From Getting Laughed at, to 10th in Speaker points

Eduardo Gomez/Staff Writer

”Don’t worry Eddie, they might be laughing because they won right now, but everyone does bad in their first debate, use this as a learning experience and at the end of the season, we’ll be the ones laughing at them.”

Yes, literally laughing, while I was giving a speech.

After the humiliating three losses in my first meet, I realized that I’ll always be bad when I start something new, and that’s fine. But instead of quitting, I looked forward to the next meet so I could do better.

 For the next meet, unfortunately I got COVID-19, so I was locked in my room, and with nothing else to do, I researched for hours to prepare for the debate. Finally when the meet came, my partner was Henry again and this time he forced me to try different things so I could really grow as a debater. Henry and I won five of our six debates that meet.

 At this point, I wasn’t doing debate for my speaking skills, I fell in love with the process of being able to deconstruct other people’s arguments with my own words. The next upcoming meet was regions. The resolve was “On balance, the benefits of urbanization in West Africa outweigh the harms”. When I initially heard this, I had zero clue about what I would build my arguments on.

 With the newly acquired competitive drive I had, I wanted to do very well in regions. Unfortunately, my partner Braxton Zink and I didn’t do as well as we wanted. We only won three of our six debates, which on paper, sounds like a good record, but we wanted to be the best.

 Luckily, in debate, everyone is allowed to compete in the state tournament. At state, we had the same partners and same resolve. With the mental beating we took at regions, we persevered to become one of the best teams in the state tournament. After countless hours of research and preparation, I was ready. Braxton and I started off very strong with a 4-0 record going into the 5th round.

 That is when we encountered one of the best teams in the state coming from South Anchorage, we lost in the 5th round but still qualified for the quarter finals where we lost to the same team again. 

In the end, we finished 8th in the tournament. Personally, I placed 10th for speaker points, being the only first year debater in the top 10 throughout the state. I did get the last laugh after Henry and Bella decimated the duo that laughed at me in the beginning of the season.

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