Speech And Debate

Things you do in school can help you the rest of your life. Here is one.

Besides playing football in high school I also was in debate and drama too. This showed that I was neither a jock nor a nerd and why I never really fit in at Gainesville High. What I did and liked did not fit the narrow social structure the culture there had and labeled students with for better or worse.

While I did drama I was MUCH better at debate and won District twice with my debate team partners (Kent Barnes and Donald Blanton, each of them did one year ) and went on to Bi-District. But before that success we got our asses beat in my first year. Some do not want kids to ever lose or fail but I think that is stupid since a defeat can be very illustrative and instructional – if you paid attention to who bested you and how they excelled and won can be learned and used for your own efforts. And that is exactly what I did.

Besides learning how to debate being able to think on my feet and “bullshit” – something that ran in the Couch side of the family I think- gave us the edge and we won the first time. Some of the stuck up b*tches who were natives of the town and in other events thought it was a fluke of course but as usual they were wrong.

Now, we got beat early in Bi-District that year but when I was a senior we missed going to State by one round in Regional competition. Oh well, that was a disappointment for sure but we still did well and proved the girls above wrong. They tended to be wrong on most things I and others thought as well.

One thing about debate is that each year there is a different topic you debate on – one year it was the Miranda Warning and the other “Beneficent Euthanasia”. You had to prepare for taking BOTH sides – argue for or against it depending on what you drew. That was challenging but it helps you think logically about something and be able to defend it against the rebuttals of your foes. And sometimes be a bit creative and not just a factual drone. I recall one team in the euthanasia year saying to the judge that we talked about “people “being literally dead” in one of our points. I rebutted pointing out that they had not factually rebutted any of OUR points and therefore THEIR points were “literally dead”. The two girls on the other team nearly started crying and we decidedly won the round plus I remember that as an important lesson too – always support what you say with fact and also a very sharp but polite tongue.

Debate and speech in general, taught me a lot of things I constantly use in my career today. School prepares you for the real world in so many ways. The debate topics appearing in work and life come and go over time but the skills to win those trying rounds remain if you choose to apply the skills you learned each day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: