times of our lives

“Long live the walls we crashed through! I had the time of my life with you.”

What with having graduated last May and all of my family’s <british accent> mental </british accent> activities this spring (read: baby sister born in February, slightly-less-baby sister getting married in two weeks), I found myself whizzing through the semester with a sorry lack of NCFCA. I had all these plans last year… plans to coach speech and debate, plans to go to as many tournaments as I could… plans. We plan, God laughs. But as it turned out, even though I didn’t get to plug into the league as early in the year as I would have liked, I was able to attend the two last Region 4 tournaments of the year, as an alumni judge. And oh, blimey, have I missed this. Walking around in the same facilities in which I competed just last year brought back so many memories. I have three years’ worth of those memories. When I was competing, I kept a document solely for the purpose of chronicling some of the small ones, the unimportant ones, the kind of memories that spin the world. Perhaps now is a good time to revisit them. But prepare yourself: there are quite a few.

Warm-Up, 2009-

First tournament ever! I did NOT like my clothes, especially one day when I wore a maroon-ish argyle blouse. =P

My first speech ever in this league occurred on the third floor in room #360.

Christina Hastings and I were constantly quoting Wall-E at each other… specifically, “You look GORGEOUS!”

With little practice, no feedback, and no club to call my own, I managed to break at this, my very first tournament.

National Open, 2009-

I got my first 1st place ballot at this tournament. In Apologetics. I remember being shocked.

Since I didn’t break, this was the only tournament ever when I timed a semi-finals speech round.

Alamo Qualifier, 2009-

Late one night, at our host house, I was getting ready for bed when the power suddenly blacked out. Completely and totally. I brushed my teeth in the light of my cell phone. And it was freezing cold, just as a plus. Turns out, someone turned on the microwave and for some reason it shorted the system. I believe that Mr. Hastings had to go outside in the freezing cold (and rainy) night to flip it back on.

This was the tournament when I tried to take lots of pictures of people who matched each other. (partners or otherwise)

Paul Putman and I walked through the halls singing songs from Mary Poppins one afternoon!

The four Pevensies were created. ❀

Regionals, 2009-

Sometime during prelims, I wrote my first ‘Timing TP’ poem while timing Maisano/Upham against another team I can’t remember! They’re probably in my records somewhere.

The gym was on the second floor, and it was often in use when we were competing. NOT a brilliant plan on the part of that church. =)

I was so tired on the last day that I literally tried to take a nap under the stairs. But people found me, and we ended up taking an awesome group ‘sleeping under the stairs’ picture.

Frisco practice tourney, 2009-

Here is where I learned the ‘Roll’ game, where you can get people to roll on the floor if they’re not doing the ‘block’ properly. The things we do sometimes… πŸ˜‰

It was so frigidly cold during the tournament. And since we had two competition buildings, we students perfected this sort of mad dash from one to the other, holding our suit coats tightly closed.

DFW Qualifier, 2010-

One of my HI judges at this tournament wrote that I should consider wearing a more generic outfit to fit my performance. I had been wearing a grey pencil skirt, a white button-down blouse, and black heels at the time. How much more streamlined can you get? =)

During lunch one day, Paul Hastings came over to finish my leftover food, and he tried to force me to write cryptic notes to place in Owen Stroud and Nathan E.‘s instrument cases. I actually gave in… but I made the notes less cryptic than he had intended, i.e, “You did great in extemp (he wasn’t doing extemp). Love, Paul Hastings.” Paul ripped out his name, and put it in anyway. πŸ˜‰

There was an incredibly tempting grand piano in the foyer that we were told not to touch. That was a trial. =)

It’s hard to believe something could be so convenient, but there was a room PERFECT for dancing and containing an upright piano :right: next to the fellowship hall. We taught the Virginia Reel and the Patty-cake Polka and the broom dance, and more! Plus, the vivacious timer lady sang with our live accompanists. What fun.

National Open, 2010-

During the accidental break between LD and TP finals, I ate dinner at the Pei Wei about 3 blocks and 4 parking lots down with a bunch of friends. When we got done, we walked back in the dark. And it was incredible.

Timing TP 2 was written at this tournament. Little did I know what would happen to it!

I learned the Highland Polka during TP finals. =)

Regionals, 2010-

Tim taught me how to two-step in the hallway, much to the amusement of the hall monitor.

The tournament staff had warned us to look out for snakes on the campus (Concordia). And one day when Owen and Molly and I were meandering along the paths for some reason, we spotted one eating a lizard. It wasn’t very big at all, but Molly and I still kept our distance. I had my back to Owen while I was watching the snake, and he suddenly lowered his voice and said, “Grace, don’t move.” So I didn’t. =) But I barely had time to register his urgent admonition before he laughed and said ‘just kidding’. =D

Tim told Caroline and I the ‘awkward waiter’ story. Historical moment. =)

Caroline brought her pink bubble wand… and… we used it. “You two will be the death of me!” -Tim

Nationals, 2010-

At the hotel on the Navy base, we had a large bag of sour skittles. I ate many. And read someone’s book about dragons at the same time. 😐

Also at this tournament, I nearly forgot to give my speech during a round. I was sitting around talking blissfully, when Christina came up and announced happily that she was done for that round. I was all like, “oh, yay!” until I realized with an audible gasp that I WASN’T done, and the building in which I was to speak was all the way at the other end of the campus (Regent University). I ran all the way. (and I wasn’t late, after all)

Their library was directly adjacent to the fellowship hall. I had the best of times foraging through all the books.

I did not participate in the massive game of ‘Ninja’ which happened on the last day and filled the entire front courtyard area! I did, however, dance the polka and Posties Jig with members of various regions.

