Monday, August 27, 2012

Walking Out of Rounds With a Smile

There are numerous ways of walking out of a speech or debate round. One is on your feet.

Other ways include disheartenedly, downcastedly, discouragedly, despondently, dismayedly, depressedly, dispiritedly, distressedly, disconsolately, and dolefully. Besides the letter D, the fact that I made most of them up, and the -ly ending, one thing those words have in common is that they're all not cool. We've all had those round that went wrong. You know, that impromptu speech that really didn't go your way. It's 'cause they had quotes, you grumble to yourself as you shuffle down the hallway. I don't like when they have quotes. And what was up with them, anyway? They were all so awful. Or you forget your third point in your platform speech. In the semifinal round. Not fun. Or you had no evidence against that last case, and frankly, no good arguments either. Or you went Neg and your opponent misconstrued what you said in the 2AR to make you look bad and there's nothing you can do at that point.

So you're feeling a little down.

But hey, hold on before too many bad memories resurface. There's a reason we all still play this game, despite the sub-par rounds and disappointing moments. Why? Because some rounds are AWESOME.

Oh yea, and we're learning and stuff and it's going to help us later on in life with speaking publicly so we'll be comfortable and not nervous and smooth and it'll help with critical thinking and learning to see the other side, and talking to people in general, and timed essays on SATS and, and, and... and stuff.

But sometimes, the thing that really keep us going is that amazing feeling you get when you can walk out of a round with a smile on your face. That happened to me at a recent debate camp that also had a practice tournament. I was attempting to squeeze into the ginormous crowd of people at postings, and, when I had made it in front of all those tall people, attempting for forever to find my name on the paper. Seriously, I have a tendency to find the names of every other person I know four times before my own. But I finally did spot it. And my eyes grew wide. You know those rounds when you look at the pairings and feel like praying that it's a typo? That you're not really hitting that person right now, the scary one that everyone knows will go 6-0 and/or win the tournament? Yea, it was one of those times. I took a deep breath, grabbed my bag with my cases and pens in it and headed off to the room. It ended up being the very room where I had done my first ever round in competition all those years ago, and all those nerves were back. But I tried to hide them as I went up to introduce myself to my opponent. As if I didn't already know his name.

In a way, the round kind of flew by. It was actually a lot of fun. I was amazed that I had not only survived, but didn't consider faking my own death to avoid the 1AR. Soon I found myself shaking the judge's hand, timer's hand, negative's hand, packing up and heading out, smiling all the while. Did I think I won the round? Nope. I was a first-timer who had just hit someone amazingly good. But I felt like such a winner. And a happy one at that.

Cheer up. Think of all those great rooms you'll be able to walk out of, grinning ear-to-ear like someone who's just been watching HIs. (in out-rounds. No one thinks HIs are funny in prelims. I don't know why.) We all have those rounds. Maybe not every round, maybe not even every tournament, but they do happen. And they're worth waiting for. Next year is almost here. It'll be fun! And cool! And exciting! And smiley!

You're homeschooled, and you can't say "speech" without a smile. :)

1 comment:

  1. Haha, you're right! I can't say speech without smiling! :D Thank you!