By Jake Lawson
Speech and Debate. After reading that, you probably already don’t want to read this article, so if you read this sentence and/or plan to read the rest of this article, you’re pretty cool. Speech and Debate are fun and they’re not what you think! Okay, so I’m pretty much killing my chances of you reading this article, but this article is still happening and you’re still reading it so I guess I’m winning, if we’re being honest.
Speech and Debate are two teams at our school that are pretty under-advertised and have the most (usually incorrect) assumptions made about them. This article isn’t meant to tell you about how great Speech and Debate are (even though they are pretty great), but rather my attempt to be a mythbuster about the super-rad groups that are Speech and Debate.
Honestly, I could write this article from my own perspective, about all the misconceptions about Speech, but I thought it would make more sense to talk to some really cool people who happen to be members of the Speech or Debate teams.
Because I’m a journalist, I interviewed a few people, new and old, in order to get their personal expectations and experiences with Speech or Debate, and I got some pretty great answers.
I asked: What did you expect from Speech/Debate (practices, tournaments) when you joined and what is different from your original expectations?
“I expected to have this big, formal, fancy, like ceremony thing, but it’s more like a normal gathering with a few students and a judge, and it was way less intimidating than I thought.” -Caroline Tandrup, Speech
Typically, speeches are given in front of 5-7 other people and one judge in a fairly small room. Also, there’s a huge chance that someone else in your round will probably mess up, so even if you do, you probably won’t be alone. And you’ll probably never see them again, so, who really cares?
“When I first joined debate, I thought that I would magically learn all about current events. I have learned a lot about current events, but I have also learned to lie and pretend to be smart.” -Morgan Apostle, Debate Captain
“At first, I expected a bunch of really intelligent people wearing suit who said really smart things, and now I know that they just pretend to say really smart things.” -Logan Noel, Debate
People expect everyone on Debate to be overly political and intelligent, but as made obvious by both a Debate Captain and her Debate partner, that is not always the case.
“Speech is like a pineapple, it’s all scary and prickly on the outside, but once you cut it open, it all sweet and yellow and delicious.” -Clara Spars