High School Stories

Jesus Vasquez

No, this article will not be a rip-roaring tell all of my awkward, comedic antics while at high school.   But, assuming you were around campus the last weekend, you likely ran into a few of those awkward, confused, very small, debaters.   The scary thing (and of course, something that most Whitties would never own up to) is that looking at some of these debaters is like looking into a window into the past.   At one point, we were all that age –– hard to acknowledge, I know.

Yes, these debaters can be a pest while here –– let’s examine the disturbances.   They usually park for a long time in most residence hall lounges, with their accompanying bins, coaches, and fast food.   They (sometimes) make a lot of noise, tending to sprawl out, acting as if the place is theirs, almost instinctively acting out of the need to claim their territory against the much more aggressive Lyman male.   They take up academic rooms!   For instance, in the music buildings, they just happen to take up the best practice rooms, leaving all us musicians with the second-rate pianos.   And, of course, let’s not forget about Reid.   The once hallowed, sacred ground for Whitman socializing instantaneously transforms into the nerve center of operations for many a coach and debater –– indeed, for a second, a Whittie can feel almost like a second-class citizen.

But, seriously, is it really that bad?   This is really the only major tournament/competition to take place at Whitman –– aside from college visitors days, this debate tournament is the only major event to impede on our otherwise uninhibited enjoyment of the Whitman bubble.   One weekend a year.   It’s not really that much, when you think about it.   I mean, this year, the weekend just happened to fall on Halloween, but, that was just a bad coincidence more than anything else.   At first, it’s quite easy to gripe about, but, upon reflection, it really doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal.

Also, a key thing to remember is that we were all once in this position before.   If you got admitted into Whitman, chances are that you had a fairly strong background in extra-curricular activities during high school.   Whether your game was sports, musical ensembles, academic decathlon, debate, science bowl, or whatever, it’s highly likely that you participated in some major tournament/competition on another high school or college campus.   You probably sprawled out, put your stuff here or there, and before you knew it, your school’s contingent had a sizable space cut out for itself.   It happens.   Maybe it is or isn’t intentional, but, it happens.

In short, what can we do?   Is it really fair to chastise these high school debaters?   I mean, yes, these kids can be obnoxious at times by their mere presence, but, we were these kids a few years ago.   We used to be these snot-nosed, awkward dudes.   Some of us still are.   In the spirit of siblinghood (my non-gendered answer to ‘brotherhood’), let’s put these differences aside.   They may have stolen my favorite practice room, but, as the old phrase of wisdom goes, “it’s all good.”   To these debaters, I extend my own personal olive branch –– you can borrow my practice room –– just stay the hell out of my locker.