A debate tournament allows individuals to experience thrilling moments of the debate, develop in skill and analytical thinking, and most importantly, seek their passions. I have fortunately participated in a debate tournament – Association for Global Debate – when I was in 6th grade. It was our first time to attend a debate competition. Even though we were amateurs and novices, we could sense the progression of strategy and rebuttal after each round of debate. The tournament empowered me to reflect and deliberate on different aspects in different perspectives. It led me to believe that there is no absolute standard for right or wrong. Through our debate topic, we were examining and understanding the significant global issues around us, and it raised our global awareness. Moreover, it gave us a chance to gain a more profound understanding of real-world problems than many of our peers. No matter if we were novices or veterans, the experience we gained is the most priceless, even if we failed.
The most recent debate I participated in was the Beijing leg of NHSDLC debate tournament. The topic was “Should China broker an Israel-Palestine peace deal?” This was a quite challenging topic because it would involve a lot of understanding of politics, economics, and diplomatic interests. The topic bewildered me and it took time to research and dig into the background knowledge of this complex and momentous global issue.
I encountered many problems while preparing for the debate tournament. Initially, finding partners was a tough task, as there was only one week left before the tournament kicked off. The first partner spent a whole day but decided not to join in, which was followed by the second partner who quit. In this critical and desperate moment, I finally found a participant who was willing to be my companion. We both listened to a speech in the school that hosted the tournament, and we learned debate techniques and background knowledge. On my way to the school, dark and dull clouds overcast the sky; that made the air frigid and bitter cold, in fact, the brisk wind and drizzling rain aggravated the weather. Since we barely met in the day right before the tournament starts, the case-writing and framework-organizing were quite hasty. Even though things were harsh, we communicated with each other and finally worked the way out.
On the first day of the tournament, my partner and I arrived at the school. We felt quite anxious but determined to succeed and rise to the next round. Even though it was not my first time experiencing a debate tournament, I could still feel my nerves tingling as I repeatedly fidgeted with my fingers. I sat next to my partner along with many teams of competitors. After the conventional opening remarks, I stared at the board for the arrangements of the competing teams.
Our first debate was in a room on the third floor. Two other participants were also standing by the door so I supposed they were our opponents. They were two girls: one had brunette hair that had a slight curl at the end; her eyes were dazed as she wandered around the hallway. The other one was quite petite and scraggy. Her appearance made her look younger than she was as a middle school student Our opponents were novices, so was my other partner. As we entered the room the judge sat in the middle looking nonchalant and solemn, which made the atmosphere in the debate room full of dreariness. The judge continued to write on his papers (I supposed he was giving scores and comments on the previous debate) as if we were not there. The clock ticked and ticked, four of us stood there liked stone statues while our eyes showed a tint of impatience. The flowing of time clogged as we were fixed to that situation of awkwardness. It felt like forever, even if it was fifteen minutes. Finally, the judge looked up and allowed us to sit.
We reported our team number and the pros and cons were decided by the flip of a coin. The debate began as we each stated and expanded on our claims for the opening speech. Then, it was the crossfire between the first speakers. My friend was the first speaker in this debate. The opposing side raised questions that were quite purposeless and unreasonable. That made me have a slight feeling of inquietude.
During this back and forth assailing, she suddenly blacked out and became speechless as she tried to pivot the question. She smiled at me awkwardly as if she was asking for help. It was not my turn so the most I could do was to type words and send them to her. Eventually, it was my round to speak as I tried to recover from the bad situation. In the end, they irrationally stated that we did not even have a framework. This aggravated my annoyance towards them, even though their claims and reasons were ignorant, but we did not have time to rebut them. This rough beginning dejected us. Even though we were not reconciled to this defeat but we were certain that we failed the first round.
The rule for qualifying to the next day is to win three or more rounds of debate. The people who qualified were to be announced at the end of the day. Despairingly, we think we won two and lost one in the next three rounds so we only won two rounds of debate. We might not make it till the next day. Our hope is now handwringing unless we astonishingly won one debate that we thought we lost. Before the results were proclaimed all remained unknown. Nevertheless, I tried not to be disenchanted and not to hold high anticipations so that even if we got eliminated, I would expect this result and have a calm attitude. However, I cannot repress the tint of perseverance and wished to stay, to stay and strive for our triumph.
The results were finally declared, as I expected, a miracle did not happen. I patted my partner and she also encouraged me. I believe that although in this competition we considered our results a failure, I have received things much more valuable. We developed in the framework, we progressed in critical thinking, and most importantly we gained experience. I am empowered to reflect and deliberate about the different aspects in numerous points of perspectives. I have learned more on the diplomatic relationships and economic relationships between China and Middle Eastern countries. And I had a more profound understanding in one of the world’s major conflicts. Therefore, this experience is profound and significant to me as if the breeze guiding the direction of a sailing boat, aiming at the next targeted tournament. I will overcome the waves and thrive for greater attainment.