This Season – A Piece of Cake? By: Emalyn Sharp

One of the requirements of our Lasting Impact! Coaches is that they engage in tournaments, practice rounds, judging, etc. Really understanding the culture of the season! Yes! It can change from year to year! Take this year for example! Ha! There has never been a year quite like it! Check out, Emalyn’s latest experience…

I made a cake!!

Riveting stuff. Wow, yeah, super cool. Most people can do that. Why am I wasting my time reading this article?

I can hear the comments from here.

Well, it does have a point. Most silly stories do. Also, I refused to start another article with “This year has seen a lot of change.” You all know that. And if you’re anything like me, it’s on the list of phrases you never want to see again, right up there with “in these trying times,” and “This unprecedented situation.”

How many of you have been able to make a cake at tournaments in years past? Have you just gotten the sudden urge to bake while waiting on a speech round, hopped up, and baked a cake to eat during the next debate round? Or better yet, carried a full-on piece of freshly baked cake into the competition room to eat during prep time?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Never in a thousand years would I have fathomed that I would be making a cake in between rounds, yet here I was, during a round I couldn’t judge, literally baking a cake. I had a craving, a kitchen full of tools, and went for it.

To make this cake story even weirder, coincidentally, right after I made the cake, a student gave an impromptu speech about “a piece of cake” that was really poignant.

What I loved most about it was the interpretation. It took the usual idiom about how a piece of cake meant that something was easy, and pressed the issue deeper. Everyone’s cake will look different. What one person loves and enjoys will be a trial to someone else. What’s easy for me may not be easy for you. It’s how we handle it that matters.

Making a cake isn’t easy for most people. (I’m not even particularly good at it), but if we don’t try to make it, we won’t be able to enjoy it.

Let’s try to make cake this year. For some, it’s going to be hard and online competition will be strenuous, exhausting, and/or nearly impossible. For others, it’ll be a breeze. What we can ALL do though, is try to find the small joys throughout it.

I loved tournaments. I never wanted them to change. I didn’t want to graduate and move on to coaching.

But y’know what?

Judging is fun. Being able to make decisions that CANNOT be argued with is fantastic. Being able to encourage students is amazing. Imparting some of the things I’ve learned over the years is very rewarding. Coaching is fun for me, and I get to help others, which is when I am happiest.

Online tournaments are weird. There are lots of things that can go wrong and many elements that can be super inconvenient. Like the lack of PEOPLE and SOCIAL INTERACTION for one.

But y’know what?

I didn’t have to dress up. I didn’t have to get up early and travel. I didn’t have blisters on my feet from walking twenty miles in three days in high heels (Yes, that really did happen one time). There are so many things being canceled indefinitely right now, and this is one area and way that we can keep growing and working on our skills. And even though I couldn’t talk to y’all, I got to see so many precious faces! Unmasked! Smiling!

Not to mention that I did get to bake and eat a cake, which was delicious by the way.

Seriously though, if you don’t look for the cake, you won’t find it. Look for the joys in the drain. Sometimes they’ll be small. Really, really, REALLY small. But as I was reminded in one of my classes, we see what we look for. If we don’t look for joy, we won’t necessarily feel it. And in isolated competition, it can be really easy to feel defeated and alone.

You can do this. You will get through this. You will succeed in the ways that God plans for you to. Don’t give up because you don’t have cake right now, or if the cake you do have is really disgusting. Find the cake for you. Find what works. Ask for help if you need it! Your parents, coaches, and fellow competitors are all going through this too and can offer you encouragement, advice, and a buddy to struggle through it with. At Lasting Impact!, we are always here to help encourage and build you up so that you feel equipped to take on the battlefield that is the world of competition. Don’t worry. Take it one step at a time. One person at a time. One impact at a time.

I write this article not just to be random and crazy. If you are one of the few people who genuinely dislike all cake, I am sincerely sorry. My hope is that you’ll be able to see the little things. The big, obnoxious things will always be easy to recognize. What little joys can we see in our days and competitions?

Who knows, maybe it’ll be a piece of cake. 🙂

Emalyn is just one of the many Lasting Impact! Coaches! Schedule an appointment today!