Sick? So what!

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Want to know a secret? Everybody loves an underdog. Okay, not such a whopper of knowledge enclosed in secrecy, but it is valuable. Why? Because on days when you are sick this ideology can be better than Robitussin. When you walk into a round and you have a sore throat, sniffles, and a cough these could be the end of your chances of breaking. OR, these can be used to show your determination and skill despite being at a disadvantage to the healthy, able voices around you.

Flashback to my junior year in high school and there was one tournament I probably should not have competed in. However, feeling obligated to be there for my small team and duet partner I begrudgingly dragged myself out of bed and onto our bus. I had a slight fever, a cough, sore throat, and carried with me a hoard of tissues, honey, and cough drops. I was a walking Walgreen’s. Instead of wallowing in my sickness I stayed cheerful and focused on my vocal work for the events I were to compete in. Thus, whenever I read a Prose selection I was more meticulous and precise than normal. Everyone knew I was sick. In fact, in one round I had to stop performing for a few seconds because my throat and lungs decided it would be completely appropriate to have a coughing fit. But I battled through my strained voice to sound as normal as possible, held my coughing to a minimum (to be polite to fellow competitors), and if I did have to stop for a few seconds I came back as if nothing had happened. And how did I fare for my day of war against sickness? I was rewarded with breaking to finals AND receiving multiple compliments on how I handled my sickness while competing. Very professional!

Moral? As we enter the days of sickness, it is your choice whether to become illness’s slave or use your cold to become the underdog. Competing when you are sick can be one of the hardest, most draining things you ever do for forensics. The focus required to be anywhere near your level when healthy is ridiculous. BUT, preserver and people will see the skill through the snot! Do not give up or use sickness as an excuse to be mediocre!

Unless you are silly sick and should be at home in bed, I agree with this advice.

I would add: if you want to be there to compete, and you physically can compete despite the sickness, then promise yourself to not try playing the pity card. Most will not buy into it, and you risk losing respect by not sucking it up.

Common sense add-on: if you're sick, bring anything you need to stay functional and get better with you to the tournament. Kleenex, honey, cough drops, nasal spray, cough syrup--WHATEVER you need, be prepared and have it on you at all times!

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