A view from my side.
In addition to XC and Soccer, I coach Debate. This weekend I took our team of Novice debaters to a local tournament. While they have debated in class and afternoons and evenings after school, this year they had yet to attend a tournament. This weekend, they got their wish.
6 teams, composed of 12 students, ranging in grades 9-12, took up their folders and binders and laptops and headed out to compete against 30 other teams. Three preliminary rounds on Friday night had us leaving the tournament around 9:00 p.m., actually kind of early for a first night. We started up again at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning for three more prelim rounds. Given that we had 6 total rounds and 6 total teams, I was able to attend one round for each team. I started with the ones I felt needed the visit early and worked my way up to our top team. Around noon on Saturday, the prelims were over and we waited.
The Break was to Quarter Finals; the top 8 teams of the 36. We had one team break into Quarters. Their draw was the strongest opposing team I had seen so far and I knew our team was in for a battle. I talked to them about what to expect and quizzed them on how they might handle them. Their responses seemed solid and on point, so I confirmed and wished them well. They entered the round prepared, ready and confident. It was close. It was tight. It was a verbal thrust and parry. It was what debate should be. In the end, however, someone must win. Our team won it, on a 3-0 decision. They moved to the Semi Finals.
This is where the Cinderella story comes to an end. They were up against a team that, while technically still a novice team, had been debating at tournaments all year. They were young, but experienced. They were smart, they were talented and they were good. We lost in a 3-0 decision, but it was a good, solid round. The team was disappointed and felt they should have won (good for them!) but it’s hard to argue about a 3-0 loss.
Overall for the tournament, 4 teams were 3-3, one was 4-2 and our top team was 5-1 in the prelims and 1-1 in the elimination rounds, giving us an overall record of 22-16. Our top team made it all the way to the Semi Final round. A member of that team won the 2nd Place Speaker award, out of 64 total speakers, and for her, English is her 2nd language. Not too shabby for a team of 12 novice debaters, 11 in their first tournament ever, and 1 in her second. But they can’t rest on their laurels…this coming Thursday night, they have another night-time debate in front of the student body, parents, and interested community members. They have new topics to research and new cases to write. As always, The Debate Goes On…