Sweeping At Regionals

Friday, January 23, 2015 - By: Toby CH

Regionals. The word that makes a debater’s mouth salivate. The qualifying teams from Brentwood travelled out on January 17th, all hoping for glory in the form of a berth at provincials. Conner C, Whittall ’16 strode out of his house, walking with sangfroid towards the bus. His mother called him on his phone to wish him good luck. “Luck is my middle name” he responded. “No it isn’t honey, we named you Bernard after you great-grandfather don’t you remember? He was a good man.”

Conner stepped on the bus. The bus moved. Drove. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, thirty. The Brentwood bus stopped, they had arrived at Glenlyon Norfolk, home of the panther of debating programs, and home to the venue of debating regionals.

The debaters took their places in various classrooms around campus, all furiously preparing points for the first given resolution: be it resolved that the limits on donation amounts to pre-electorial political campaigns should be removed. Tricky? Not to these debaters. Shawnigan seemed ready, Glenlyon seemed poised – could Brentwood hold their ground?

Round one and two passed. Well-practiced debating etiquette and structure flourished along with talented speech and devious rhetoric, all in the name of twisting a judge’s perspective to their assigned side. Would political parties abuse this unrestricted donation rule? Would it provide national equality or inequality? These questions were both answered and argued by every student in the room. Although there was a break for lunch, there was no break in concentration. Despite the presence of a deliciously crafted caesar salad bar and meticulously fine-furnished tables that Hank W, Privett ’15 could simply not stop talking about, debaters remained steadfast in their researching and thinking. Talking with their partners even through the eating hours, their mental poise did not sway.

It was time for the final round of debate, the last opportunity that teams had to influence their scores and gain themselves a ticket to provincials. Midway through these all-important speeches, pandemonium exploded. Screeching its horrifically discordant song, the fire alarm went off. Its deafening echo forced all debaters out of the building and sprawling in great numbers into the rainy outdoors. Interestingly enough, there was no fire, rather a fire alarm had been pulled by an unknown person. I have three theories as of who it was.

1] Ms. Rachel Steele-MacInnis. She’s such a friendly and likeable teacher that maybe she’s too friendly and likeable? Perhaps her demeanor was volatile that day after finding out that her favorite Australian rugby team had suffered defeat. Instead of pulling her hair in frustration, perhaps she pulled something else.

2] The cold January weather. I remember in science class I learned that ice is actually just cold water. Maybe the ice expanded or something? Evolution? Maybe the search for a human perpetrator are shortsighted. But then again the most likely option is…

3] Me. In Tomorrow Never Dies, the villain, Elliot Carver, is the head of a newspaper. In order to create an amazing opening headline, he uses undetectable submarines to kill British soldiers and make it look like the Japanese were responsible and to spark World War Three. Similarly, I have a blog article due this week. I need something truly exciting to write about right? Maybe I knew that for the best article possible, I just needed to flick my wrist and stretch my fingers in the right places. We’ll never know for sure.

Even after the excitement of the fire alarm, the Brentwood debaters were able to maintain their composure, and when it came to the awards ceremony, their successful imperturbability was acknowledged.

In the Novice category, the truly impressive award of top individual speaker was presented to Jemma O, and her speaking prowess, accompanied by her talented partner Ciaran B, earned them a second place overall finish, missing a spot at provincials by only one step.

The Junior category produced unprecedented results for Brentwood. The top five were all Brentwood students. Toria E, Alex ’17, Andrew W, Whitall ’17, Delaney B, Allard ’17, Kavi G, Whittall ’17, and Afyz M, Privett ’17 captured fifth to first respectively. In terms of teams, the powerful duos of Alejandro G, Ellis ’17 & Andrew W, Toria E & Kavi G, and Delaney B & Afyz M received the top three spots in order. These results are historic; sweeping the junior level is no easy task.

In the Senior category Tyler P, Rogers ’15 earned the impressive award of fifth best debater overall, and he and his partner phenom Nick M, Ellis ’15 will move on to provincials as the sixth best squad, along with the debating sensations Ibrahim S, Whittall ’15 and Maria F, Allard ’15 who finished eighth.

On behalf of Brentwood Debate I would like to thank coaches Ms. Steele-MacInnis and Mr. Bryant for their enthusiastic and encouraging teachings so far. You have been here for us (even for nighttime cellphone calls from the more exuberant of us), and we greatly appreciate it.

Provincials are in a month, and thoughts of it will bounce about in all advancing competitors ‘minds until that time. We wish them luck.

Toby CH, Privett ‘15

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