Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Debate team tryout

Tonight I auditioned for the Yale SOM debate team, which is a four-member team that does two debates during the year: a highly anticipated round against a team from Harvard Business School, conducted the night before the Yale-Harvard football game (in November), and a less anticipated debate between first- and second-year SOM students.

For the tryout, we each formed teams and had to rather quickly come up with arguments on topics we didn't know ahead of time. The ones my team got were "Michael Vick should be banned from the NFL," for which we were pro, and "Spreadsheet Modeling should remain part of the first-year core curriculum," for which we were con. It was really fun to do, and I would love to do the real debate, although that topic will be on some sort of current events business matter, and that makes me a bit nervous. But preparing would probably be a benefit in and of itself. We'll see. They'll announce who made callbacks tomorrow morning; then those people do another round of tryouts tomorrow.

For those who might not know, I have a long history with public speaking. I did debate in high school, then coached a high school team while I was in college, then judged at high school tournaments when I was working in Corpus Christi, then was pretty involved in Toastmasters in Fort Worth and Dallas. So it's an activity I've always loved. I could go on and on and on forever about why, but basically I feel debate brought me out of my shell, taught me how to form arguments and think critically, helped me become a better writer, gave me tools to see contentious issues from both sides, and it was a butt-load of fun.

The debate team is part of the Public Speaking Club.

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