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The Art of the Perfect Gift

Everyone has traditions. Some people eat chinese food on Thanksgiving. Others might wake the day after Thanksgiving only to stand in line for three hours. The Tonganoxie High School debate squad? We like to give gifts.

The tradition of honoring state-bound teams only began a few years ago, but it has already become the highlight of the state prep process. Generally, the gifts are little jokes or gags that represent the fond memories we have with made as a team. It's always the goal of the gift-giver to out-give everyone else and get the most laughs from the recipient. This makes the gift selection process even more stressful than Christmas.

There are about a thousand things I could get for my squad-mate Emily. She has a huge love of Chinese food, so I could get her some chopsticks. But what about that time we sat together on the way to a tournament and listened to "Glee?" I'm sure I could incorporate that... You see? When you're trying to buy your friend a gift that commemorates an inside joke, the trick becomes selecting the inside joke.

As if the stress of selecting the absolute perfect gift weren't enough, we've also got the state tournament this weekend. This means crunch time. This week, practice rounds will almost always be underway, and the printer in the debate room will completely forget what "off" is. Because debate means always knowing the latest on the topic (this year, social services for persons living in poverty), everyone on the team will be researching and updating until we the bus pulls out of the parking lot on Friday morning.

Despite the stresses of debate, it remains a fun and thouroughly enjoyable activity. It's fun to pick out funny gifts for people and it can even be fun to research. Why? Because we're a team. We're friends. It's fun to hang out with the people on the Tonganoxie debate squad. You never know what's going to happen next or what someone's going to say. That's what makes this activity so enjoyable.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some gifts to buy.

January 18, 2010

The Debate Diaries


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