When I was in high school, we didn’t have a debate team.
Well, it’s possible that we did and I didn’t know it because, let’s face it, I didn’t exactly run in debate team circles. Smart kids run in debate team circles, and I was not, nor am I now, smart. If my high school had a moron team, I would have been a four-year starter. But it didn’t, so I wasn’t.
Our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, however, is on her high school’s debate team. Emma, thankfully, is much smarter than I am. Of course, it’s possible that Emma, with her debate team training, will soon be able to logically defuse every argument I present to her.
Emma: “Can I stay out until midnight?”
Emma: “Hmm, interesting you should say that. Statistically, teenagers whose parents let them stay out until midnight are four times more likely to do well in school and go on to successful careers. I guess you don’t want me to have a successful career.”
Me: “Uh, what?”
Because my wife and I are debate team parents, we were asked to help out at the big debate tournament over the weekend at Emma’s high school.
Me judging a debate tournament is like Donald Trump judging a hair design competition.
My wife and I were to judge two rounds (I think they call them rounds) Friday evening and one round on Saturday.
On Saturday, one of us needed to get up early to judge a round that began at 8 a.m. while one of us could sleep in and judge a bit later. I generously volunteered to judge at 8 a.m.
“That’s so sweet of you,” my wife said.
“Relax, it’s what good husbands do,” I said.
“Wait,” she said. “There is a football game you want to watch this afternoon, isn’t there?”
“No. Whatever gave you that idea?” I asked in a very hurtful tone.
“Logic,” my wife said.
My wife should have been on a debate team.
On Friday morning, Emma tried to prepare me for my judging duties. Emma told me that I wasn’t supposed to let my personal feelings affect my judgment. She also told me to be sure and tell the debaters that I was a parent judge.
“Why?” I asked.
“So they can dumb things down,” Emma said.
“Oh,” I said.
As it turns out, the debaters didn’t have to dumb things down for me. Not because I’m smart, but because the folks in charge didn’t have me judge debates. Instead, I judged something called “Prose and Poetry,” “Original Oratory” and “Humorous Interpretation.”
My wife had to judge some sort of debate between two guys named Lincoln and Douglas.
“Hey, didn’t President Lincoln debate some guy named Douglas?” I asked my wife.
“You’re a moron,” my wife said.
When the first contestant in the Prose and Poetry competition entered the room, I wrote down her name, her secret debate tournament code and the name of her selection. Then I told her to begin. The young lady presented her introduction, but she did so in a strange way.
“Oh, she’s nervous,” I said to myself.
“No, she’s not, you moron,” myself said back to me. “She’s acting. It’s her character who is nervous.”
“Oh,” I said to myself.
I actually enjoyed judging at the debate tournament. It sort of made me feel good about the future being around all those smart kids. But because all of the kids were required to wear suits, it was sort of like being surrounded by hundreds of little lawyers. It’s not that I have anything against lawyers, it’s just that I really don’t want to be surrounded by them.
Saturday, after I finished my judging duties, I went home and met my wife as she was getting ready to leave for the tournament.
“Say hello to Lincoln and Douglas,” I said.
My wife muttered something under her breath. It sounded like “moron.”
DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA for Mike Pound’s column? Call him at 417-623-3480, ext. 7259, or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mikepoundglobe.
When I was in high school, we didn’t have a debate team.
- Local News
Pittsburg crews work to repair storm damaged Schlanger Park
City crews using heavy equipment spent Thursday cleaning up Schlanger Park after a storm tracked through Monday night.
Cunningham Park vandalism bill estimated at $4,000
The city estimates that vandals caused about $4,000 worth of property damage in Cunningham Park, draining the swimming pool of 200,000 gallons of water and moving some large landscaping rocks into the reflecting pond.
Content of book, students' access to it at issue in hearing for suspended teacher
A standing-room only crowd is present at the hearing this morning to decide the fate of suspended Joplin Middle School teacher Randy Turner, who has asked for the hearing before the board of education.
VIDEO: Restore Joplin designer stepping up to help Moore tornado victims
The designer of the Restore Joplin T-shirts who helped raise nearly a quarter-million dollars for Joplin in the wake of the 2011 tornado has put together a similar design to raise money for residents of Moore, Okla.
Southeast Kansas foundation accepts donations for Moore
The Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas is accepting donations to assist the victims of the Moore, Okla., tornado.
Federal, state leaders salute Joplin’s recovery
A deadly May twister may have punched a hole in Joplin and Duquesne two years ago, but the resolve to repair it will help other communities stand strong when they face similar disasters. That was the message of state and national diginitaries to a crowd of about 2,500 who observed the second anniversary of Joplin’s devastating May 22, 2011, storm during a ceremony Wednesday in Cunningham Park.
Banner from Joplin to be sent to Moore residents
A giant vinyl banner adorned with heartfelt messages from Joplin tornado survivors to the residents of Moore, Okla., became a centerpiece of Wednesday’s observance of the two-year anniversary of the May 22, 2011, tornado.
Hired hand won’t face death penalty in Vernon County murder case
The state has agreed not to seek the death penalty against Jeremy L. Maples in the murder of Belinda J. Beisly, but prosecutors have yet to take the option off the table for the victim’s husband, Bob T. Beisly II.
Families in Moore, Joplin linked by disasters
Zach Woodcock knew the storms were going to be bad on May 22, 2011, so turning on the Weather Channel was a natural. What he saw filled him with fear. The Moore resident’s family lived in Joplin, Mo.
Carl Junction officials weigh cost of proposed skate park
The public facilities and planning committee of Carl Junction met Tuesday to discuss plans for a proposed skate park near the site of the old public works barn on Water Street. The committee reviewed a design from American Ramp Co. of Joplin to get what committee chairman Tim Smith said was a “rough idea of layout and cost” for the project.
- More Local News Headlines
- Pittsburg crews work to repair storm damaged Schlanger Park