When I was in the sixth grade, I joined a debate team. I was hesitant at first because debates were quite intimidating to beginners. The objective was to convince a judge, or the person facilitating the debate to vote for your side. “Your side” was either pro or con, and either agreed with a statement or disagreed with it. For instance, if the topic was “Should schools sell junk food?” The pro side would agree with this statement and the con side would disagree with the statement. A typical debate round in my division, public forum, lasted around half an hour. We would have to convince the judge through a series of speeches, summaries and “crossfires” which were basically a cross-examination of the opponent. A typical debate speech lasts four minutes and usually has three contentions, or three reasons as to why your side is right and why the team you are arguing against is wrong.
After many tournaments, I improved and improved until I was debating in the advanced division, and then until I was debating in a national tournament, taking place in Alabama.
Debate has taught me a lot of things. Not only did I learn about the many controversial topics that I had to debate for, but I also learned how to research, write and persuade a person, all while maintaining my composure and articulating well.
Give everything a chance. You never know what you are going to gain from it.
I remember my days debating in high school, it was quite interesting, I loved engaging with other kids and getting their perspective of things, even though we were all kids, we were very much civilized and it was a great sport. It is nothing like what we see now in our politicians debating on national stages, such disgrace to this form of engagement. Anyway I hope kids like you will change it again to how it was. Great writing and good luck with your future debates.
I couldn’t agree more with the comments above, I too debating in high school and made great friends and found so much in common with other kids even though we were debating each other we always found common grounds outside the actual debate.
I was also debating in middle school, good times!