Some of may or may not have noticed… There was no blog post last week! Perhaps you were like so many Speech and Debate families and you headed to Black Mountain, NC, for one of the largest NCFCA Speech and Debate Tournaments!! Almost 400 homeschoolers/competitors gathering to tackle 11 different Speech categories and three types of Debate! Kristi and I had the pleasure of judging almost 200 students! Believe me- I wasn’t on vacation, although I had a blast! We both did! I am always so blessed with how God is working with in these students. It is amazing what IMPACT they are having!
We could write a post all about what the Lord taught US… But we thought it might be more fun to let you see what God was doing in the lives of those who were were able to attend and compete… We asked the question…
What did God teach you at NC- the largest NCFCA Qualifier of the season?
J- (student)- Humility. NC is such a big tournament and it’s humbling to see so many other talented individuals competing. It was such a refreshing and enjoyable tournament.
L- (student)- ….that even after you fall out of the competition- you can still learn! And if you don’t do as well as you had hoped, you have to go home, work hard, put in the effort, and come back stronger than ever. Working hard at something and giving it your all will have much more lasting and beneficial results, rather than getting any trophy.
G- (student)- That there’s still more to learn.
The unknown competition and different judge pool made the massive tournament even more intimidating. I didn’t recognize any of the people in my rooms, it was (for lack of a better word) scary. As everyone went through the motions, breaks were upon us sooner than later. Many people who were expected to break did… Not.
As I got more comfortable talking to outside Regions and take in account my ballots, I see that there is a whole other style of communication and we must adapt to it. I’m not saying there’s this secret code we have to learn, but that we must be willing to change our ways to properly communicate to others.
I’m still learning how reach people through my words, and NC helped me get a little closer.
J- (student)- I learned the importance of being likeable to the judge, in general (smiling, using humor in debate, for example); and remembering, from the beginning, the judge is in the room.
Z- (student)- You can achieve your goals when you set your priorities and apply yourself with hard work. After a disappointment at a Regional Qualifier, I was feeling very upset, and not certain of what to do about it, before the NC Open. But then I remembered that the main purpose of my competing was not to win tournaments, to bring home medals, or to receive popularity because of my success, but to glorify God through my conduct towards others and in the way I compete. When I had that mindset while preparing for the North Carolina national open I found that I was able to perform better and to be more comfortable in tournament while presenting. Not only that but when I had a bad round I was able to remind myself that as long as I glorified God I had achieved my goal. By the end of the tournament I did better than I ever thought I would. I couldn’t have been happier with my personal performance and I feel like having my priorities straight and working hard during the tournament were big components to my success. And it served as a reminder to me to never give up, and to always give God the glory for my success to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat.
H- (student)- How easy it can be to get complacent in your own region and how easy it can be to begin to expect certain things that you really should never take for granted. For instance, breaking in debate or people agreeing with you on certain speech topics, or even people just enjoying your speaking style. It’s incredibly natural for those things to begin to be so normal to you that you fail to appreciate them. Being at a National Open really shook that up for me and gave me a broader perspective on NCFCA.
G- (student)- Sometimes the best thing to before a round is take some time by yourself to relax and focus. If you’re feeling nervous before a round or even the entire tournament just remember that if you focus on the competition you will usually be in a good head space to perform well. Take a few deep breathes and make the competition your priority. Also, I found one of the best ways to make yourself and the judges comfortable before any speech is to simply… Smile. show them those pearly whites. I noticed not enough students smile before they give a speech. I watched several from different categories and none of the performers utilized that time before the speech to make a connection with the judge. You’re influencing that judge from the moment you walk into that room. Give it your all, not from the start of your speech but from the moment you walk into that room.
N- (student)- …that in order to be more passionate and engaging when giving a platform speech you have to think of your speech as a conversation. Be excited about what you are talking about!
H- (student)- …learning to accept constructive criticism with thankfulness. I am learning to be kinder and striving to mentor the youngest competitors in debate rounds. I am challenging myself to be focused under pressure despite unforeseen distractions.
We are constantly in AWE of what God is doing through Speech and Debate! Love these kids! Love our God!