Speaking of winter
December 11, 2019
In this week’s Saratoga Sun, readers will find our annual Winter Sports Preview. Now that the gridiron is covered with snow and the volleyball net is put away, it’s time to begin thinking about basketball and wrestling. While these two sports may be what most think about when it comes to winter sports, what comes to mind for me is speech and debate.
Yes, I know that speech and debate isn’t “technically” a sport. It’s still an important extracurricular activity. I have been and always will be a “talk jock.”
As we get involved in sports, I think it can be far too easy to forget about the other important activities that students can participate in. This year, a grand total of four students are involved in speech and debate.
That’s right. Four.
As a former talk jock, I can’t help but find this a little upsetting. I have no doubt that the four young women on the team will do an excellent job this year. After all, it’s not the size of the team, but their commitment to their activity. Still, going from seeing teams with up to 20 students down to one-fifth of that is hard to comprehend.
Speech and debate has always been the team for those who didn’t have a team. When it came to people like myself, those who couldn’t dribble a ball to save their life and weren’t interested in getting on the mat, speech and debate was a wonderful experience.
While I wouldn’t normally want to repeat high school, I sometimes wish I could go back and compete my freshman and sophomore years.
A speech meet was one of the few places where people could let their geek flags fly. Between rounds, one could find students gathered around an XBox or Playstation. Monty Python and Lord of the Rings were often the inspiration for humor and poetry performances. While the debaters spoke their own language, it wasn’t uncommon to find those competing in Student Congress lobbying for support of their mock bills between sessions.
It was my involvement in Student Congress, in fact, that put me on the path to be the civics geek that I am today. To say that Student Congress was more organized than the real congress would be an understatement, and that’s including the bills I remember that either legalized hemp or called for a ban of 1-ply toilet paper.
So, if you’re someone in need of a team, if you don’t feel like dribbling a ball or becoming a grappler, maybe consider speech and debate. At the very least, you’ll meet some great people. At the most, you may discover something new about yourself.
The season is young. It’s not too late.