It happened, ladies and gentlemen. I have just competed in my very first collegiate competition at Ripon today!
Albeit it was just an intramural tournament, but it was still a potent cocktail with one part exciting, one part great team bonding, and two parts “wooaahhhh”*
But, before any success at a tournament can take place, one needs to tough it through the week before. If you’ve never played the competitive forensics game, or if it’s been awhile, that last week of preparation before the first meet can get quite intense and frustrating; making sure that paragraph is memorized, your blocking crisp, etc. Which brings me to the part of the show entitled “Don’t Do What Allie Did”:
Don’t Do What Allie Did #1: Forget to double check that the prose book you ordered will be delivered at an appropriate time for you to read and cut it. No one likes to do one less category than they originally planned for a tournament. **
Don’t Do What Allie Did #2: Write your intro for your piece at 11: 00 pm the night before. I don’t care if your best ideas come at “the witching hour”, it will not be perfectly memorized, and you will freak out about it all morning, when you run your piece before your rounds, and quite especially during your performance. Just get that written now.
Don’t Do What Allie Did #3: Freak out about practicing with coaches. Nothing bad comes out of going to individual practice sessions. I don’t care how nervous you feel about performing in front of some of your coaches, you suck it up and go in. They are there for you! They want to help make your piece better, your performance more crisp, learn more about you so you can become pals, and sometimes they’ll ask if Kirt Graves ever coached you…;)
Besides, it’ll be all worth it when you go to your first competition!
And let me tell you something, ladies and gents. Collegiate forensics competitions are interesting things. The beginning, thus far, has proven to be the most entertaining, what with all of the early morning team bonding, warm ups, and run throughs. (But I musn’t give away what those are. It would ruin the aura of mystery surrounding Ripon College Forensics traditions.) And, if you hold high school tournaments near and dear to your heart, I should warn you about things you will and will not see at college tournaments. Backpacks to carry around everything you need? Overthrown by classy leather messenger bags and large black purses. Questionable outfits including khaki pants and floral skater skirts? Swallowed by everyone looking fierce in legitimate suits. Pillowpets? PRAISE THE LORD ALMIGHTY CAUSE THOSE TACKY LITTLE BASTARDS ARE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. Someone perfumed the air with “Maturity” and “Sophistication” by Calvin Klein and I pray that scent never ever fades away.
Other than worrying about my green intro, I was excited to see what other pieces and competitors were on the circuit. Since the rules and requirements for pieces are much more precise and sophisticated, I could not reiterate my exact joy at knowing that I would never have to compete against a “Speak”, “Tell Tale”, or Dr. Seuss interpretation ever again. (If you’ve been on the high school circuit in recent years, you feel my feels. My heart melted several times at the refreshing amount of pieces.) There was depth, meaning, and thought in every piece. There were not cheap tricks designed just to make you laugh more or cry harder. There was a competitor in my first round who did a POI*** about a tragic fire (arson) that killed dozens of gay men in New Orleans, not just to make you cry, but to make a point about how our media hides some of our greatest tragedies. And sometimes, the competitors you get most excited about are not necessarily the ones who blow you away with their performance, but the ones you competed with in high school! It’s quite fantastic that college forensics can turn your past DI competitor into your interp pal! (I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I had a slight MackAttack when I saw some of their faces, but having that rapport with each other is wonderful – having each other to relate to when you’re making that awkward transition from high school to college forensics).
Me? I suppose I did all right, breaking into the collegiate circuit. (I could indulge you in what my pieces are, but that’d be spoiling the fun…) I can tell you that while it didn’t earn me a spot in finals (the IM didn’t do rankings, twas just for tournament experience), I happened to snag “Best Dressed” at the tournament. This means three things:
- My Forensics Philosophy stands: Always knock ‘em dead with a killer suit and pearls.
- There is a 100% chance that I will cherish the little gift bag that came with my “Best Dressed” title as my first college forensics trophy.
- Putting hard work and effort in what you love to do has a tendency to pay off in the end.
Like, for real, a junior today thought that I was a junior. EXCUSE ME FOR BEING EXCITED!
Keep it classy, forensicators.
* Despite being a college student in the middle of Wisconsin, I do not condone the use of alcohol of those who are underage
** I LOVED to be triple entered in high school. Maybe that’s just me. Is that weird?
*** POI is an interp category, made up of various sources of media (poems, prose, news reports, articles, dramas, films, etc.) that are used to support not a “theme”, but a well thought out thesis.