Warm-Up, 2011-

It was myself and about 5 young men, standing in the chapel on the second floor and exchanging stories of how we had almost died.

While executing a particularly difficult move in my HI, I stumbled and almost fell flat on my face. That’s never the best thing to do when you’re worrying about whether your judges will penalize you for it. None of mine mentioned it, though!

The first day ended so early (8:00pm, I think), that a lot of us stayed to dance the Virginia Reel for another hour or so. =)

National Open, 2011-

A little timer gal asked Ben Amason what she should draw. He suggested Grendel from Beowulf. But at her protests that she couldn’t draw a ‘monstrous spirit’, he told her to draw a bunny. A few minutes later she came back with a picture of a cat sitting in a tree. =P

“Breaking in Extemp…. Brandy Clayton.” -Mrs. Hudson

Right before the awards ceremony, Sarah Maddux had to leave to go back to A&M. She had a few guy friends with her, and I was teasing them about not letting them take Sarah back. Abruptly, this one guy says to me, “We will pay you some really wonderful compliments if you’ll just do us a big favour. Can you let us know who won TP finals?”
“Oh, sure! I’ll text Sarah.”
Then this guy whom I’ve never seen before in my life begins to shower me with the most extravagantly exaggerated compliments:
“Thank you so much! Your eyes are like twin amber sunsets over stretches of misty forests….” etc. and so on. He took my hand dramatically as he continued. How he was coming up with all this off-the-cuff, I had no clue. He must have used this tactic on others before me! I was laughing extremely hard, but I managed to get into the part a bit, fanning myself with my hand, and acting faint with happiness. It was some kind of hilarious.

I still can’t believe that I got 2nd place in OO and thus qualified to Nationals. So flooring. Also, I picket-fenced two rooms: OO and TI.

After the awards ceremony, ARC had planned a ballot party at our hotel, but Kathryn, Anna, and I wanted to go to IHOP with YSA and LOGOS and 19:14. So we convinced Mrs. Macdonald, and lovingly ditched ARC for the time. That night was amazing. We stayed until at least 1:20, laughing our heads off about everything.

Austin Qualifier (TX State), 2011-

What do Predestination, Catholicism, Science, and the 4th Dimension have in common? They were all exciting conversation topics when Avery and Nathan and I sat around a table for the better part of 2 hours. It’s unbelievably wonderful how we can be kindred spirits and true friends even when we disagree.

Jason Halvorson was happier than I was when my DI advanced to finals. The kid is adorable. I love him a ton. Also, he sent a bunch of us into spasms of laughter when he jumped into our conversation circle (sitting on the sidewalk outside before awards) and dealt out high fives, saying, “Hey, it’s all my homies!!”

I literally sobbed through the entire last half of my DI in semis. I love crying in dramatic productions.

Owen and I went into a back room with Molly to practice the Timing TP song before performing it for everyone, and we had the BEST time singing it in ridiculous operatic voices.

Having never received a 1st place award in speech before, I was thrilled to get 1st in OO and TI. (Because of this, I received an invitation to the THCS banquet in Austin, which was a formal affair with disgusting salad and hanging out on balconies.)

Abilene Qualifier, 2011-

I began to feel pretty sick on Wednesday night during script submission, and it worried me that I might have to pull out of multiple events. But God was so amazing and He pulled me through it.

Debating (only time ever) was such fun. Mostly. I went against some super fun and skilled people, like Kelton Brisack and Graham Wegsheid and Brady Clayton. How I ended up with 2nd place speaker, I have no idea?

Alison L. and Elizabeth C. appointed themselves to be my ladies-in-waiting. =) Alison: “Grace, you are going to have all the nations fighting over you. Can I get front row seats?”

The gym floor was a slightly rubbery surface, and I was quite excited when I discovered that marbles could bounce super high on it.

Brooks Clayton was my trash-emptying buddy. =) We made all the rounds during TP finals.

I got a 2nd, a 3rd, and a 5th&below in every impromptu room.

Regionals, 2011-

Saw on a white board: “Wear short sleeves; support your right to bare arms.”

Alison guarded me from men a lot. Whenever she saw me in a group of mostly guys, she got all defensive and hilarious. Apparently, I am very vulnerable according to her. πŸ˜‰

Caroline came to see me, and we sang Broadway songs outside for roughly an hour. ❀

Got first in Thematic for the 3rd time in a row… ((what? cool.))

My last tournament in Region 4, and I was still meeting people! Worthless? Never.

Nationals, 2011-

You can read about my experiences at Nationals here. =)


4 responses

  1. Good times and Best Friends all under a Great God who is just getting started. Thanks for the fun recap, its always a pleasure to read your work.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:28 am

  2. Amber Bell

    Oh, Grace! What an excellent post. I enjoyed it greatly. (By the way, I found your blog through ARC Blogs today.)

    Did those guys really give you all those compliments for a favor? What a story! You have got to tell me more about it one of these days πŸ˜‰

    Again, great post, Grace! Your writing is tremendously wonderful =D

    May 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm

  3. Ellen

    I enjoyed reading this. It made me smile. πŸ™‚ Those were wonderful times. **sigh**

    May 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

  4. Really enjoyed reading this recap, Grace! We all had some splendid times at those tournaments. I have a list similar to yours, except that it’s composed of keywords to trigger memories I might have otherwise forgotten. Perhaps I too will do a review, perhaps not; many of them simply defy explanation. For now, here are all my tournament reviews categorized under one label:


    Somewhere in the dark depths of my mandolin case is still the strip of brown paper that says “Your DI made me cry.” I remember the great state of befuddlement in which Nathan and I were that afternoon. πŸ™‚

    May 12, 2012 at 10:27 am

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