Jack Williams and the screwy debate.

July 2, 2017
By thewritebrother GOLD, Powell, Ohio
thewritebrother GOLD, Powell, Ohio
10 articles 0 photos 6 comments

It was around 20 years ago on the last day of the first year of the school's debate club when it happened, and while the school kinda gotten used to the whole thing, it still had a high lack of experience of which was shown by how they dealt with the fact that the gym was full of nerds. Not that they all fitted all of the definitions of the word, or that they were all REAL nerds in the first place, but you could still tell that the only people here were the ones who actually cared about debate club and/or thought that history was gonna be made during the debates. Oh, and I, Jack Roberts, happened to be an extremist/shonen version of both of those types of people as well as a nerd according to other definitions as well. But as much as I was excited for the upcoming debate, I couldn’t help but cringe at how much unnecessary fluff was added to the procedure of which, while perfectly necessary for a larger audience and bigger debate teams, was just the biggest hassle imaginable for a small group of nerds and half-nerds up until the point I figured that maybe I could get my two partners to prepare for the upcoming debate. Curtis prepared notes to give us suggestions on how to appear more collected as well as include refreshers on how to spot fallacies, we also wrote a short page of directions on how we should handle certain opposing arguments and counter arguments. Our captain, Baxter (of whom was randomly chosen via a raffle) just tried to look like he was contributing, which made sense because if you listen closely to his bragging, it will come very apparent that he’s just participating so he could go to a college that’ll give him a better scholarship that would lead him to get a graduation certificate-yada-yada so he could “succeed” in life. I mean, I guess he wasn’t a actual jerk seeing as we’ve gotten along quite well before, provoking me to invite him to my last birthday party once (but seeing as he tried to rig the cake distribution in his favor, it was also the last party I’ll invite him to), and he was still more knowledgeable than the rest of his team in certain areas (which may explain his varying ability to cheat), but he still likes to cheat at stuff if he thinks he can get away with it (notice how I used present tense when I mentioned the last bit). So because of his instinct to cheat, Curt and I ended up having to sacrifice what felt like half an hour to get him to stop act like all the progress we made was his doing in order to keep ourselves from cringing so very badly. However, with all of this happening at that very moment, the many unnecessary delays finally gave up and the debate started, or at least did something that resembled the act of actually starting enough for us to get out of the waiting area, halting our preparation phase, something we didn’t really notice since we had to set up all of our many, many notes (and related @#$%) of which built up during our extensive preparation period in order to make it all accessible, which turned out to be something the opposing side didn’t really get and apparently tried commit revenge seeing as the first words I heard as soon as the debate’s judge, the 7th grade math teacher (who, for whatever reason, of whom was wearing a cliche judge’s robe with cliche referee stripes), okayed the debate were “Well, for starters your honor, the side opposing us is trying to rig the debate!”  These words, said by that team’s leader: Kron Collins (the most popular kid in debate club since he does quite well compared to everyone who joined and quit, but only among his hyper naive team, because everyone else who did well actually knew what they were doing, didn’t use way-too-easy cheap tricks that some people can’t help but forget is cheating and came across as “uncool” in their eyes, Kron also happened to be the last “cool” kid in the class too which just gave him more popularity seeing as “cool” kids now thought he was just a smarter version of them), immediately silenced and frozen every single body in the gym but mine, Bax’s (of whom jumped, because let’s face it, he might’ve already cheated himself) and the opposing side. Sure, everyone was still alive but everyone was all just so dumbstruck by such a strong accusation being made so early in the debate. The teachers were all probably thinking What?, pure and simple, all except for the judge who probably thinking Either way, someone is gonna suffer>:(., while the students watching this (all of whom unfroze) were easier to read, a fourth of which were probably pretty doubtful of the claim, another fourth seemed try to figure out the validity of the claim through a brief session of philosophical thinking, the rest of the students on the benches were definitely thinking Oh yeah! It’s only a millisecond after it started and that one team on the right is gonna get it>:)!, seeing as my team was the team on the “right“, I couldn’t help but be a little hurt by their brash feelings, but then again I happened to play a specific little famous/infamous video game behind my parents’ backs of which has given me that kind of pumped yet sadist feeling of blood lust that can only be achieved through pure brawn, however that