Debate fires up writer

Verbatim

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 

  Above, Stephanie Post, left, and Jessica Thomas, from Skyview High School, perform "Period Piece" at a drama, debate and forensics meet at Nikiski High School on Feb. 12. The two schools squared off to practice for the state meet Feb. 28 and 29 and March 1 in Anchorage. Photo by Jenny Neyman

Above, Stephanie Post, left, and Jessica Thomas, from Skyview High School, perform "Period Piece" at a drama, debate and forensics meet at Nikiski High School on Feb. 12. The two schools squared off to practice for the state meet Feb. 28 and 29 and March 1 in Anchorage.

Photo by Jenny Neyman

As a student at Skyview High School, there are many academic extra-curricular activities that occur after school. My favorite among them is called Drama, Debate, and Forensics or DDF.

I was first thrown into DDF my junior year, and captivated by a certain method of debate known as policy debate, or cross-examination debate. I also wanted to participate in the drama aspect, but my stage-fright and the strong dedication of having to memorize lines got the best of me.

The other factor leading me to debate is that my father, an attorney, uses debate constantly in persuading me what is best for me. His method of debate, sharpened by the multitude of trials he has fought in court, has rubbed off on me and allowed me a tool in competing against other schools and representing my school.

Forensics is actually public speaking, but did not hold the appeal or the excitement of debate.

I actually get excited for debate. Whenever my coach, Clark Fair informs the team of an upcoming meet, or arranges meetings after school for us debaters, I feel my pulse increase and get jittery.

I love debate. I love the sense of accomplishment when I go on a tirade about the other team's case, usually a specific and vital point of their case. I love the adrenaline rush in finding evidence, of questioning the other team on an error in their case. I enjoy the feeling of being important when my partner and I walk down the hallway of another school to compete, passing the other teams there and acting, in a sense, intimidating.

It's all about how you play the game, and we play it with respect, like all people who compete in an activity.

Sportsmanship is such a key factor in debate. Before the debate, my partner and I, as we gather out evidence and get settled, usually converse with the other teams, asking how their debates went, about the weather and other events they are participating in. Even when questioning them, we sometimes ask them how they are doing. After the debate, we shake hands, congratulating each other on a good debate, and walk back to our team rooms, chatting like friends. We are friends.

I have walked away from many debate meets with friends from the other schools. We exchange e-mails and MySpace names, sometimes telephone numbers, but we never really forget to talk and chat, sometimes gaining more information for the next debate meet.

Sometimes, certain persons meet and enter the world of relationships. I have seen the creation of many couples from debate meets, and even the hope of some between people. It is wonderful that an event like DDF can create such bonds between people.

The end must come, and for me it is college. It is inevitable, but I still hold onto the hope and excitement for the intensity of college debate and for the adventure that waits for me there.

This article is the opinion of Thomas Osterman. Osterman is a senior at Skyview High School.



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