Case Shock

February 21, 2010
By mwolly BRONZE, Bloomington, Illinois
mwolly BRONZE, Bloomington, Illinois
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In most situations I have the natural gift of having things just come easy to me. There is one instance in my life though where that was not the case. It all started last summer… After a year during school of debating as a novice my coach suggested that I go to a debate camp. I took him up on with his offer and soon enough was on a plane heading for Austin, Texas.
Soon enough, I had arrived at the camp hotel, the Castilian, on the University of Texas Campus. I dragged my heavy suitcase with me as I went up to the floor where the Debate Camp sign in was. I was soon in a very long line waiting behind a herd of rowdy high school kids. Finally, after many boring minutes of standing in line I was asked what group I would best be suited for entering. I chose the novice group as I had a bad beginning run during my freshmen year with an overwhelming number of losses.
After signing in and quickly throwing my stuff into my dorm room, I went to the classroom where I was supposed to meet my teachers. The classroom was full of eager high school students and there were two counselors standing in the front of the class who where Jenn and Chaten. Chaten was very thin with olive skin and glasses while Jenn was the opposite, a little heavy set with neatly brushed brown hair. Both had smiles on their faces.
When I sat down with the other kids, Jenn and Chaten got started with their lesson and it was all review for me. Their lecture was about case structure and how a debate round works. (Cases are opening speeches that you give, that layout all your arguments for why something should be done.) “This is a piece of cake,” I thought to myself and was about to dose off until Chaten said that we had to write our own cases. I immediately jolted in my seat and almost fell out of my chair. When I was debating at my high school, my coach always wrote the cases for us. “Writing a case?” I thought. “This could get messy.” So I immediately zoned in and tried to understand how to write a case. They gave examples of debating economic sanctions, jury nullification, and exit exams. By the end of the lesson I was feeling pretty confident about writing cases. When we were assigned time to work on the case topic of Economic Sanctions, I was ready. I was given a template on what the structure of a case and a pad of paper to write on.
We were then sent back to our dorms to work. I spent a lot of time researching my topic and getting some background information on economic sanctions on my laptop, that was simple enough. When I was done researching I knew I had to start writing my case. I was pumped I put my pen on my paper and was waiting for the ideas to flow straight from my brain to my paper like they did doing assignments at school. It didn’t happen. That shocked me and angered me at the same time. This had never happened before. My mind just went blank and I stared at my paper, frustrated. I looked at my watch and I was enraged I had spent a whole hour sitting there and there was not one word on my paper. My new friend Jerron that I had met earlier that day came a minute later and invited me to go chill in the lounge. I took his offer and left my blank notebook. I had a lot of fun just talking with my friend playing ping-pong, pool, and meeting new people. Soon enough it was dark outside and I had to be back in my dorm room for curfew.
I walked back to my room and opened up the door and saw the blank notepad on which my case should have been completed. “Crap,” I thought to myself. I had to have my case finished and printed by tomorrow morning, ready to be debated. “If I don’t have this case done Chaten will flip out.” And through all that that frustration and stress that was going on my head something clicked. I sat down and soon enough my hand just started moving like magic. I used the evidence from the articles that I was given by my teachers to back up my case; I had written persuasive papers in school, but that was not enough to prepare me for this task. The mental stress was enormous but I kept at it until the end. I looked at my watch, It was 3:00 in the morning. My brain and body were so mentally worn out that I just fell on my bed and fell into deep sleep.
The next morning I woke up and ate a quick breakfast and went to the room were I was supposed to be debating with my completed case. I went in there feeling confident with the case I put together the night before, feeling invincible.
I got destroyed.
My opponent tore my case apart. I realized that I had not used as much evidence as I thought to back up each of my arguments and was relying too much on my own words. My opponent saw that, honed in on it and showed the judge that I was asserting myself too much and he ended up beating me down on that.
Even though my round did not go well, I was not fazed, I took my loss as a learning experience and my situation of procrastination as an experience and knew what I had to fix in my case. Soon enough loses turned into wins and I left camp feeling successful in both debating and case writing. Walking away from camp made me realize that things do not always come easily and when they don’t, you have to work twicefold.

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