invite. xD Too bad I can't go...

  2. This was great. The feeling of realizing that you're qualified in any (or all) of your events is the best. I remember at ICC, I was talking with some people and Andrew was like, "Oh guess what you're qualified in Impromptu, OI, and OO now!" and I was like, what? and then i was immediately like, OH COOL AWESOME!! =D =D

    =D This was perfect. I love this feeling. And yes, I will see you at NITOC. =D