Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Brenham Tournament Wrap-Up

So, in spite of all of my carping (see two posts ago), the first debate tournament of the season was a great success. I worked ballot distribution and actually had a great time. My approach was rather unorthodox (encouraging alumni to take their siblings' ballots, etc.), but I'd like to think everyone had fun in the process. I also met some great ladies.

As for my kids, they did so well. Flashing back to last spring, Therese could barely make it through a tournament. In the last round she debated at Conroe, she had to grip the podium in order not to fall down. She was dizzy, confused, exhausted, and in pain. We had no idea what was wrong with her. As of this tournament, we had a diagnosis and three full months of antibiotics under her belt. She made it through the tournament with flying colors. She wasn't tired or in pain. She was only dizzy when she laughed (such a weird phenomenon!). She was confused like crazy, but brain fog seems to be the primary (okay, secondary) symptom of her antibiotic. She was embarrassed about her debating ability because she is just sentient enough to realize how not smart she sounds when she is speaking. She says it's like half her brain is listening to her and is saying, "Are you kidding? Do you even know how dumb you sound right now?" Dealing with the brain fog is definitely a lesson in humility for her. It is hard to be really smart and not come across that way. Still, considering where she was 8 months ago, I think we'll all take this! Besides, she did come in 5th in the tournament -- with a 5-1 record in prelims.

An absolute ton of that credit, dare I say the majority of that credit, goes to her partner. Andrew has been spectacular with her in every respect. He has been beyond patient with her as they have prepared for the season, and he has played the role of, "Say this, respond with this, ask this," at the table during rounds. Therese understands more than she did a few months ago, but she is definitely not the debater she was a year ago. She knows it. Andrew knows it. And, yet, he has never once made her feel bad about it. Instead, he has encouraged her and supported her. Does it help that he cares about her as more than a partner? I'm sure it does. I actually don't think he'd act all that different, debate-wise, if he didn't, though, because he's just that great of a person. Someone raised that boy right.

Therese also made it to semis in Impromptu - no surprise there.

My twins did great, too. My emotional moment came when Michael - the same Michael who couldn't push his Impromptu speeches to a full minute last year, the same Michael who has never won anything in speech but always rejoices with Mary-Catherine when she wins - won 1st in Impromptu. He also won 3rd in Duo. Mary-Catherine won 1st in Impromptu, 1st in Platforms with a speech on Irena Sendler, and 2nd in Open with her interpretation of Dork Diaries.

Now we get a full blessed month of non-tournamentedness before we have, I think, three tournaments in six weeks or something like that. I'm trying not to think about it! Because, as we all know, tournament time is a wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey thing.

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