My Weekend in Chicago – A Saga

Yummy breakfast with one of my favorite people, on a chill morning. 

Sorry I haven’t posted in a long time; for the past few days, I’ve been in Illinois for a variety of debate tournaments, and today we are going to talk about my experience there.

First, I went to a tournament where I did not have to debate, which was totally unprecedented. I rarely go to tournaments without the intention of spending 8+ hours everyday immersed in technical and high speed debates. This time, I was along for the ride of a bunch of debaters to help coach younger kids and judge novice debates.

It was a great experience because this was a huge tournament; thus, many of my friends around the country were attending, but I didn’t have anxiety because I didn’t have to debate! I got to hang out with a bunch of my greatest friends. I also had the opportunity to sit in on very high quality debates, which helped me prepare for a separate tournament that I was going to further in the week (I’ll get to that later).

Coaching was strange too, because whenever I get advice from one of our coaches, I took their guidance very seriously; I wonder if it was that way with the younger kids in regards to me?

I was also obligated to judge a couple of novice debates, which I didn’t mind much. I had the opportunity to judge alongside some adults in the community that I respect highly, as well as other high schoolers that I got to compare perspectives with. I’ve heard a lot that one of the best ways to improve at debate is to judge some yourself. I’m not sure if the people who advocated this meant for me to judge novice debates, but I think I took a couple ideas away. It’s useful to remind yourself of the essentials, and despite the accepted norm, some young debaters, with their innocent intellect and imaginative insight, can come up with pretty wacky ideas.

The tournament was in the suburbs of Chicago, in Northbrook and Glenview. On the Monday of the tournament, it started snowing at the hotel. All of the Chicago natives groaned, while the Atlanta kids (and other debaters from the South) freaked out and started playing, taking pictures to show to their jealous friends back at home. I went out in a tank top, cardigan, sweats, and Toms, and slipped multiple times. But it was still enjoyable, because the snow came down like powder and stuck to the sidewalks like a picture perfect story.

Monday afternoon, and most of the kids from our school left, along with many of my friends, and it was a bittersweet goodbye. But my trip wasn’t over yet…

I debated at yet another tournament just a couple minutes away, near the Northwestern University campus.

But to set all of these events in context, my school’s Thanksgiving break started last Friday afternoon. So while everyone was chilling or headed to the beach, I was on a tournament, which is not to say that the tournament wasn’t fun, because it was super wonderful; however, I considered my break to have officially started last night, when I finally arrived home delirious and exhausted, which is okay, because I wouldn’t have had the weekend play out any other way.

Yeah, so that’s how my weekend went, and that’s while I haven’t posted for a while. Don’t mind that this post probably isn’t much like others that I write; these types will be few and far between.

This remix has been my jam for the entirety of my trip:

But the original is pretty fantastic too (especially the touching music video) – thank you to my friend Mallika for showing it to me:

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