Debating the best event to come

November 12th, 2009

The time is coming. My 21st birthday and Thanksgiving are less than two weeks away, but the excitement associated with those events fails in comparison to what comes in December. No, I’m not referring to Christmas or New Year’s Eve, I’m talking about … the end of debate.

I know our professor, Brent, will read this, and while I don’t have any cards to support this claim, I’m willing to bet most of our class is ready for debate to end. For those of you who haven’t had the honor of taking debate, cards are pieces of evidence used to support your claim. (And, my claim isn’t very well-written, but that is beside the point.)

Brent tells us that every JCU student with a communication and theater arts major has made it through debate, but there have been a few times I’ve wondered if I’ll be one of them. 

It is comforting to know that we all suffer together. Our class has formed a bond, forever united by daily quizzes, mild confusion of how to flow (a method for following along in debate), and an odd ability to recognize, and occasionally identify, fallacies.

Besides the 20 other people in the class, each person has a debate partner, and for certain assignments you get to share the load in groups of three. My debate partner and I signed up for the class together, knowing that a bad partner could make for a hellish semester. It feels like we’ve spent more time together looking for cards and working on our assignments than I have spent with my family in the past year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing. We have a special bond now. We’ve reached points of insanity, completely sober, and still done well on the assignments.

Brent promises us these skills are invaluable and he’s told us that most of the graduates before us agree. Apparently the school considered dropping the requirement, but upon assessment of the graduating seniors, they said it was the most important class they’ve taken at JCU. As one guy in our class pointed out, it could be that they just want us to suffer too.

Either way I think we’ve all learned a few things. We’re all going to make it through the class. We actually start debating soon. Yes, it is a little nerve racking, and while I’m not sure we’re quite ready, I think on the day of the debates the skills we’ve been learning all semester will kick in and we’ll do fine. Did I mention at our tourney we’ll be debating kids that are flying in from Texas just for the event?

For the record, this article isn’t about how I hate debate. I don’t. I actually think the class is somewhat enjoyable. But, I’m tired. I don’t want to learn about different ways to disarm America of their nuclear weapons, or how a no first use policy will solve the problem. (Our topic this semester is nuclear weapons.)  I’m ready to be done. An exciting series of events are coming up, and the end of debate remains the highlight.