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Austin: A weekend at the Air Force Academy

A view from one of the buildings we were in; the large structure in the distance is the huge church that represents 15 religions!

A view from one of the buildings we were in; the large structure in the distance is the huge church that represents 15 religions!

Some of our team!

Some of our team!

Our squad that traveled to the Air Force Academy!

Our squad that traveled to the Air Force Academy!

This past weekend, the Linfield Speech and Debate (Forensics) team traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and competed in the 51st United States Air Force Academy Forensics Tournament. There were 7 of us, 4 competing in British Parliamentary Debate, and 3 competing in individual events, ranging from Communication Analysis, Persuasive speaking, Poetry, and Impromptu. The Tournament started on Saturday, and continued into Sunday, with a black-tie official banquet to conclude the event. My partner and I debated, and were faced with topics ranging from gay athlete rights, to national renewable energy patents, to religion compared to public polls, and federal mandates for private schools to offer more scholarships. After six preliminary rounds, unfortunately no Linfield teams advanced, but we came very close! This tournament specifically was a World’s tournament, so there was international representation from Serbia, as well as teams from across the US, anywhere from New York, to Louisiana, to Texas. It was really interesting to talk with students from all across the world, and to see their competitive styles.

I had never been on a military base before, so this was a very different experience for me.  A few people on my team and I took a private tour with a cadet, and he showed us everything from his dorm, to an example classroom, to the huge church that is on the base. From hearing his personal experiences about life on the base, as a freshman, and how the ranking system and formal uniform process works, I was really taken aback. There is such a difference between our lifestyles, and I find that really interesting.

Overall, we had quite the adventure this past weekend. It began with us missing our flight because of a bad accident on the way to Portland, and ended with a really early flight back to Portland, and driving through some pretty crazy rain to return to campus. I have been involved with speech and debate since my sophomore year in high school, and I have learned so much about communication, tasteful argumentation, and how to tactfully look at two sides of an issue. I love the Linfield Forensics team because our squad is relatively small, so we have a lot of interaction with each other, and our coach, and we always manage to have a good time while traveling.

Until next time,

-Austin