I slept until 11:30 today.
I have had an incredibly tiring week.
Tiring, but fun.
We were to leave for Milwaukee at one o’ clock on Tuesday. Sunday afternoon, I was cram-learning biology vocab when someone called me. Specifically, Calvin and guess what he wanted? A debate partner. As in, he asked me to be his debate partner. My first response was, “No!!!” Why on earth would I say, “Yes” to debating with him in 3 days? I had never debated before and frankly, I stink at making up speeches on the spot. However, after he told me the whole story, I knew that I had to say yes. I was being given the opportunity to help a friend and to learn how to debate. I was worried what people would say when I failed, but everyone was so glad that I had even agreed to do it.
On Monday, Calvin came over and I read the case and we discussed cross-ex and what exactly I would be doing. It seemed do-able. And once again, he told me that he wasn’t expecting us to win. He was just so glad that I was even doing this.
Technically, I had no reason to be nervous. No one was expecting ANYTHING of me. As long as I read the case and gave my 1-2 speeches they were happy. Even if I stunk. So, I didn’t freak out. Yet.
Tuesday, Calvin drove down with us and we worked some more on cross-ex. I had issues with cross-ex. The basic gist of cross-ex is that you come up with questions, regarding your opponent’s last speech (or case). These questions are meant to reveal a flaw or just for informative purposes. I could not come up with any. See, the problem is, I am an optimist. I tend to see the best in everything. You wanna abolish Mandatory Minimums, sounds great. Oh, you wanna keep them? Okay, let’s keep ’em. It’s not that I don’t have OPINIONS, it’s just that I don’t have opinions about these things. Mandatory Minimums, Civil Asset Forfeiture, Exclusionary Rule. First, I need an explanation of what it is, then I’m supposed to find out why we need to get rid of or keep it? Seriously? Anyway, for two hours, Calvin tried and tried. My cross-ex questioning usually lasted for about 30 seconds and consisted of questions such as: “What is you first mandate (not that you didn’t just read it 30 seconds ago)?”, or “Could you please tell me the date of such-and-such piece of evidence?” It was lame and slightly embarrassing. I disliked it. But what was I to do? I had no choice; whether or not I wanted to cross-examine I would have to and that was that.
Tuesday night, we went to script submission where we turned in our scripts and then went out for dinner with the rest of our speech club. The restaurant we went to was really awesome and it was so nice to just talk with my friends and not freak out about anything. After that, we went to the hotel and then Elizabeth (a friend and one of the girls in our club) and Abby practiced their speeches until 10:30. I was tired and ready to sleep.
But when the lights were finally out, sleep wouldn’t come. I could NOT stop stressing out about debate. I cried and cried and finally fell to sleep.
Wednesday morning, dark and early, we were up and ready to go over to the Tommy Thompson Center by 7. After announcements at 7:30, we had our first debate round. Praise the Lord, we were affirmative. I read the case and then I also had to give one of my own speeches. The team we went up against was REALLY good, but they were impressed that this was my first debate round and said I did great for my first time ever. As you can imagine, this was very encouraging.
The way a tournament works, is that the first day the schedule is like this:
Debate Round 1, Speech Round (pattern a) 1, Debate Round 2, Speech Round (pattern b) 1, Debate Round 3, Speech Round (pattern a) 2, Debate Round 4.
Each round is 2 hours long, so by the time you get to the second debate round it’s already past 11 and your day isn’t even halfway over. It’s stressful and by far, the worst day of the tournament.
I did fairly well in my first debate round and my first speech round, in which I gave my persuasive, went fabulously. My second debate round (first negative round) went not quite so well but I didn’t worry too much. The first pattern B speech round, in which I gave my Open Interp, went great as well. The third Debate Round was incredibly fun and easy because we were up against a not-so-good team. But after that, I was ready to be done. My last speech round of the day went fine but by then it was 5:30 and I had gotten 6 hours of sleep the night before. Needless to say, my last debate round was horrific. I didn’t understand what the case was, i couldn’t come up with any cross-ex questions, Calvin was tired, I was tired, the judge was bored. Bla bla bla. It was horrible.
When we finally got to the hotel, I dropped into bed.
The next morning was bad. I was so tired I thought I was going to puke. After my horrific round the night before, I was fine with never again setting foot into a debate round, but I didn’t have that choice. To make things worse, we were negative. But, it was the best round of the whole tournament. I definitely enjoyed it the most. The whole debate thing just clicked–finally. We were evenly matched against a team and it was just so so fun. Speech rounds went well and our last debate round was magnificent. I used up all my cross-ex time as well as, all my speech time. After that round (which we won), Calvin told me that he had had two goals for me:
1) To use up all my time
2) To be more assertive
and that I had reached both of them. I was so grateful that those two rounds had been so great.
