The State of Debate


This past weekend, myself and my fellow members of the Transylvania University Speech and Debate team headed north from Lexington to Northern Kentucky’s Gateway Community and Technical College for the Kentucky Forensic Association’s 2014 State Tournament. With over 100 competitors representing nine different schools ranging in size from the biggest of the big – University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University- to the more moderately sized.

As always, the competition was intense and filled with parity, but despite this large amalgamation of talent, Transylvania came away successful, finishing as the 2nd place school in the “Small College” division. In doing so we Pioneers continued a streak of finishing in the top three at the state tournament for each of the last TEN years! Quite impressive indeed.

Besides team success, I was lucky enough to “break,” or final, in an individual event – Editorial Impromptu – in which a performer is handed an editorial, given 2-3 minutes of preparatory time, and then allowed 5-6 minutes to analyze the piece, pontificating on whether one does or does not agree with the author, and why. Along with this individual award, I was awarded recognition as the 6th place speaker in the Open division of Debate competition. Several other members of the team garnered similar accolades, overall bringing home awards in 10 different events.

The speech and debate community prides itself on providing educational value beyond the realm of room to room debate, and in this regard, our trip was extremely educational. Some things I learned along the way included: what life is like living with HIV, as one of my compatriots delivered an Informative speech about the disease and his own plight, then proceeded to relay even more details to me as we interacted after the event, and I am proud to say that Deshanti and I are now friends both in real life and on Facebook; what each cut of a pig represents, and how each part is procured and prepared at local chain Famous Daves BBQ, which would have been all the better had I not epiphinaically realized, for the first time (saddly) that bacon really is just cooked pig fat, no matter how scrumptious it tastes; and finally what an awesome bunch of coaches and team mates I have the honor and privilege of working with. While the fatigue I felt Sunday morning (arising promptly at 2:00 in the afternoon) was enough to lay Hercules himself flat, it was all worth it.