Forensics is a co-curricular activity for high schoolers who want to spend every Saturday of their second semester dressed in business casual, speaking or acting competitively. Since I enjoy waking up at 5 a.m. and being judged on my appearance and formal talking ability, here is my typical Saturday anytime between the beginning of February to the end of April.
5:21 a.m: I open my eyes in a nervous sweat. I still have a solid 14 minutes before my alarm goes off, but I get up immediately. I already had a nightmare about missing the bus, and I don’t want it to become a reality.
5:40 a.m: I throw on some business casual. I’m limited in that department, so I end up slipping into the same sweater/dress pants combo I wore last Saturday and praying no one remembers.
5:55 a.m: I hastily grab some gluten-free edibles for lunch. As I cram yogurt and a cheese stick in my backpack, I reminisce on the days before my wheat allergy when I could enjoy forensics’ traditional cuisine of cheap pizza, Cheetos and Dr. Pepper.
6:05 a.m: I wake up my father for a ride. I am fully capable of driving myself, but my parents don’t want the car wasting the day away in an empty school parking lot. After mumbling some unintelligible gibberish and grabbing his slippers, my father joins me in the car, and we go cruising toward the school with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” on full-blast.
6:15 a.m: My dad pulls up in front of my high school just before my earlier nightmare has a chance to come true, and, after hopping out, I run-walk to the front of the bus and carefully navigate its steps because heels are a serious struggle. One of the assistant coaches may be giving me a dirty look for being late, but it’s too dark to tell really.
6:20 a.m: Safely on the transportation to the tournament, I catch up on the 14 minutes of sleep I forfeited earlier, completely ignoring my fellow forensors chatting around me.
7:30 a.m: We arrive at the school at which we will be competing. I’m not sure which school it is because all the schools in the area have clever titles like “Shawnee Mission West,” “Shawnee Mission North” and “Shawnee Mission Northwest.” I can never remember which is which.
8 a.m: Round one. I wait outside a science classroom to give my memorized informative speech on how people perceive themselves. I give my speech to a nearby cluster of lockers, muddling through my points and focusing on favorite lines such as, “So, unfortunately, not only are you uglier than you think you are, other people think you’re uglier than you actually are” and, “The good news is everyone thinks they’re a seven. The bad news is most of them are wrong.”
8:30 a.m: After giving my info, I begin looking for the room in which I’m to give my other event. Lucky for me, not only is the room three floors down, but it’s also in a separate building on the other side of the campus. It’s a balmy 20 degrees outside not taking windchill into account, so the whole situation is just ideal. As I struggle down the first flight of stairs in my heels, I dread the several trips back and forth that lie ahead during the other two rounds.
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m: I continue to ramble in front of parents whose children forced them to judge a high school speech tournament on a Saturday. Some of these judges are less interested in my words than others, and they have no problem making that apparent with cold glares, yawns and half-hearted handshakes.
12:30-1:00 p.m: As results are tabulated and contestants for finals determined, I awkwardly munch on my gluten-free lentil crackers and hummus while my peers enjoy Little Caesar’s finest.
1:01 p.m: My forensics coach tells the squad who performed well enough to move on to finals. As always, I am ridiculously close, and yet, so far away. As a veteran over thinker, I immediately begin analyzing every aspect of each of my performances to determine where exactly I failed myself.
1:15-2:30 p.m: I watch informative finals. As the six finalists present their speeches, I internally judge everything about them: “How did he beat me out? No one even cares about Greek mythology! … How is she in finals? Her jokes aren’t even funny. I totally hate her shirt. No one who wears a shirt like that deserves to be successful.” I am a terrible person.
3:45 p.m: After an excruciatingly boring wait, the award ceremony finally commences. My feelings are conflicted regarding the award ceremony. On one hand, I want my peers to do well, but, on the other, I absolutely despise the award ceremony etiquette. Every time someone from our squad places, we have to stand up. Every time the first place winner in an event is announced, we have to stand up. Is it bad I find myself hoping my successful teammates get first in their category so I only have to stand up once for that event? My one pair of dress pants is too big, so I have to pull them up every time we stand to avoid mooning the squad behind ours. I’m sure I would like awards more if I was better at forensics or if I wore a belt.
4:25 p.m: I get back on the bus with my squad and take a nap.
5:35 p.m: Back at the school, I head inside to look at my ballots. The judges’ comments range anywhere from, “Don’t change anything!” to “Do change everything!” My favorite ballot is the one that has nothing but positive comments and accolades written on it, but, despite how impressed he said he was, the judge still gave me a terrible ranking.
5:45 p.m: My dad picks me up, and we go home, ironically jamming to Queen’s “We Are the Champions” on the way.
6:30 p.m: After a long, hard day of speaking, walking, eating and sitting, I reward myself by putting on some pjs and not doing anything the rest of my Saturday night.