With two National Tournaments behind us. We tend to focus on the celebrations or possibly the end of the journey of Speech and Debate. How did you do?!
“I didn’t break…. It’s over……. I’m done. It’s finished.”
Whoa- wait a minute! The awards, the trophies… they will all get boxed up, possibly thrown away. Everyone’s high school Speech and Debate career will come to an end. The next step in your journey is about to really begin!
It’s hard to feel encouraged when things didn’t necessarily go your way. We all can’t walk out as Super Bowl Champions. That one tournament is not going to define you in the long run. Win or no win, you need to step back and look at what got you there…
– Take a minute- look over your ballots. I know you will find some encouragement in there! Judges have poured into you all season.
– Think about all the people who contributed- your parents, friends, coaches. This isn’t an event where it’s all about you. How cool is that?
– Remember the hard times. You didn’t magically happen to get where you are. How did you get here? What obstacles did you overcome?
Keep things in perspective, Speech and Debate is just a drop in your bucket! In fact, it’s like a puddle… and there are bigger streams, rivers, and oceans to get to or through!! God is going to use each and every competitor to do so much more than just compete! Remember…
Speech and Debate does NOT define you.
I sat with a couple of friends at the last qualifier of the season. They didn’t advanced. The didn’t break. Their journey in speech and debate is over. Of course we may have shed a few tears. Their season is over. They didn’t make it to Nationals. This was their finale. The last hurrah. The end… NOT! This is just the beginning!!
Ok- so you had plans or hopes to go the next level- Regionals, Districts… or Nationals, but now is when you can take an alternate path. Life can really begin. Instead of continuing to practice speeches or researching debate for hours on end, you can now move on! You can get that job you have been waiting to get, you can start a new activity, you can finish school! Speech and Debate takes a lot of time, and you just gained part of your life back. You have a life outside of Speech and Debate, right!? If not- NOW is the time!
I know it’s disappointing to not reach your goals or to be able to take it to the next level, but speech and debate does not define you. This is a drop in the bucket of your life. You are going to go on amazing things!! I talk to alumni who look fondly upon their time in competive speech and debate, but at some point, the reality is- everyone moves on.
You are making a LASTING IMPACT!
I talk to parents all the time who fondly remember a speech that impacted them… maybe it was yours! The power of music, humanitarianism, fountain pens… your speeches have touched lives, impacted, inspired, and empowered! Do not think that this was all for a placing on a judge’s ballot! The work you put into Speech and Debate will have ripple effects for years to come, perhaps even a lifetime!
Life skills learned.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a homeschool mom’s moment to remind you of all the life skills you learned by participating in speech and debate! From the long hours of preparation to the conversations in hallways, from the little successes to the big disappointments. This thing you participated in, this event, this extra curricular activity… it is more than that, it helped prepare you for what ever comes next!! Because life doesn’t stop, it just keeps coming at you! Ready or not… here it comes! And I believe you are better prepared for whatever life throws at ya!
Through out my years in Speech and Debate, and all the talking I do with judges, parents, students, coaches, and clubs, the everlasting impact will be the relationships you make. National Champions have told me many times, the most important thing to them was not winning… it is the relationships that they still have with the people who have made an impact on them. People will come and go, but many will remain a part of you.
I hope when you look back at your time in Speech and Debate, you look at the time spent with fondness, enjoyment, and purpose. It isn’t the event that defined you, but you were the light in it. May you continue to shine in whatever comes next! And remember, YOU GOT THIS!