Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#88- Debating 101



a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints:
a debate in the Senate on farm price supports.
a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.

By the summer of 2005 I was done with traveling the world and ready to persue the degree that eluded me.

It was during that time that I attended Miami-Dade College's Wolfson campus in downtown Miami.  It was a wonderful time to be alive.  I was free from the troubles of war and my mind had grown by leaps and bounds after traveling to Europe.

I don't remember how it happened but I was given the opportunity to attend a debate camp in Vermont at the University of Vermont for about 2 weeks.  I could not resist so I signed up.

I remember taking a small plane that landed in Burlington.  When I arrived at the airport I remember hearing the distinct sound of my mother tongue; Haitian Creole.  I remember thinking how we Haitians are EVERYWHERE in the world.  I secretly wondered if there was a Haitian person living and working on the South Pole.  Hearing the sound of your native tongue in an unexpected place is like smelling your favorite food in the kitchen of a foreigner.

The town and campus were lovely.  It was very green in Vermont.  I was not use to such a small town, cozy feel in America.  It kinda reminded me of the peace and tranquility of Austria/Switzerland.  The people of Vermont are very progressive and that was the right atmosphere for me.

We were staying at one of the dorms and I eventually met my room mate.  He was a younger white kid from either Tennessee or the Carolinas.  He was pretty quiet and serious.  It was around that time that I decided to read the book of Revelations which is the last book in most current Protestant Bibles. I remember how the book started and how I imagined it in my mind.  That book was surprisingly captivating mostly because it was so weird.  As usual I walked away from Revelations totally blown away at how different what I learned directly from the book was from what I was taught at church by lay Christians.

As far debating itself goes, I had no formal experience in it.  When we attended the actual courses I was blown away at how much goes into formal debating.  We were given large stacks of files every single day that we had to not sift through but actually read.  I quickly felt discouraged, outclassed, overwhelmed.  The other students stayed up through the late hours of the night reading the files which were the size of phone books.  The information varied from interesting to dry and boring.  We dealt with subjects like international relations with China.

From what I was able to learn I figured that I could just show up and win the debate matches with pure eloquence and gamesmanship.

My roommate and I took part in 4 debates.  We won 3 of them.  I only remember the loss.  We faced a team of 2 females.  I remember walking in the room thinking how cute and harmless looked.  However, when the match started these two ladies turned into what can only be described as vicious pitbulls.

They were relentless and it fell like they spewed toxic acid all over us as they used their words as clubs to beat us down like cruel hunters do to baby seals in the arctic.  At the end I felt like I was molested.  I let my guard down because they were females and I paid dearly for it.

At the end of each match the judges would tell you why you won or lost and why.  I was in a trans when we got our constructive criticism. That loss lingered for me for days and I think I still carry some of the experience with me today.  I went to my room playing the scene over and over again.  I felt as if I went to the debate wearing a skirt with no underwear and my lovely opponents simply lifted my skirt and proceeded to show the judges I lacked any kind of noteworthy genatalia.