Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Thomas Rolls to the Finals

Speech and Debate is a major activity for our family.  All the children still in school participate.  Speech is for the younger ones and debate is for the high schoolers.  This year that means Thomas.  He loves debate!!!

This year Thomas is back with the same partner as last year.  They work well together.  They spend long hours producing their affirmative case and finding evidence to use when they are negative.
This year the resolutions is that "The US federal government should reform its counterterrorism policy(ies) for the domestic surveillance if US citizens".  This topic is definitely on the front burner of the news and is constantly changing as new evidence comes out.

Thomas and his partner are now advanced debaters and have learned a lot through the last couple years.  They were undefeated going into the finals.

Rounds Start with prayer between the teams.
They faced a tough team of advanced debaters.  It was very ironic as both teams have  similar cases.
The negative team had a lot of arguments and evidence against them.  They had discussed and worked together on their cases on tuesday night at the club meeting.

Cross examination... Go Mikayla!

It was a very closely contested debate.  Their was a panel of five judges for the final round.  Normally, there is just one judge per round.

Abbie chilling 
The final round is done before the whole club.  After a day of debating a lot of people are tired and wanting to relax.  This day had been more stressful than usual even.  After the first round of debate, (There are five.), the electricity went out.  Most of the rounds were moved to rooms with windows to utilize natural light.  The round I was judging was put into a dark hallway.  The emergency lights were on but they faded to nothing after an hour.  Fortunately, I had a flashlight and headlamp with me.  I keep them around as I use them to go check outside on the critters at night and it is DARK in the country.  I gave the speakers the flashlights so they could read their notes and I used the headlamp so that I could take notes.  The lunch/break room was pitch black except for the cell phones and a few little flashlights.  The coach went out and got some battery charged lanterns so we could see to eat lunch.  The electric was out for over four hours!  Finally, the utility truck came out and switched the breaker on the pole back on.  I think it was the single digit temps that stressed it.

Thomas, looking sneaky during cross examination
 This was a great debate round.  Both teams were educated and there was a lot of 'clash'.  That is a good thing.  It means that the negative team understood the case and was able to argue the issues. This is a lot of fun for debaters. That doesn't always happen.  It is kind of like boxers.  They would rather fight someone who will fight toe-to-toe than one who dances around the ring and won't engage.  Both teams left smiling.

My DH came for the final round and brought us Chipotle for dinner.  He is a big debate fan as well.  It appeals to his intellect.

The final round participants
How did it go?  Perfectly!  In our club there is a 'jinx' associated with winning the club's Round Robin Tournament.  The winner of the Tournament doesn't usually win a tournament during the season.  This has been true for years!  Nobody knows why.  Thomas was happy that they lost 3-2.  It was super close enough to not be an embarrassing lost, but a loss none the less to avoid the stigma.  LOL.  One of the judges was someone that Thomas highly respects and considers a mentor.  This fella is a highly successful debater on the high school and college levels and is now in law school at OSU.  Anyway, on his ballot, he gave Thomas and his partner the win, so all was well in Thomas's world.

 This is the third place team Nick and Rebecca did a great job also.  If you think of it, pray for Rebecca's family.  Their house was severely damaged by fire a couple weeks ago.  It is hard on the family to lose so many family treasures.  All the boy's Legos were melted as well as their clothes burned.  They are rebuilding.  They are currently living in a motel until they can arrange more permanent temporary housing.  They are doing well, but it is still a stressful time. Their homeschool books were stored in plastic totes downstairs, so they survived just fine.

Our first 'real' tournament will be in two weeks.

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