The WYRD Ones: Transy’s One-of-a-kind Speech and Debate Team

Mattie Bruton

If I told you that you had five minutes to tell me a story about Goofy at a national dog show, could you do it? What about recite an on-the-spot eulogy for the fictitious CEO of Mime Inc.? Or give sound advice to a woman whose fiance won’t accept her thirty-two pets?

If these situations sound absurd to you, then you have obviously never attended the annual Transylvania University WYRD speech and debate tournament, where, true to the acronym, weird and wild events are commonplace.

I joined the Transy speech and debate team at the beginning of the year. I’d never had the opportunity to be on a speech a debate team during high school, so taking this action was a leap of faith- I had no idea what to do, or what would be expected of me. Luckily, the coaches and upper-class team members were more than happy to show me the ropes, and help me out in any way they could.

Although I did pretty well in my first few tournaments, I didn’t really find my time to shine until the WYRD, the tournament conceived of and hosted by Transy’s debate coaches. I like to think of the WYRD as an embodiment of the Transylvania spirit: it’s creative, it’s outside-of-the-box, it’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s completely and utterly unique. While the WYRD does feature more traditional speech and debate events like impromptu and extemporaneous speaking, in which I also participated, and numerous debate rounds, it also featured events that you will literally not find find anywhere else- Impromptu Storytelling  and, a new addition this year, Impromptu Eulogy.

These events allowed me to practice my public speaking in a way that, rather than being stiff and formal, was free and wacky. At the end of the day, the Transylvania speech team continued its tradition of taking home a massive amount of awards, (Did I mention our speech and debate team rocks? Because it totally does.). For the first time since joining the team, I placed, in three different events: Impromptu Storytelling, Impromptu Eulogy, and Radio Broadcasting (Radio broadcasting, by the way, was is an event that is now featured all across the state but was first introduced a few years ago by a pair of intrepid students from, you guessed it, Transylvania.)

Now, there is not one single extra-curricular activity at Transylvania that isn’t top notch, but the speech and debate team here is one of the most special and outstanding in the state. If you like public speaking and thinking on your toes, it might just be the place for you. True, the team might be a little WYRD, but it’s pioneering the very future of speech and debate.


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