Throughout the tournament, I realized that cross-ex was in fact my favorite part of debate. It started out my least favorite. But there’s just something about it. It’s so satisfying to have a really revealing question. It’s so exciting to use up all your time. It’s so fun to answer their questions and win the argument. It’s fun to be respectfully rude. I just ♥ it.
We didn’t break in debate. Calvin was disappointed and I was relieved. Had someone asked me if I thought there was even a possibility of breaking, on Sunday I would have said no. But as we debated, and grew better and better. I realized there was actually a chance of our winning. Likewise, Calvin didn’t think we would win any of our debates; if we were lucky, we might win one. He never even entertained the idea of us breaking, until we got good. There were two round that we knew we had won for sure. There were two rounds that we knew we had lost for sure, and there were two that could have gone either way. You have to go 4-2 to win and there was a possibility of that happening. So, my point is although it was unlikely, it could’ve happened. And that would mean I had to debate at Regionals. No thank you. Don’t get me wrong! I love to debate. It’s so exhilarating. But, debating at Regionals, this year at least, doesn’t sound like fun to me.
The following morning, I broke in my Persuasive. Yes! I had wanted to and I knew there was a possibility, but I didn’t know if it would actually happen. When they said my name in morning announcements, I was so shocked all I could do was stand there with my hands on my face and go, “omigosh!!!!!!!!!!omigosh!!!!!!!!omigosh!!!!!!!” Yes, it was a VERY intellectual moment! 😛
I broke to semifinals so I gave my speech another time. But I didn’t break to finals, so after that, I just hung out with my two friends, Bekah and Maddie. We were so tired. By late afternoon, we were ready to curl up on a couch and sleep. I actually would’ve done that but there wasn’t really any quiet place to go. In the end, we sat in a little room and listened to music on my iPod. I drew on the sole of my high heel which had broken off. We were quite a sight. Two of my other friends who had broken to finals, wanted us to watch their speeches. Truthfully, the LAST thing I wanted to do was watch two more speeches but I am so glad I did. They were both biographical narratives and they were so inspiring!!! Mr. Law bought Bekah, Maddie, and I coffee (my second frappucino of the day) and it worked. After our coffee, we had so much energy, we ran up and down 4 flights of stairs–twice! 🙂
At awards, I got recognized for breaking and that was really exciting for me!!
So, what’s next for me? Now, I’m writing a biographical narrative. I love my running persuasive, but I want to write a moving speech. I feel strongly about running and I do think other people should as well, but I want to write a speech that will make people cry, I want to write a speech so moving that it will influence my listeners, even after they have seen 20 more biographical narratives. There’s a big difference between a light and fun running persuasive and a moving and inspiring speech on Joni Erickson Tada. You know? So, I’m going to write a biographical narrative about Katie Davis and I hope that it will be moving. I got a book from Mrs. Jones written by Katie Davis. She lives in Uganda and has 14 adopted children. Her life is so inspiring and when I read that book I cried. I wish that I could just read the book to my judges because it is such an amazing story and so well-written.
So, I’m writing a biographical narrative about Katie Davis and I am fixing my running persuasive and I am (hopefully) dropping my open interp. And I am going to regionals!!! And I am doing debate next year. LD probably, possible TP with Abby, it depends. Right now, I’m leaning towards LD cause it’s shorter…but we’ll see.
One of the many reasons I am glad I did debate at this tournament is because I got to meet so many people that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Calvin is in a different club than I am, so I met a bunch of people from his club. Also, it was fun to be able to talk about debate with them. Like, “Yes, I am so cool cause I debate and I know what you’re talking about!!!” 😀
Another exciting fact about the tournament?
Abby didn’t break in any of her speeches or in debate. She was very sad about this and so was I because, personally, I think all her speeches are good enough to break. She was mostly upset that she didn’t break in debate cause she LOVES to debate. I also think it was hard that I broke and she didn’t.
Except that she did!!!
After the awards, when we got our ballots from ALL the rounds, she discovered that they had won 4 of their rounds and lost 2, thus qualifying them for regionals. After a little research by the debate coordinators, early this morning, Abby recieved an email that she and her partner had broken (they’d made a mistake) and get to go to regionals!!! 😀
Today? I slept till 11:30, did school, took a shower, ran 4 miles, did school, ate dinner, and worked on my biographical narrative…kinda!! 🙂
It was the perfect relaxing day after a strenuous week.