Respect for other competitors

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This is one area of speech and debate that may seem obvious, but it definitely needs addressed. It always amazed me how much tournaments were just like junior high school all over again. It didnt matter how good or bad a competitor was or what they were wearing, there was always someone from some team ready and willing to gossip about other members. Either that, or my district was just particularly bad with this. Anyway, when it comes to competing with other schools, there are some common courtesies which are imperative not only for your reputation, but for the reputation of your school.

Before I go any further, I have to admit that I would have been a hypocrite to write something like this during my freshman year of forensics. I constantly put people in boxes and judged others based on performance and much more trivial things. As I approached my sophomore year though, I realized that at the very least, this type of attitude did nothing to help me or my competitors. In addition, it was completely arbitrary judge others both mentally and verbally for whatever reason and from then on, I began to apply a few rules of etiquette until the time I graduated.

First and foremost, it doesnt matter if a competitor is amazing or if they are awful, there is nothing to be gained by judging those around you. I couldnt believe how many times I saw students make fun of others for not being good (right at the tournament). And if a student consistently did well, people would start rumors about cheating or compromise that were nasty to say the least. With that said, we are all human and each and every one of us has opinions. But for the sake of you, your school and the other competitors, keep your opinions to yourself.

Although not saying anything against someone is great, it is even more important to be encouraging. I always felt honored when another competitor would ask me for advice on a topic or approach. If you get beat by someone, it is just as important to congratulate them. I think one of the toughest things to do as a competitor is to lose in humble manner or win in a gracious manner. It takes a lot of character on either side and there are few people who ever truly grasp this concept.

Looking back, I do remember 2 or 3 competitors who really strived to do well and encourage others. I respected them, because they were phenomenal in their given events but never used that as an excuse to be pompous. Suprisingly, I think it is these same people who go far in life. They accomplish much, but never forget to respect and care for those around them. Regardless of the person, team or performance, it is important to realize that there is only one thing you can control: how you act and react to those around you. And in a tournament situation, the best thing to do is always show respect for others. In turn, you will gain respect and set a good example for those who follow you.

I definitely agree with you, Brian. It's not only important to show respect for others during rounds, but also outside of competition.

I agree with both of you. To expand: some of the humblest people I've met have been involved in forensics.

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