Dedicated Debaters

I know there’s a little dogsled race going on right now, but our weekend was dominated by debate.  It started Friday night, when Sam’s teammates came over for a cram session before the tournament.  I secretly wondered how much time 13-year-old boys would *actually* spend studying on a weekend, but they were focused: writing speeches, strategizing, researching, and (yes) dreaming.

I texted this picture to Clark, and his response was “That’s not what I did with buddies when I was his age!”  I have to agree, they are a unique crew.  On the drive to our house they took turns naming countries in Africa, which is certainly not a car game Sam learned from me.

The only time they got off task was when they queued up YouTube videos about marble mazes, where they were betting on marbles like racehorses.  This inspired them to build a marble maze and name all of our marbles.  (As for the football helmets, I truly have no clue…)

Before long they (mostly) shed the helmets and got back to business.  I went to bed at 11 PM, but they stayed up another hour before Clark made them call it quits.

They all sprang out of bed at 6:15 the next morning, without complaint, and hit the showers.  Clark baked his world famous cinnamon rolls for breakfast (brain food?) and tied their ties.  There was time for a quick driveway dab before we headed to the tournament:

The topics for this quarter were “Should schools eliminate letter grades?” and “Should the US adopt a single-payer health care system?”  The boys argued both sides of each issue so eloquently that I honestly didn’t know what they actually believed until we discussed it at dinner that evening!

They finished the first four rounds undefeated, successfully debating each side of both issues.  The semi-final and final rounds were decided by a coin flip:  the winner picked the topic, and loser picked prop or opp (or vice versa).  Their strongest debate in the preliminaries was opposition of the single payer health care issue (thanks to a brilliant “opt-out” safeguard strategy), but they weren’t lucky enough to get that position in either of the final rounds.  Even so, they beat a strong Hanshew team in the semi-final round by a 4-1 margin, and a rival Romig team in the finals by a 6-3 margin.

Their hard work paid off!  They took home the championship trophy!

This kid.

As his mother I can’t help but be biased, but I’m just so proud of him!  He has these endearing nerdy qualities, yet he’s one of the coolest kids I know.  He has a kind soul and true friends.  He laughs.  He loves gymnastics, geography, soccer, and his dog.  He makes mistakes and makes amends.

And on days like this, he grows.  He learns to listen harder, choose his words more carefully, and work for his goals.

And, I must say, he looks pretty darn spiffy in that new suit!

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