Admittedly, these wise words can be applied to copious situations. Nevertheless, they were the first words that came to my mind at the end of this year's final rounds of the Senior Debating Tournament last weekend. To my disgrace I have to admit that I did not think in Latin in that moment - but be that as it may, our team eventually finished the final rounds of this year’s tournament with one draw and three sounding victories.
Due to the current situation the entire tournament was held online via zoom by the Debating Society Germany. The organization was truly professional and made virtual debating at a high level possible. However, for a newly formed team like ours the difficulties in getting used to the procedures, needs and expectations of the strict debating format could not have been greater: the set structure of the 8 minute substantial speeches for each of the three debaters, reply speeches, points of information, rebuttal practice, ARE structure, SPERM model… technicalites galore for debates which last approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes needed to be practised at short notice.
Needless to say, we couldn’t expect more than an educational value from the first two debates in November. With the winter break and the following lockdown things didn’t get particularly better and again we had to admit defeat in Rounds 3 and 4 in January.
The motions for these first four rounds read:
Round 1: This House believes social housing should be relocated to richer areas.
Round 2: TH prefers a world in which universities charged tuition based on student earnings after graduation. (prepared)
Round 3: THB trade unions should prioritize less working hours over higher pay.
Round 4: TH regrets the rise of true crime entertainment. (prepared)
With this somewhat dissatisfying experience of being thrown in at the deep end it wouldn’t have been too surprising if we had not kept our head out of the water for too long. But our team members showed they could deal with setbacks and so things turned out different: Our team managed to meet online regularly despite all the difficulties, put in a tremendous effort into their respective prepared debates and practised impromptu debating as well. All the while catching up on procedure, strategy and debating tactics.
All this commitment was rewarded in the final four rounds: one draw and three wins, including one against our local rival and tough competitor from International School Frankfurt.
The motions for these last four rounds read:
Round 5: THB the feminist movement should oppose the institution of marriage.
Round 6: THW encourage research into human cloning. (prepared)
Round 7: THB local communities should be allowed to cap the number of tourists in their region.
Round 8: THW make international companies liable for human rights violations within their supply chains. (prepared)
Coming back to Seneca, with this more than promising kick-off season our first beginning has now come to a successfull end and we'll be back to next year's South League with more experience and skill.
A big thanks for their commitment during the whole debating season goes to Christian Fiore, Nathnael Kassahun, Wilma Lyon, Maja Seiffermann, Amie Thulin and Leonard Woolf.
Interested? Come and join us: Wednesdays, 7th and 8th period, Room A15.