Report by Gemma Grier
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
Imagine a room full of people who are so much taller, so much older, so much wiser than you, talking quickly, wittingly, spouting off things right from the top of their head at a rapid speed that has your head spinning, heart caught in your throat. The room is a whirlwind of excitement and nerves. You almost can’t breathe.
That’s how we felt.
There were four debates, of which we were last to participate. So we sat there patiently, engrossed in the energy radiating from everyone as they spoke. Everyone had their own convictions, their own case to argue and you could see the passion: the hardwork they had put in burning behind their eyes like a flickering flame. Time was fleeting and lagging as we waited our turn and Hayley and I – the Our Lady’s High debaters – whispered worriedly to one another as we surmised the strength of our competition.
The schools passed in a blur, blazer colours blending together in a beautiful stretch, entwining silver tongues and bright, wild eyes. I was too mesmerised to catch the names.
The youngest there, our first debate, we were absolutely terrified. And as each person took to the lectern, our quavering glances grew more frequent, until finally it was our turn.
We took our seats and then the whole world seemed to turn on its axis and we knew nothing, everything we had prepared for was thrown to the side and not even Hayley’s perfect starting monologue that had even me, someone who is used to Hayley’s swiftness, on the edge of my seat, could save us from the polished, pressed predators from Abronhill High. (Lovely girls, but absolutely fierce.) They knew their stuff like the back of their hand and they had me sorely impressed- fair winners! For anyone who is actually interested, their final debate against Uddingston Grammar will be on December 4th, in the Chambers of Commerce. You will be absolutely enthralled!
We didn’t expect to win, in fact, I think we were just glad to have gotten as far as we did. And with eight debating teams competing that night, with only a place for two to advance, I think we did okay- a lot of stronger teams that us didn’t get through either, a small consolation to our grieving hearts. The finalists, Abronhill High and Uddingston Grammar, certainly deserved their places and Hayley and I can do nothing more than take this as a learning curve: all our mistakes can be smoothed out, we can take all the small tips and tricks from the other teams and apply them to ourselves. We didn’t fail, we simply studied.
And who knows? There’s always next year.