Okay so in my last post from more than a month ago, I just maybe might have said that I would try to blog at least once every week this summer.
Ha, yeah. Strong emphasis on the word try. Let’s just say life got busy, leave it at that, remind ourselves c’est la vie, and move on.
Anyways, it’s ironic how as a speech and debate kid, the only title I could think of for this post was the single word “wow.” Especially considering the fact that this post is literally about speech and debate and it’s STILL the only thing I could think of.
However, when I think of the journey I’ve had with Forensics over the past two years, I really don’t think there’s a word that could be more fitting.
A month ago, I had the privilege and honor of attending the National Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama and I know that anyone else there with me can attest to the statement that it truly was one for the books. I mean with the seizure, airplane engine failure, tornado warnings and questionable looking neighborhoods, the trip was unique in its own way and surely was one I’ll never forget. Literally never.
But aside from all the craziness that occurred— the beautiful, inspiring, chills-all-over moments that accompany Nationals every year, of course, took place and reaffirmed the deep love I have for the craft. With topics that were intriguing and stories that were hilarious and heart-warming, I was reminded of what speech and debate truly is.
Nearly every single stressful anxiety-laden night before a speech tournament, I ask myself why I ever thought that joining speech & debate was a good idea? I mean I hate competing in any sense and giving a speech in front of strangers doesn’t exactly scream fun to me… But after every tournament, while I’m driving back home on the late-night dimly lit streets with my heels off, hair down, and Lennon and Maisy’s “A Life That’s Good” playing. I find myself beaming while reflecting on the beauty that is speech and debate.
Forensics is way more than a bunch of “nerds arguing”, it’s individuals of all different races, religions, orientations, and creeds, coming together to discuss important policies, events, and issues so we can make the world a better place. At it’s core, speech and debate is talking about things that we don’t like talking about and coming up with complex solutions to complex problems because no one else will.
Quite frankly, the way I see it— forensics reminds me that I am indeed a part of something so, so much bigger than myself. It reminds me that talking about things that make us uncomfortable and venturing into the world of the unknown, while scary, is something that we have to do, something that we must do. It reminds me of the hope that lies in our collective future.
In a society that is seemingly more polarized and full of hate than ever, speech and debate serves as a constant reminder that we are far more similar to one another than we are different and that, if we choose to believe it, there is still oh so much joy in the world.
As a really cool anonymous person once said, “Speak boldly and with intellect. Never hush your voice for someone else. Speak your mind. And more than anything, make people uncomfortable.”