Saturday, January 29, 2011

The First Rule of Debate Club

The first rule of Debate Club is: you must talk about Debate Club. As if people didn't already realize that I'm a bit of a geek, the first rule of Debate Club compels me to reveal that I was a member back when I attended Leduc Junior High School. I surprised myself by discovering that I was, in fact, a pretty good debater, at least for our age group. That's me holding the statue after returning from our first debate team victory in Westlock. (Check out the corduroy pants - I think they were emerald green.) I don't remember who was on my team for that first tournament; it could have been David Ruel and Michelle Wilson, who are standing to my immediate right, or it might have been Jason Hewitt and Mark Lede, who are also to my right, but in the back row.

I do remember - quite vividly - the profound shock I felt when I was named top speaker of the tournament. I remember thinking that I'd performed poorly, but apparently the judges felt otherwise. Mark and Jason and I went on to compete in the provincials, narrowly missing a spot in the semi-finals to place fifth overall. I remember we felt pretty ripped off after losing one debate to a trio of pretty girls a year or two younger than we were. We felt we'd won the debate pretty handily, and that the judges awarded the victory to the other team out of sympathy. In hindsight, I'm sure the judges ruled correctly.

I don't recall which issues we debated, although I have a faint memory that nuclear disarmament may have been among them; on the other hand, that might have been a practise topic. It was certainly one of the biggest issues of the 80s, one that loomed large in the culture of the time.

I wonder if any of our provincial politicians participated in Debate Club when they were younger. I'd say that the NDP's Rachel Notley might have, or perhaps former Alberta Liberal Leader Kevin Taft; maybe our imported neocon Ted Morton was a member down in the States.

But then, if they were, surely the first rule would have already compelled them to talk about it.

1 comment:

"The Jeffsters Of Triskelion" said...

Hoorah fof the Internet, Earl, where you've shown us your testaments as a master debater.