Forensics, I Love You

Forensics, I Love You

All the reasons this sport for actors is the best high school extracurricular.
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Let me clarify (as I’ve had to about fourteen hundred times): the forensics I’m talking about is competitive speech and debate, and it is not related to science at all.

Here’s a quick(ish) explanation:

Each state has its own version of Forensics, but the basic formula is the same. Kids decide which individual event they want to compete in. There are two categories of events: public address (PA) and interpretation (interp). In PA, students give speeches that are informative and factual in events like sales and extemporaneous speaking. In interp, students perform condensed versions of scripts or books as characters in events like dramatic interpretation and storytelling. At tournaments, everyone competes against the other students in their event in preliminary rounds in front of judges, and the top scorers go on to semi final and final rounds. There's the potential for students to go on to regional competitions, state competitions, and even the national competition.

Here’s why forensics totally rocks:

It builds confidence.

No matter how well you do in tournament rankings, forensics teaches you how to speak in front of people. It gives you valuable experience in public speaking, which is an important skill to have. It teaches you how to own a room, how to command attention, how to act confident even if you feel like you’re about to pee yourself. It helps you realize your own authority. You have a voice that deserves to be heard, and participating in forensics helps you grasp that.

It teaches independence.

In forensics, there’s the potential for a student to write their own speech or cut their own script, make their own choices about delivery and blocking and set their own goals for how well they want to do at a tournament. In an individual event, when you walk into a round at a tournament there’s no one else you can lean on. You have to perform, and you have to learn to trust yourself.

It also teaches teamwork.

There are also events in forensics that aren’t individual events. Students can perform a duo, which requires two people performing a script together, or a multiple, which requires three to eight students performing a slightly longer script together. These events require students to work closely together and trust each other, especially because there are strange guidelines for them, like the fact that partners of a duo and members of a multiple cannot touch or make eye contact during their performance.

Even if you compete in an individual event, there are elements of teamwork in forensics. If you have a good team, everyone is very supportive of each other and likes to build each other up. Plus, if the whole team does well, you can win awards as a group at the end of tournaments. This creates a very positive environment in which everyone on the team is cheering everyone else on.

It’s really fun.

Even though forensics can be stressful and difficult — maybe an understatement, since many people on my high school team (including me) experienced mental breakdowns at some point during our forensics careers — it’s totally worth it. I remember the joys of small successes (like getting that first 1-100), the joys of bigger successes (making it to a final round), the fun of watching my teammates crush their competition, the heart-stopping moment when you wait in a silence the feels like eternity to find out who got first place in your event, the (mostly) friendly competition between rival schools. I remember the loud and song-filled bus rides home from far-away tournaments and the feeling that we’d all accomplished something together. At the very least, we’d all stood up and said something important to us or told a story we knew had to be told. It made the headaches so, so worth it.

Forensics is so many great things, and I’ll be forever grateful that I was a part of it. I miss it (even though there were times that I swore I wouldn’t), and I’d compete again in a heartbeat. Anyone can do forensics, and I wish everyone could give it a try.

Judge and timer, are you ready?

Cover Image Credit: facebook

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To The Coach Who Ruined The Game For Me

We can't blame you completely, but no one has ever stood up to you before.
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I know you never gave it a second thought, the idea that you're the reason I and many others, never went any farther in our athletic careers.

I know you didn’t sincerely care about our mental health, as long as we were physically healthy and our bodies were working enough to play. It’s obvious your calling wasn’t coaching and you weren’t meant to work with young adults, some who look to you as a parent figure or a confidant.

I also know that if we were to express our concerns about the empty feeling we began to feel when we stepped onto the court, you wouldn’t have taken the conversation seriously because it wasn’t your problem.

I know we can't blame you completely, no one has ever stood up to you before. No one said anything when girls would spend their time in the locker room crying because of something that was said or when half the team considered quitting because it was just too much.

We can't get mad at the obvious favoritism because that’s how sports are played.

Politics plays a huge role and if you want playing time, you have to know who to befriend. We CAN get mad at the obvious mistreatment, the empty threats, the verbal abuse, “it's not what you say, its how you say it.”

We can get mad because a sport that we loved so deeply and had such passion for, was taken away from us single-handedly by an adult who does not care. I know a paycheck meant more to you than our wellbeing, and I know in a few years you probably won’t even remember who we are, but we will always remember.

We will remember how excited we used to get on game days and how passionate we were when we played. How we wanted to continue on with our athletic careers to the next level when playing was actually fun. We will also always remember the sly remarks, the obvious dislike from the one person who was supposed to support and encourage us.

We will always remember the day things began to change and our love for the game started to fade.

I hope that one day, for the sake of the young athletes who still have a passion for what they do, you change.

I hope those same athletes walk into practice excited for the day, to get better and improve, instead of walking in with anxiety and worrying about how much trouble they would get into that day. I hope those athletes play their game and don’t hold back when doing it, instead of playing safe, too afraid to get pulled and benched the rest of the season.

I hope they form an incredible bond with you, the kind of bond they tell their future children about, “That’s the coach who made a difference for me when I was growing up, she’s the reason I continued to play.”

I don’t blame you for everything that happened, we all made choices. I just hope that one day, you realize that what you're doing isn’t working. I hope you realize that before any more athletes get to the point of hating the game they once loved.

To the coach that ruined the game for me, I hope you change.

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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The Warriors' Fans May Need To Be Concerned About Stephen Curry

The six-time All-Star point guard's PPG has dipped over the past few games.

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The Golden State Warriors have been the most dominant NBA team over the past five years. They have claimed three NBA championships in the past four seasons and look to pull off a three-peat as they currently hold first place in the Western Conference more than halfway into the 2018-2019 NBA season. Warriors point guard Stephen Curry has been one of the primary reasons for their sustained success and is regarded by many around the NBA as the greatest shooter of all time and one of the best point guards in the league today. However, his points per game (PPG) total has dipped over the last few games. Should this be concerning for Warriors fans?

Curry got off to a hot streak early in the season and has had a few notable games like every season. He scored 51 points in three quarters while tallying 11 three-pointers against the Washington Wizards in the fifth game of the season and has delivered in the clutch with high-scoring games against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 23, 2018 (42 PTS) and Dallas Mavericks on January 13, 2019 (48 PTS).

However, Curry's consistency and point total have slipped over the past few games. He only put up 14 points and had a generally sloppy three-point shooting performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 2, and only 19 points four days later against the San Antonio Spurs, who were resting two of their best players, Demar Derozan and Lamarcus Aldridge due to load management. In addition, he only managed 20 points against a hapless Phoenix Suns team who made an expected cakewalk win for Golden State much harder than it should have been.

Perhaps Curry's numbers have dipped because he is still adjusting to having center Demarcus Cousins in the offense, or maybe I am simply exaggerating because Curry's standards are so high. The Warriors have won fifteen of their last sixteen games and are currently in cruise control heading for the top seed in the Western Conference. Perhaps the Warriors will ask more of Curry if the situation gets direr.

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