Here’s a photo an old friend from high school posted on FB yesterday (I’m in the Smiths shirt). I was obsessed with drama/debate in high school & spent every Friday and Saturday competing at speech tournaments. These were usually 2 hours away at various high schools in Oklahoma. Occasionally, we would go to national tournaments in Chicago or my junior year, I also competed at a tournament in Boston. I never did very well at debate bc honestly, I didn’t put much effort into it. Debate first rounds took place on Fridays which meant I got to miss an extra day of school.
Forensics saved my life. I went to high school in the middle of nowhere OK, 2 hours away from any major city. Forensics gave me an escape & a chance to meet people who weren’t from small towns. If you participated in forensics, you were probably one of the “weird” kids, the goth kids, or in my case floated between loving goth & 90s “alternative” & punk music (the bands I was lucky to find at the local music store, as this was pre-internet). Stuff one could hear on a college radio station if you were lucky enough to live in a college town (I wasn’t).
I learned about cool music, met so many amazing people & got to perform & make people laugh (the things I did the best in were comedy based). This was back before the internet which now makes it so much easier to find fellow “weirdos”. I actually got a debate scholarship to college, but I hated the school so much that I didn’t join the team and left after a semester. It took a while, but I found a school in VT that was full of weirdos, just like the ones I would meet every weekend in high school at these tournaments.
So thank you for existing, forensics. Thank you to my drama and debate coach, Lisa Barnett, for encouraging me. I was a shy kid but I had an acting background from childhood & worked through my nerves enough to not be nervous anymore. I had the time of my life. I miss it sometimes & I’ve tried taking classes here in LA, but work tends to get in the way. I also had a really mean improv teacher so I quit. My first one was lovely, though & he has a national commercial campaign now ❤️