To A Novice in Public Forum Debate

To a novice in public forum debate,

In debate, as in life, there are trends that are important to understand. Here are some of them. You will learn more.

1.) Winning and losing is irrelevant. I am not an expert on anything. Or rather, I am just as much an expert as you are, and you are just as much an expert as the four-year veteran senior.
2.) You will not get out what you put into this. You will probably get very close. But the number of pages of your preparations do not equal the number of trophies on your wall. Luck will help determine that.
3.) Your partner is a loaded gun. It may very well save your life; it may very well go off and put a bullet into your head. Similarly, your judge is a guard dog. If you care it and keep it, then you will face no problems, but if you are an intruder, then it will jump for your legs. You will never know if you are an owner or an intruder.
4.) Nothing in this sport is certain, even the notion that nothing is certain.
5.) Democrats, Republicans, socialists, libertarians, fascists–reach into your heart, take out your beliefs, and kick them outside. A topic may very well run them down, and that’s a good thing.
6.) There is no reason to hate your opponents. They are not your opponents. It is merely a facade adopted to apply meaning, which would otherwise not be there. I would say that opposition ends the moment you walk out the door, but that language suggests existence where there is absence.
7.) Sleep will always triumph over logic and evidence. The latter two stem from mental focus and drive, which in turn stem from sleep. A house would be nothing without its foundation, after all.
8.) The only good practice comes from practice. Second to your partner, it is your best friend in all of this. Trial-and-error is a remarkable tool, and you’ll be surprised how far it will take you.
9.) Debate always takes place inside of schools. This is not a coincidence. It is the reestablishment of an important idea: that a world sans education is a world sans debate. Always take a look at debate, but focus your sight on your learning. And yes, debate is a part of that.
10.) Have fun. There has never been nor never will be a debater who has no fun from debater and is successful at it at the same time. The second the enjoyment leaves should be the second you leave. Get a spring in your step from something else. This is by no means a bad thing. It is a part of life, just like debate.


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