While that may seem like the wrong word perhaps I should have said ‘Why I Speak’ it’s not. I’m referring to why I still help with the speech team at GCHS. Although it’s been ten years since I was a senior at Granite it’s still always a surprise.
It’s nice that Quiggs has me as one of her go to people for judging and helping to coach the kids who want to do better. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have wanted me too.
I was too much of a wild child. I’m still wild now but I know when to put myself in check (sort of…maybe?) something which Quiggs will be the first to remind me of. It’s true ask her she’ll tell you I was a sometimes shit head.
So why would I sacrifice my Saturdays that could be spent hung over in bed or dead at Alex’s(that’s when you know it’s bad) to go to whatever high school is hosting? Why would I take out extra time to help kids work on their pieces?
Well for starters I want to help because I didn’t have any help whatsoever. While some would choose to say that Mrs. Bright was a good coach I would simply disagree. ( This is not a Mrs. Bright bashing post, stay tuned for that one). We had to choose to work on our pieces or hang out and do nothing during 7th hour speech. By comparison Mrs. McQuiggan actually makes the kids work on their pieces several times a week after school because they don’t have the luxury of having a class any longer. They sign up for actual coaching sessions and become better because of them. Plus it’s nice to be able to use my keen theatrical eye to assist others with their talents.
Back in my day we had to really work to break, it was really tough. Not to say it isn’t as tough now but at a busy tournament to be a JV you could barely break if you had a 5 in prelims. I practiced my SOS like a mofo and rehearsed my duets everyday. Geoff and I took our notes and improved our piece, where as Ashlee and myself said out notes were dumb and they didn’t know what they were talking about (In all fairness this is a true statement that Ashlee Schenke will agree 100% too)
So for me I watch the pieces each week and I read over all their critiques and evaluate their performance based on the notes. Then determining what is and isn’t valid. Which for some of them is actually helpful and has improved upon their pieces. For other the notes can be completely supportive and have no feedback yet they still get a low score (this can be attributed to the fact that parents and sometimes bus drivers get to judge tournaments).
I speech because I know what to look for to help kids from other schools become better speakers. The usual suspects of course being happy feet, lack of eye contact, pausing, stutters, incomplete thoughts etc. While I would never consider myself an accomplished writer I can tell the difference between something that is well thought out and something with holes in it.
You can always tell who puts in the effort and actually works on their pieces. Which is refreshing when you judge them. But if you’re that kid that doesn’t take any notes from a judge seriously and refuse to change your piece and you get that judge again…it’s awkward for both of us trust me.
I speech because it’s nice to learn about thing. I learned that Jesus died for me. I learned that Obama is actually a Republican. I learned that I will never forget the day Syria shut off the Internet (in all fairness I can’t forget something I never knew happened). I learned about 3-D printers (Although this left me with many unanswered questions like are 3-D printers built with 3-D printers?). I learned that most vegetarians aren’t vegetarians because they love animals but because they hate plants. I learned that some speeches should never be written, read or performed (some are by professionals which is the saddest part).
I also enjoy doing it for the little things. Walking down the hall and getting dirty looks from kids you gave a 6 to the week before (a 6 is last place in case you were wondering) which of course is all my fault and no fault of theirs. (ohhh to be 14-18 again). The way people rehearse sometimes they stand alone and talk to walls! No joke they even rehearse in the bathroom. I like how they try to intimidate people by bragging about how many times they’ve broke (only to not break themselves that same day). I like that some of the best speakers are terrible writers and some of the best writers are terrible speakers.
When you’re a performer you go to your rounds and you anxiously await results. Hoping for good news and praying that you break. When you become a judge you have private conversations about competitors that other judges will always join in on when they’ve judged them *ahem* Jesus girl. You also spend time making fun of the judges who are just fillers. Trust me speechies we hat them as much as you do!
Back in my day (and yes I kinda love saying that) when we went on a tournament we practiced the whole way there, talking to the back of a bus seat. On the way back we were knocked the fuck out and if we happened to be awake we talking quietly. So tell me why in the generation of iPhones and iPods are these kids so loud on the damn bus. Who has sing alongs at 5 am? Who screams on a bus while sitting right next to each-other? Today I’m pretty sure I listened to a story about a girls dead dad and his time in jail. It happened!
At the end of the day the kids who perform at speech tournaments about 65% of them will become better people. They will be confident ( sometimes over-confident hello!). They will be well spoken. They will be poised and able to be social butterflies in most situations.
The downside is that by being a speech kid you will often seek out verification that what you’re doing is ok. You’ll crave someone telling you you’re number one. You’ll demand acceptance and attention all the time. It’s not your fault you spent so much time wanting these things when it goes away you still want to be ranked. In all reality I’m pretty sure I’d be ranked best judge but they don’t let kids vote on that.
At the end of the day the reason I speech is because it’s an easy untaxed $75 bucks.