realization just made me approach the game and the different sides of it’s fanbase differently from that point on, and this sudden change of view would’ve led to me rethinking the rest of my life if the judge didn’t ask “Is this true, Baxter?” to which he replied “I don’t know! Why would I know? Jack and Curt probably do! Ask them!” to which Curt answered “No Bax, we didn’t cheat, and you just revealed how bad of a debate team leader you are!” to which Baxter replied by doing a little quick panic dance-thing and collapsed. I considered trying to wake Bax up and reminding him that our plan was to be collected, but then I realized that not only would I sacrifice a collected appearance myself but also that such a task would probably end up being more trouble than it’s worth, and speaking of old phrases, I ended up trying to make sense of the how the term “more trouble than it’s worth” fit its meaning, and when I somewhat quickly figured it out, I realized that doing so was a bit more trouble than it was worth and that the trouble could’ve been worse. So I got my head back to the real world only to find the judge deep in thought. “How do I know you’re not lying?” he inquired with a sorry excuse for a intimidating face. I answered by saying “Well, let’s start by testing the validity of the claim that we cheated. So Kron, do you care to explain?” This is when it became apparent that all they did to come to that conclusion was a mixture of deduction and assumption (which I guess makes it a dedumption?). Kron immediately semi-blurted “Well, when we were going to start, they went and postponed the debate by coming up with a excuse to go messing around with a bucha papers and a few music stands so that our minds will go unstable and too impatient to put up with the debate with boredom while they had their minds occupied with the task so they’ll ready to crush our arguments with ease!” only to be stared down “coldly” by the judge who kinda muttered the words “Actually, progression of the debate was halted because we have to follow a procedure that required us to calm down the students when they get excited.” Of course, the reason the students were so excited was because the long wait was finally coming to a close, but then they had to be calmed down so some of them got hyper again tried to rebel and fail horribly which would probably never halted progression. Sure, I would have to take a quick survey of the supposed attempted rebellion first but when I finally did, the results were in favor of my hypothesis. But Kron just had to take a stab at the judge’s claim. “Well, how do I know that you’re not lying after being bribed by our opponents?” was what he tried to sneer but it just ended up sounding like a little kid whining because he was too smug with himself to not highlight his confidence for anyone and everyone to see. The judge (legitimately) sneered “Well, Don’t you remember the crowd being super rowdy compared to similar events even though the crowd’s smaller this time…?” Kron nodded, confusedly, “-and wouldn’t you think that there was a chance that it could’ve taken a bit of a long time to deal with it!?” Kron nodded again, this time nervously. “Then how are you going to prove your outrageous claim with that reasoning!?” the words must’ve echoed in kron’s mind, the poor kid was an absolute beginner at logos arguments, and so was the judge. “Young man, I’ll have to declare your opponents the win-!” -ners. Now, while most people in most competitions would go phew, didn’t even have to break a sweat. I was so worried about losing, but I just happened to be in a entirely different mindset. Again, I was a weirdo who wanted to change the world’s political state both drastically and overnight through a debate that would convince millions and may or may not have been hard fought. That and I thought of debates like this were just ways to get the truth to come to life and half of the true skill laid in getting the best stance. So natural I shouted “OB-JACK-TIAAAN!” up the the top of my lungs, reminding myself of a certain video game character from one of my favorite games, of whom just so happened to not be the protagonist, but rather one of the opponents the protagonist may as well wiped the floor with if the game had any combat related mechanics in the first place, and this comparison made me try to hide myself when I noticed the judge was looking at me. But after Curt gave me a few (quiet yet insanely overkill) punches on the back, I whimpered “Uh, your honor? I think that it’s way too early for a verdict. I mean, whether we cheated or not has nothing to do with our two stances, and trying to use that as something to determine your verdict would just make you a victim to a fallacy!” the judge stared at me and asked “A... Fallacy…?” Suh-iiiiigh, he was the judge of a flippin’ debate club and he didn’t even know a thing about what he was judging, wonderful. So I gave the judge a brief course on critical thinking (which must’ve made me look like a dork in my opponents’ definition(s)) and then was greeted to this little quote from the judge: “You know what? I think we could all use a 23-hour recess!”