I am done with NCFCA! I am done with competitive debate for the rest of my life. While all together, this is a super depressing thought, all hope is not lost. I am moving on into a new stage in life. A new stage, that will once again be filled with trial and error. Trial and error. These two words helped shape my high school years, especially my years in NCFCA. Yes, I ran some dumb counterplans over the years. And yes, I ran some theory arguments that would make any debate coach cry. In the end though, the crazy arguments that I ran were part of the trial and error that molded me into the debater that I became. Here are the ideas that I gleaned from my trial and error days of NCFCA.
1. Talk Less, Listen More.
When I first started debate, I was in awe of the seniors. Just to stand in the same circle as they were in was exciting to me. When the senior debaters talked about debate theory, I listened. I tried to gain whatever knowledge I could from the debaters who had already made it to the top. Looking back, I think this was one of the best things I did as a novice. I learned most of my debate theory and practical debate tips by just listening to the older debaters. Most of them had no idea who I was at the time, yet I benefited from their wisdom. My friend’s dad is a very successful businessman. He once told me that to be great at something, a person must find those who have already achieved greatness in that area, and mirror their actions. There is no need to reinvent greatness. As a younger debater, or even a older debater, seek out the top debaters in your region and listen to what they have to say. If you are a senior debater, make sure you find time to instill your knowledge of debate on the next generation.
2. Teach Don’t Preach.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pastors. Some of the men I respect the most are pastors. Very often though, I think debaters mirror pastors in their speaking style, when they should be mirroring teachers. As a debater, it is your job to convince the judge why your position is better than the opposition’s position. This is when you become a teacher. You have to take the judge to the very basics of your case, and build up from their. You should never assume your judges know the technical details of your case, because I can guarantee you that do not. Your mandate, specific evidence, and technical details of your plan should all be explained to the judge. That being said, don’t preach to the judge either. You do not need to read four pieces of evidence to the judge expelling why Iran is a threat to Israel. Any judge who watches TV knows that Iran is not a friendly country to Israel. By spending a large amount of time of these types of arguments, you are preaching to the choir when you could be educating the judge on something they do not know. Something that will win your case for you.
3. Enjoy Every Minute of Debate.
It is hard for me to believe that four years flew by this fast. When people say time flies when you are having fun, they are not kidding. I have so many happy memories from NCFCA that I will take with me throughout life. Many of these memories came outside of the debate round, but debate hold its fair share of memory space. My point is to enjoy every minute of every tournament. From the time you check – in, to the time you pull out of the parking lot to go back home. Do your best, but don’t let the desire to win cause to miss the opportunity to make life long memories. It was hard me for to imagine as a sophomore that debate would ever end. I thought life would just be one NCFCA tournament after another. Sadly, that is not the case. Two years later, I am now done with NCFCA. My last debate round is one that I will never forget. Make sure to enjoy yourself so that your last debate round is an enjoyable one also! I am done with NCFCA. I am leaving fulfilled. I am leaving knowing that I had the most amazing four years of my life. Through trial an error, I achieved great heights in debate. Through trial and error I made memories that will last a life time. I knew that my time in NCFCA would eventually come to an end, and I tried to make every moment count. I would highly encourage you to do the same.