Monday May 19, 2008 | 0 comments
The last speech tournament of the year is the state championship. Held in mid-April, only the best speakers and debaters in the state earn the privilege to compete over the three days. Our school qualified two debate teams and four individual competitors to compete at this level. Three days of competition; two nights in a motel; numerous “roadie” meals.
The current group of competitors is unique in their dedication and intelligence; remarkable for their success so early in their competitive careers. Further, they have been with me for my conversion from coffee to tea. Drinking tea with me at practices and tournaments, reminding me to bring hot water or tea or both to overnight tournaments – this bunch loves tea! Many join me at lunch each day to drink some Golden Lion’s Paw or Nepalese Oolong. Just last week, they became enamoured of “King of Pearls” jasmine.
During the first day, debaters compete in four rounds of debate, taking about ten hours to complete. Up at 4:00 AM, on the road at 5:00 AM, and debating from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM . . . it is a looooooong day for both debaters and coach. At the team meeting, the debaters begged to be allowed to sleep in next day, and not appear at the tournament site until their first round began at 11:00. All agreed that I would drive the individual events competitors at 7:00 AM next day to allow debaters some extra rest.
There I was, at 6:15 AM, enjoying a nice cup of Golden Lion’s Paw, when my cell phone rang.
“May I join you for tea?” It was a debater who should have been enjoying some shut-eye.
“I thought you wanted to sleep in?”
“Not as much as I want tea.”
He padded from his hotel room to mine, dressed in a pair of ratty sweats. Together, we drank cup after tiny cup of delicious brew. He talked about each of his debate rounds, and I talked about tea. If you know and/or love a teenager, you can appreciate that special teen inertia that will fiercely stay awake for HOURS to play a new computer game, but turn into a grumpy bear when disturbed at slumber.
Never underestimate the power of tea!