Thursday, July 23, 2009


So a lot of the fun of the past weeks at MBO came from readying our junior debate team for a tournament. Going in, we are always the underdogs, since we are not from a Gymnasium, the kind of high school held in better regard by the German public; we are also a relatively new team, so no on has heard of us. In high school I was addicted to debate, and so I thought helping out German nerdlings could be fun. This was the last tournament of the year, and we were nervous. Waiting in the auditorium we could hear some of the bilingual schools talking, and our kids were antsy

we had been practicing this cheer for literally 30 minutes on the train

Then the rounds started, and the fun began. Instead of being apathetic or terrified as they had seemed some weeks ago, the team just picked up energy and got more and more into it, even after losing the first round.

I was judging for the first round, which was fine. I judge like an American debate judge would, so I am not popular, but I give tons of feedback, which is good, and this time I was doing much more of a "gloves on" sort of thing.

One of the debaters' moms came for the second round.
That just made me smile for a lot of reasons. For most parents or people who would show up to sporting events, debate is pretty hard to access, and it scares off a lot of parents and thus lets down a lot of kids, who get really into the competitions. To see a mom, and a mom from Spandau too, coming out to the middle of nowhere to see her kid perked up the team too. It was just nerd-heart warming and validated my assertion that intellectual sparring is just as valid as any other after school activity.
So, thanks Anna's Mom!!

The last round I was set to judge one school which asked I be moved to another round! I am not completely sure why this happened, but I think it went back to last tournament when I outweighed the decision of some other judges and gave the win to a team that did not speak English as well but whose arguments were better. This time, though, rather than just backing off or taking their sides, the MBO coach actually sided with me and put me in another round whilst SHE judged the other team. Hah!

For the last German school tournament of the year, MBO came out having won 2 of 3 rounds, which was awesome! This was a great season ender especially since these were our rookies.

yarrr! And they be a fine crew of rookies indeed!

As we all rode the train back together, some of the kids slept while the girls asked me questions like "what is Chicago like? What kind of music do you listen to?" stuff you would expect to hear tossed into conversation with camp counselors during an afternoon break outside the cabin as they braided each others' hair (which these girls were doing), and it was just a really sweet moment. I'll miss them.

Awwww! Bye babies!

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