Monday, November 26, 2012

Let the Battle Begin!

On the 17th and 18th of November, I competed in the ALSA Crushbone Debating Competition held at Universitas Gajah Mada (UGM), law faculty. After two relatively long years of not debating, you can be assured that I was rusty as ever. To make matters worse, I have only competed as a debater once in my college years. That was back in 2010 and we didn’t ever break through to the finals. In addition, we received the information about the event only two weeks prior to the competition date. I felt like a balloon just waiting to be burst.

My school sent two teams as delegations for the event. Before the big day, I believe we tried our best to juggle everyone’s activities in order to have time for practice. For days we practiced almost every day between classes and work shifts with our school’s reputation and glory close at heart. On the 10th of November, a technical meeting took place at UGM. The committee announced the tongue twisting and brain tangling motions. We were faced with such a challenge, especially since most of us were newbies in the field of debating. To make matters much more concerning, most of the motions were about law and international agreements. We were students of English literature. Trust me; the decision about the UN’s military intervention in Syria has nothing to do with phonetics or phonology (now I’m talking gibberish).

Even though the motions were stained with the possibility of our dark fate, we endured. Everyone was given two motions to study about. Every day, during practice, each debater had to give a presentation about their motion. Afterwards, we tried to dissect each motion to get the big picture and figure out our arguments. I am sure that everyone tried their best to prepare themselves.

Two days before the big day, I got my senior from my old school to come and coach us. I am proud to say that he did a hell of a job. I have gotten quite used to his knowledge and methods. However, to this day, my fellow teammates are still in awe of his greatness. Thanks, Big Bro!


On the first day of ACDC, we sent our two teams to face the battle. I was in a team with two seniors who were in their 7th semester at school. We competed in four preliminary rounds and managed to win three of them. It was rather a surprise for us because the two of the motions were impromptu. At the technical meeting, the committee had announced that the motions for the preliminary rounds would be prepared. Consequently, we weren’t as prepared as we would have liked to be. Nevertheless, we kicked butt!

At the end of the day, before the announcement for the breaking teams, I was given a wonderful surprise. My mom appeared in the debate hall accompanied by my little sister and my little brother. Mom and my little brother had just arrived in Jogja from a two hour airplane trip from Kuala Lumpur. Our friends from school also came to support us, including one of our beloved lecturers. Thanks everyone!

To our great astonishment and happiness, one of our teams, team A, got 6th place which meant we broke through to the finals. Yay! We wished that both of the teams could break. Oh well, better luck next time!

On the next day, we competed in the finals with the cheers from our wonderful supporters. We won the quarterfinal battle with a close margin – another pleasant surprise for us. However, we couldn’t beat the opposition team during the semifinals. At least we finally got to watch a debate though. The grand final was a fiery battle between UGM and Atmajaya. UGM won with a unanimous decision and a close margin which concluded the whole competition.

I am really grateful for the whole experience. We weren’t so bad, for rookies, no? Next target: Grand finals!