Abbey Lovett competed in Speech and Debate for many years, before becoming The NCFCA National Champion in 2016. Abbey is also a fellow blogger, you can visit her blogs at: https://lovettup.com/ Here is her perspective from The NCFCA 2016 National Championship last year…
I waited backstage for the moment to come. My heart was racing. I couldn’t decide if I was about to pass out or throw up. This was it, the showcase of excellence. I walked onstage to greet a cheering audience of 1,500 people.
And all of a sudden… I was calm.
Rewind a few hours and I was standing outside of a room where I was about to give a speech in the final round of the national championship. I began to reflect on God’s providence in my life over the past year and was overwhelmed with gratitude.
This past year has been quite a roller coaster. There was excitement, passion, and direction. There was even more pain, loss, and confusion. This year I learned what it meant to fully trust in God, and it made me stronger.
I was fairly apathetic about speech and debate my senior year. There seemed to be bigger, more important, and more concerning things to deal with. At least that’s what I thought.
What I didn’t realize until Nationals was that Impromptu was my platform. God was doing crazy things in my life and he was giving me an opportunity to share them.
I decided to get some perspective. Instead of hoping for a good topic, I prayed that God would give me the words that needed to be heard, the vulnerability to touch someone’s life, and the courage to share any message He had for me. There was no way to expect what happened next.
Every single topic, every single message, wasn’t just what I believed the judges needed to hear, but it was what I needed as well.
As I stood outside of my impromptu finals with tears in my eyes I thanked God for who He was and asked for one more opportunity to share my heart. He, of course, went above and beyond.
I walked out of that room thinking I hadn’t given a winning speech, but I knew I had said exactly what I needed to say.
It was perfect.
What’s the point? There are two…
1. You have a platform. Don’t waste it. Don’t be afraid of it.
I didn’t realize my own platform until the last tournament. I can only imagine the growth that would have happened if I had known it earlier. When you discover your platform, gain some perspective and use your platform.
This goes way beyond impromptu… this goes way beyond the NCFCA or Stoa. Speech and Debate gives us an easy platform to utilize… but it’s not always like that in the real world outside of high school. The real-world is brutal and you’re going to be challenged. You’re going to be questioned and maybe even hated. And you’re going to be scared like heck.
Don’t be afraid of your platform. God will provide, trust Him. And by trust I don’t mean just believing he’ll probably come through, I mean letting go of everything and giving it up to Him. The more you let go the stronger and more confident you become to share your platform.
2. Gain some perspective.
Sometimes all you need for a good impromptu speech, a good debate rounds, or a good tournament, is to step back and see the big picture. Why are you really there?
It’s amazing how gaining just a little bit of perspective can calm your nerves and get you on your best game.
But once again, this goes beyond competitive forensics. In every area of your life, the best thing you can do is gain perspective. Life gets pretty overwhelming and every once and awhile a little reminder that God is in control will give you the boost of confidence you need to carry through.
I was overwhelmed as I stood in front of 1,500 people without a single nerve. I was overwhelmed with the incredible journey I’m on, and where it was taking me.
I wasn’t nervous… I was excited.
It’s tempting to go through life copying the greats. There’s no satisfaction in that. Instead, gain some perspective, be yourself, and use your platform.
Be yourself. Trust God fully.