Sunday, April 22, 2012


A lot to catch up on...

-success, failure, and debate.
For the first time I participated in Team Policy debate, so that meant I got to do a lot of research about taxes and US revenue generation policies. I definitely learned a lot from that, but more importantly I got a crash course in success and failure.
My partner and I decided at the beginning of the year that we wanted our goal to be NITOC (National Invitational Tournament of Champions). We thought that if we gave it our best, we could get there.
We did not do well in our first tournament. We got a very low score and low speaker points. After the initial disappointment, we both sat down, together and individually, to assess what we did wrong. I realized that I had let myself grow over-confident and quite honestly, that was a big part of what lost us the tournament.
The next two tournaments, we achieved an even score and were tantalizingly close to winning one more round in both tournaments, which would have allowed us to progress farther. However, we ended up not qualifying to NITOC-which means that we didn't make our goal. Therefore, in a literal sense of the word, we failed this year.
But after doing some thinking about it, I think that in a different way, we succeeded. We wanted to show ourselves just how well we could do- and we did. We also debated two different resolutions, since for one tournament we went to a different league. That meant that we had two weeks to write a case/gather neg information on the criminal justice system. We had an even score at that tournament, which I'm really pleased with. Overall, even though I of course wish we'd made our goal, we had a good year.
"Success is not to be measured so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome." ~Booker T. Washington

My last tournament was just a week ago, and I participated in impromptu. In this event, you draw three topics, pick one, and have two minutes to prepare a five minute speech. You can't take any notes up with you.
I didn't compete in this event all year long, but just for some practice, I decided to do it at this tournament. I'm so glad I did.
In my first round, I got the word "dare." I talked for over five minutes on why we should dare to do things, why we should take risks (because that word is synonymous with dare), etc. It was fun, and I liked the speech, even though I messed up once. I said, "We should dare to do whatever we want." The instant the words came out of my mouth, I knew it sounded wrong...but oh well, that's impromptu.
The second round, they had questions. Things like, "If you could have a superpower, what would it be?" >.< I really don't like those kind of hypothetical, never-going-to-happen scenarios for impromptu, and I think I would've had a really hard round if I hadn't drawn one of the questions I did. I got two lame questions and this one: "If you could do anything without failing, what would it be?" That's when I started grinning at the prep table.
I again filled my time because I got to talk all about success and failure and had such a fun round. Basically, it was a five minute version of everything I just wrote about success.
And third round, I got "defiance." This actually was my best round according to my judges, even though I didn't think so. This was enjoyable to speak on too, because I decided to look at the positive aspect of the word "defiance" instead of the negative way that everybody usually hears it.
And then I broke. Which wasn't expected at all. Really though, I was just having so much fun that I was really glad I broke in impromptu! :) Semi-finals round, I got the word "insufferable." Thinking back on it, I could have done a lot of different things with that speech that would've made it better, but it was still good. There were a bunch of super good competitors in that room, so I'm not surprised that I didn't make it to finals. But it was still a good ride and I had a ton of fun with impromptu- and that's really all that matters. A lot of competitors are forced to do impromptu, but it can be such a fun, insightful event if done well.
And to be absolutely honest, I think that a huge factor in why I broke is because of my topics. I was EXTREMELY blessed at this tournament to draw topics that I actually felt strongly about anyway and wanted to speak on. I'm not an amazing impromptu-er, by any stretch of the imagination. It's about speaking from your heart, every round. Whenever I start using head knowledge in an impromptu round, I don't do well at all. Even when you get a topic that you can't really relate to, go somewhere that means something to you. Become vulnerable. And have fun.

If you were to look at my laptop right now, you would see a whole bunch of virtual sticky notes. All of them have quotes on them about various things, so every time I turn on my laptop I get to instantly see all these quotes. (It really helps with impromptu, I had a quote for every round.) I've collected them over the year, so here are a couple of my favorites. I may post one or two once in a while, as their own blog post if I'm running low on time.

"The sane man knows that he has a touch of the beast, a touch of the devil, a touch of the saint, a touch of the citizen. Nay, the really sane man knows that he has a touch of the madman."
~GK Chesterton

"When the world tells you, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try one more time."

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at its testing point."
~CS Lewis

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude."
~Thomas Jefferson

"All right Mister, let me tell you what winning means. It means that you're willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else."
~Vincent Lombardi

-Titanic Heroes.
A lot is going on right now with Titanic Heroes and Benjamin and I are both really excited about it. We'll be presenting at the Christian Heritage conference this weekend, which is a pretty big deal and should be very rewarding.
Benjamin just put together this awesome video for Titanic Heroes...and because he's my brother, I'm going to brag on him and tell you that it really is amazing. We literally sat down on Wednesday evening, story-boarded the idea, and got it on YouTube last night. It looks super professional.
Blogger/YouTube are being dumb and won't let me put in the actual video so here's the link.
Introducing Titanic Heroes

-and just because Google rocks.