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In which I break out my weekend suit

February 27, 2009 - Deb Gau
I was packing my garment bag and keeping one eye on the weather reports last night, just in case the snow made it impossible to take a bus from Marshall to the Cities this afternoon. This is my second year as an assistant coach for the MHS speech team, and I volunteered to go on the overnight trip to the Eastview High School tournament this weekend. I was in speech in high school - I confess I was never a shining star, although I did manage to earn an academic letter, and in my defense, extemporaneous speaking is really, really hard. But the thing that gets me now, as an adult coming back to speech, is how similar the experience is. You still have to get on the bus at 5 a.m., and try to get some sleep while bundled up in your coat and some travel-ready nice clothes (although I like not having to wear a power suit anymore). Once you get to the tournaments, there’s still a lot of “hurry up and wait” going on. As a high school student, I remember waiting what felt like forever for finals results to be posted, and having to fight my way through the crowd to see them. What I didn’t know at the time was that the coaches were doing the exact same thing, only crammed into the teachers’ lounge. Most importantly, quick thinking, poise and confidence are huge assets for judging tournament rounds, just as for speakers. Eventually, you’re going to be put in a category you’re not entirely comfortable with (Great Speeches? Poetry?), and you’ve just gotta roll with it. Seems like good advice, and I’m glad I’m getting a chance to practice it some more.


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