Life After Forensics: Ways to Stay Connected to Speech and Debate

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For those that love speech and debate, when that final round is over, and the last lines have been spoken, that stillness can be piercing. The knowledge that that was the last competitive tournament might not impact someone until perhaps they are seated on the bus to go home. Maybe it is not until a week has passed and there is no bus to greet them at 6 AM. But it always hits.

Many people are content with reflecting back on the memories stored away and grinning at the enjoyable experience. However, some speech and debate alums need and want to continue to be a facet of the forensics world. Yet, how? Here are some simple ideas for alums that want to reconnect with forensics:

JUDGE
All the benefits of waking up before dawn and running around all day without seeing daylight, but no stress from having to memorize your intro on the bus ride over! Plus, you might get paid! Contact your local school’s speech and debate team, or your state’s forensics league, to see how you can get involved in judging tournaments.

VOLUNTEER AT TOURNAMENTS
Want to be at a tourney, but have no desire to sit in rounds? Ask around and see if any local tournaments are in need of volunteers to help organize and run events. You might end up in the ballot room tallying up who gets to go to finals. Hey, maybe you will even get to hang that massive sheet of paper with the postings for finals!

COACH
This one could be tricky because some schools might prefer pulling coaches from their roster of teachers, but volunteer coaches do happen. Even hired, paid coaches that do not teach at that school occur as well. It all comes down to what that school allows. If you have any desire, and time, to coach speech and debate events for a local team, contact that team’s head coach and see what is available.

WORK FOR THE LEAGUE
While you were competing, did you ever fantasize about running the show and being someone in power at major speech and debate events? Maybe a career working for your state’s forensics league is perfect for you. You could be the person that helps organize State, or helps new schools join the league to compete.

BLOG/YOUTUBE
Another method to stay connected is to share your knowledge with anyone interested in listening. Start up a blog or post videos to a YouTube Channel and begin spreading the forensics love. This idea is even better when a coach is posting their team’s experiences throughout the season!

STAY IN TOUCH
It is easy to let the passion you once felt for speech and debate smolder when you are no longer in contact with anyone currently or previously involved. If you are not talking forensics, it almost always gets pushed out of the mind as time progresses. Thus, keep healthy contact with past speech buddies. Read about what is happening at local debate tourneys. Until you get actively involved, this is the best way to maintain your interest and serve as a motivator to finally judge some rounds, or coach.

TOASTMASTERS & THEATRE
Yes, it is not the same as speech and debate team, but it is a good substitute for people who still enjoy speaking in front of an audience. Also, audition for a community theatre play if the itch to act will not subside. There are always venues for adults to perform!

Speech and debate is not something you ever have to give up just because you are done with school. These are just a few of the ways to stay involved. There certainly are more. So, go forth and continue to spend whole Saturdays tucked away inside the corridors of a school, enjoying terrific performances and the electric atmosphere only a forensics meet can provide!

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