The REAL Award at a Speech and Debate Tournament by: Gloria Heiss

I don’t want to sound like a stereotypical alum devotional but I might have to in order to get my point across today. Each year I frustratingly see teens all around me vying for their place on the stage at awards while not even considering the real rewards of tournament. Believe me, I like being recognized for my hard work and skill as much as the next person but those expressions of appreciation do not always come in the form of a trophy you can put on your shelf…

Today I want to expand your definition of “award” when it comes to the payoff of your efforts at a tournament. It’s a hard question but let me ask you, where do you get your reward from a tournament?

Let me be clear, for those of us who live for the award ceremony, I do not want you to feel like you can’t enjoy being handed a trophy for your accomplishments. What I I do want to do is show you other meaningful rewards you can get at a tournament. And no, those other “meaningful rewards” are not girl’s numbers. (Too much? Probably.)

So first off, one of the most meaningful experiences I have had at tournaments is the opportunity to present my speech in front of more people if I break to out-rounds (especially if I like my speech 😉 ). Have you ever heard a competitor say, “I’m just thankful to share my message”. Ew, gross!? Keep your thankfulness to yourself?!

No matter how cliche it is… those competitors are truly living the life!! They get their rewards not in metals or trophies, they’re wholly satisfied with just the experience. Being able to go to semis or finals with your speech, to perform it one more time for a room full of (hopefully) captive audience members is all they could ask for. After that, the awards ceremony is the cherry on top of a tournament sundae.

I have competed in Speech and Debate for many years (I’m an old granny when it comes to speech now) and the thing that makes me remember my speech seasons are the comments I get on my speeches. One year, my sister and I had just heard we didn’t break in our duo to finals. After all the breaks were announced a mom of one of the teams we had been in the same room as for semis come up to us and said how surprised she was that we didn’t break. Yes, we would have loved to gone to finals but that mom showing her gratitude made up for (and surpassed) the joy we would have gotten from walking across the stage.

There you have it. My two alternative “awards” you can find at a tournament. You don’t need a magnifying glass to find them, all you have to do is get passed the tangible displays of excellence in order to find the intangible displays of excellence. And don’t forget that you can always find your own meaning at a tournament as well. Make your tournament your own by finding why you keep coming back to this every year. Don’t say it’s because your mom makes you……

Hope you enjoyed this Devo style blog post 🙂 . We always appreciate your comments and suggestions so if you want to tell us what makes a tournament special to you, comment below.

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