after the fact / a post-tournament reflection post

(this is a feels and self-motivational post lol)

I’ve lost count of the number of debate tournaments I have joined since high school. I’ve similarly lost count of the number of debates I’ve won, lost, failed or succeeded at. And yet in the haziness of my finite memory, every debate tournament still leaves an impression. Well, not every debate, but something close to the majority. Probably.

…the point of this post is that LSIV left some sort of impression on me. 

In all honesty, I learned a lot of things from LSIV. I heard brilliant and novel points from a lot of great debaters we went up against,  and we were adjudicated by fairly discerning (and friendly) thinkers. I learned that you could pull off a tournament that had air-conditioned rooms, an almost dozen of sponsors, actually entertaining filler games and videos, branded catering… And I watched excellent speeches during the semis and grand finals after we were taken out of the running.

I reaffirmed the fact that being in the UP Manila Debate Circle is one of the best things to have ever happened to my college life. Everyone, from the supportive alumni to the ‘kids’, challenge, inspire and comfort me in equal measures. The people in the Circle (and also the unique quality and style of our debating/adjudicating, maybe) are unparalleled. I couldn’t stop myself from having fun during the tournament even if I wanted to. Everyone else was (purposefully or incidentally) hard at work making me laugh and keeping me awake.

But most importantly: I relearned that debating is most likely always going to be a challenge for me –not because I dislike it, or because I am inherently bad in it, but because I will always know in my heart that I could be better than this (if only I train more, or compete more, or socialize more?). My average speaker score in LSIV is 76.5, which is 0.5 points lower than the average I sought to set for myself. Ranking at 18th in LSIV, while kind of okay, is still frustrating. Mostly because I don’t even think I deserve it. (Tournament Tabs)

During the preliminary rounds and the break rounds that we debated in, I was consciously aware of the fact that my performance was less than stellar, that I was leaving things unfinished and unresolved. It was an undeserving follow-up to UADC Bali 2015, which I consider to be one of my best tournament performances.

A side note — we (Christian, Aloy and I) broke to pre-octos and proceeded to octofinals in UADC Bali 2015. The experience marked the first time I broke in an international tournament, and also the time I was the 22nd best speaker in Asia. (Tournament Tabs)

[As an even further side note — I still haven’t posted the Bali2015 travel video because I want to add (currently unposted) debate videos from the tournament. So.]

In contrast to Bali, I consistently felt like I was struggling to be brilliant (or to be honest, even just above average) during our rounds in LSIV. In a British Parliamentary setting, it is very easy to note and become critical of yourself, especially relative to your only other partner and relative to the rest of the room. I love Christian to death for taking on my burdens; I will always be thankful that we made it to the quarters.

Another side note — it’s the first time Christian and I have partnered in a BP tournament. I will never not be impressed by her ability to perform sharply (and look gorgeous while doing it). I’m glad that we got to have this run, especially since she partly sacrificed her academics to do this with me. Also, we don’t have a team photo.

The frustrations of underperforming, even just against personal standards, are materialized through a failure to evolve. I think a lot of the shortcomings I had as a speaker that adjudicators pointed out were things that were repeated throughout the rounds, which only means that I could not effectively learn from my mistakes in this tournament. I feel like there must have been some way my contributions and thoughts could be appreciated better, some way I could have thought quicker during prep and within the rounds.

But we kept afloat, mostly because of Christian’s drive to win and our own past experiences in debate. The fact that we only reached quarters makes me all the more uncertain.

I am uncertain because I don’t know what might have happened had I trained or matterloaded at all, if I had known about my current deficiencies as a speaker beforehand and corrected them, if I had thought to do anything in the last two months other than bum around. Granted, I did attend training for all of two rounds before LSIV.

The thing is, I had always assumed that in a tournament setting, I would be forced to excel due to circumstance, with or without training. This was justified when I first broke in a national competition in my first year of debating, practically without any training. Again justified in the last UADC, when we had only three rounds of training as a team (probably) before flying to Bali.

I suppose it’s the fact that I am now holding a higher standard for myself that makes me frustrated about my own lack of preparation and refinement. It’s now empirically proven that this higher standard could obviously not be met without training.  I could have been better. I have been better before.

So… I should probably go to training at some point this month?

But maybe this is the most important tournament lesson: how to pronounce Givenchy. 


This tournament also taught me that waking up at 7AM for seven consecutive days in a row IS A LEGITIMATE HARDSHIP. I am always so tired… (and yet morning classes make up the rest of my semester).

p.s. disclaimer: I THINK I AM A GOOD-GREAT-SPECTACULAR DEBATER OKAY this is just a feels post for this specific tournament// stop imposing insecurities on me pls

One Comment Add yours

  1. Raiko says:


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