. My spirit was crushed. “WHAT!? WHY!?” I blurted, but the judge only shrugged and nervously smiled as if he was the most innocent person in the room despite ready to inflict a fascist verdict mere seconds ago only to make the excuse: “I guess I’m just not compatible for this.” because it’s true, we could’ve had the philosophy teacher take the role on. But nooo, the school just had to think debates use statistics as evidence, statistics are used in math, sam dif. when choosing the judge. The situation left me with no choice but to suggest shortening the recess by having the switching current judge with the philosophy teacher, BUT NOOO! HOW COULD PHILOSOPHY POSSIBLY BE RELATED WITH DEBATES EVEN IF SO MUCH OF IT REVOLVES AROUND REASONING AND ARGUMENTS LIKE DEBATES!? RRAAAAAHHH! Boy how that memory drives me nuts! So the debate was backed up to a full two days later, not quite the day right before the last day of school but it became a bigger deal now that it was more of a last minute sort of thing and ended up attracting the school’s most inseparable friends, Sammy Lionhart and Manny Johnson, but the only reason I know about them is because the “cool” kids loudly disagree about who’s the better quarterback. I could also tell that they regretted their decision because they were in a paranoid state, terrified about the possibility that a teacher will bust them for using their phones to play games at an inappropriate time. The game probably being the mobile version of the one I play behind my parents’ backs. The judge, now more confident in his abilities, started the trial without a care in the world about what was happening with the actual audience. However, it didn’t make the begining much different from the last time seeing as one of Kron’s cronies almost immediately suggested that maybe our use of papers and stands was cheating itself only for the idea to be turned down by the judge since there wasn’t a rule against it, but then again, there probably wasn’t any thought of this sort of situation happening when the school was making the debate club’s rules. Anyway, this turndown made the kid turn his head straight towards his “master”, with sweat covering all of his body, shaking Kron yelling “OH GREAT ONE! WHAT SHALL WE DO!? I THINK WE MAY ALL BE DOOMED FOR LIFE, MASTER!” to which Kron just said “I dunno, I don’t even know what’s really going on at the moment! I don’t recall any of us really making a real argument yet.” and would’ve continued to say “SO SHUT UP FOR THE MOMENT AND WAIT UNTIL YOU ACTUALLY SEE A CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING USEFUL!” if Bax didn’t blurt “WHAT!? THAT WAS IT?! YOU JUST ARGUED OVER THAT WHOLE CHEATING CLAIM!? WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME AND NOT JUST SNEER “well, nothing of interest for the the next half of the debate tomorrow.” BECAUSE THAT COULD’VE JUST BEEN NERD SPEAK (NO OFFENSE) THAT I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND!” to which a fourth of the audience shouted some form of an annoyed and somewhat intentionally rude apology for him, how nice, for something being done for Baxter by someone who’s not a member of his family (just because he wasn’t a jerk didn’t mean his cheats didn’t make him unpopular with some of his “competitors”). Clearly the judge’s hopes for this stab at hosting a debate were too high. So after the judge quickly got us back on track, I was so pumped that I could finally prove my case’s validity, only to notice how short the metaphorical track actually was by wiping the floor with my opponents through my arguments. I guess I just chose just too good of a stance. Sure, that time I won fair and square but I couldn’t help but feel an emptiness that is the lack of satisfaction through hard work that time. No trial events becoming massive interruptions, no stupid leaps of logic made by the judge, no school burning up in flames mid-debate. I finally understood how that one overpowered anime satire protagonist-guy always seemed to feel. I was waiting a full year FOR A DEBATE THAT WAS SO NON-NOTEWORTHY THAT I DIDN’T GO INTO THE ACTUAL SPECIFICS! How I was so pumped when I heard that they were planning for a great big finale in the form of a debate at the beginning of debate club! With a feeling of defeat crushing my soul, I sulked out of the gym without celebrating our victory with a trophy with the rest of my team. I may’ve always wanted to win a big competition or something like this but I was just too depressed to remember that there was a reward. Finding myself a shadowy hallway that the school architects must’ve forgotten about midway into the job, so I could sulk and eat some candy I smuggled. Curtis eventually found me and got me to have a chat about what was wrong, the chat being ended swiftly after we had to be evacuated from the school because if we weren’t, we would’ve been burned along with the rest of the school, and since no one was hurt and I don’t remember any valuable objects getting destroyed in the fire (whether they were remotely school related or not), we just decided on spending the rest of the day celebrating the surprise last day of school with Baxter, and I completely forgot about my disappointment. I’d also probably say something about learning a lesson from all of this but really, it was just a weird biography-worth event in my life.

The author's comments:

the following story is basically the weirdest way things can go wrong in a debate club.

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