- Joseph Joubert
It was a chilly Saturday morning and I was in my room frantically googling and searching on youtube for anything I could find on GMOs (genetically modified organisms) to strengthen my arguments for the upcoming debate. Many of you who are reading this have probably seen (and hopefully heard) me make announcements about debate club. On the twenty second of November (2014) four Fenn fighters were rallying and preparing to take home a trophy at their first debate. Entered in the novice debating league (as it was our first debate) we had high hopes and expectations. After many Skype calls, at least an hour of FaceTiming and a few calls on the phone we left our houses with a few notecards to jog our memory of facts we had researched that morning. When we arrived at Lexington High School we quickly registered and discovered that due to our late arrival (which the head of the tournament had said was fine earlier) we would not be able to compete for the championship which we had so desperately wanted to do. Not off to a great start were we?
After quickly getting over the upsetting development, we were prepared to do our best and win our next two debates. We entered a room with a judge and two members of an opposing team. A coin was flipped and we won the toss. We quickly chose a proposition argument on the question of "Do the benefits of GMOs outweigh the harms?". Our opponents chose to go second and we presented our case with minimal stuttering and did, at least what had seemed to me at that point, quite well. Then the other team went. A four or five page document was produced from a file and as soon as time started, words were rattled off the paper and spit out into the air like bullets from a machine gun. After thirty or so minutes of being hammered due to not having enough resources, being caught completely off guard and not knowing how we should have prepared for this we left the room shocked.
After a 45 minute break where we scrambled for sources and other arguments, we felt more prepared than we had before. The next team we went up against crushed us as well and in the judges words we "brought a knife to a gunfight" but he also said we did very well with our knife. As it turns out we were not in the "novice" division but rather an open forum. This open forum was what lead us to compete against teams with experienced debaters in their senior year. Now, the next day after my debate I am constantly thinking of reasons my opponents were wrong. Despite doing badly on this first attempt I feel confident that I will do well in our next debate. I can not wait until I have the opportunity to debate again, and this time I will be prepared.