That Which Does not Kill Me Can Only Make Me Stronger


I guess I'm not the only forensics nerd. I've actually had some inquiries about how my day went judging.

(Here's where you bail if you don't care about how well high school students did at forensics) Well, it was interesting . . .

This was the first meet of the year, so I wasn't expecting anything awesome, but I was surprised. Both by how bad and how great some students were.

My first round was Improptu. This is a speech event. The speaker chooses a topic from three they draw out of a hat (or in this case, manila folder). They then have five minutes to prepare a speech.

Since the round was actually their third, I thought everyone would be a little warmed up. I was wrong.

The first speaker was a boy in a suit. He seemed a little nervous. But I fell in love with him immediately. When he walked in, he looked at me, and then at my high school freshman timekeeper and asked which one of us was the judge. Bless his heart!

He told me his chosen topic was "The Great Depression." I thought it sounded like a tough topic to tackle and was impressed. Then he started.

He hung his head low and started talking about how people get depressed. "You know . . . say your house burns down and you don't know why. You get depressed and you can't get out of it and you don't know why."

He went on like this for several minutes and all I could do was think "Oh please tell me he knows what The Great Depression is!"

The guy really had me worried. Eventually, he did mention The Great Depression. I still can't decide if he was trying to be clever or just didn't know much about his topic.

There was one guy during the round who was really good. He chose the topic "hair cut." I swear he had prepared the speech six months ago. It was so organized and funny and almost perfect!

I did suspect he might be lying when he said his mother's hairdresser had a migraine and gave her a flat-top on top of her perm.

The most memorable speech of the round was the girl who chose to speak about "Lance Bass Coming Out as a Homosexual."

I figured the speech would be about his bravery, and how he can be a role model. I thought there might even be a little "What a loss for straight women!"

Wrong again.

"So, like, Lance Bass came out as a homosexual? That's news? He was in a boy band. That's totally gay, right?"

I really just wanted to smack my head with my hand. But I'm "old school" and don't like to show any reaction so I just stared forward and tried not to look horrified as she went on to tell me that he was "kinda respectable." Because he was like an astronaut. Because he wanted to go to space. And Neil Armstrong is respectable. And he's an astronaut. And astronauts are respectable.

She just kept rambling on in a slightly offensive manner until finally she started struggling for something to say. She stared at me. I stared back. I think she was looking to me for laughter. But it wasn't funny.

The girl continued staring while making some strange noises in her throat. Eventually she threw her hands down. "Fine! That's it."

It was a really awkward moment. I felt like she was really mad at me because I didn't laugh or even smile. So I tried to be funny on the ballot.

All astronauts are respectable? What about the one who drove to Florida in an adult diaper?

My second round, Oration, was mostly smooth. The first girl was from Kazakhstan. She was energetic and talked about Borat. I even cracked a smile.

But she wasn't the best. One girl kind of freaked me out with her intensity. Another speech was almost over my head. It was about the existence of God and our effect on others. It was delivered well, but I felt like I was in a philosophy lecture.

The most uncomfortable moment that round was during a speech I thought was going to be good. The intro started out funny; something about comparing marriage to putting your tongue on a frozen metal pole. "Before you know it . . . you're thtuck!"

The girl started in on the meat of her speech and then all of the sudden, hesitated. She couldn't remember her next line. And the more she tried to remember, the harder it seemed to be for her and the more she apologized.

I kept telling her it was fine and to go ahead when she was ready. I was interested to see where she was going with this speech.

Her chin started to quiver. "I'm just gonna stop."

And my dad gave me specific instructions to not make anyone cry!

Finals was after lunch I was expecting . . . not greatness. But something pretty good. Especially since I was judging Prose.

Prose is basically reading a story. You have to read the piece from a binder and stand in one place. The time limit is seven minutes.

Prose is usually considered one of the easier events. There's nothing to memorize. If you forget the next line . . . no problem! It's written right there for you! And going overtime should be no problem. If your piece is too long, you just cut out some bits and pieces.

I was wrong about this round being good. The chosen pieces were really boring. And they weren't even delivered all that well.

One was a ghetto story read by the sweetest girl. It just didn't fit her. There was one that should have been sad, but just ended up being monotonous. One had a funny concept but went on too long and was really just boring.

The person I ranked first was the same guy with the "hair do" speech in the first round. His piece was delivered well. He really got into it and acted the part. But again, the piece was just . . . boring. Nothing happened. It was written by The Fonz. But that didn't help it.

The thing that made me most angry was that four out of the seven finalists went over time. One girl rambled on for almost nine minutes!

I'm a stickler for rules, especially with this event, so I was pretty grumpy. So on their ballots, I was kind of harsh.

EDIT EDIT EDIT!!! The easiest way to lose is to go OT!
I was the last judge to turn in my ballots. I'm sure that was annoying, but I also remember how annoying it was to get a ballot that placed you last yet never explained why. Not that I ever scored last . . .

I haven't gotten a phone call from Jacob praising my judging skills. Maybe they didn't like some of my comments.

Your piece should have moved me but instead, I was bored.



Michael said...

This is my favorite blog of 2008. Maybe of all time.

Anonymous said...

yo soy deprimida ...
Have a nice day