Reflection from a Debate Competition

When I wrote about this reflection, I had just finished a group work with Phoebe and Michael for the continuing preliminary rounds of Universitas Pelita Harapan’s Food Explore 5’s English debate competition about an hour ago, in 7/11/2012. We had gone to UPH that day with Azaria, William Liman, Nani and Miss Yessica with Andrew – an alumnus of IPEKA Pluit who takes law undergraduate program there – as our coach and companion there.
I personally classified this day in my ‘breakthrough moments’ list. Along the day, I was like ordered by God to reflect about myself. Basically, this was the first time I ever went to a competition with people I barely knew and it gave me lots of things to reflect. So, I decided to write about what I’d been thinking of about the events of the day. And these are they.

Dependant on God’s power, not human’s
So, when I found out that the opponent for the 1st preliminary round was Sang Timur A, I was overconfident that my team – IPEKA Pluit B, with other members are Azaria and Michael Gary – would win the debate. During the motion preferences I got blurred and accidentally picked a motion that I was not very good at which was “THW support parents who put a total ban on fast food for their children”. Playing as opposition, it was not a motion that gave us many advantages. It also took an unexpected walk to the debate room; Michael and I got wet because of the rain.
During the case build, we prepared some unclear arguments and mechanism which ruined about 75% of our speeches. But, of all disappointing moments which include the debate itself, I didn’t manage to “lead” my team to act at least in our best forms. This was the first time Azaria and Michael really gave speeches in a debate competition and the first time for me as the 1st speaker. So, we were surprised with materials given by our opponent as the government and didn’t manage to counterbalance them, losing with a margin of 4 as the result.
I have to admit that I was very, very frustrated about it! I didn’t want to blame Azaria or Michael, because I knew that they were still first timers and would progress along the courses of the competitions we face. I blamed myself. Why? Firstly, it was for being too overconfident. Just because I had 5 rounds experience in Binus’ e.Comm 2012 shouldn’t mean that I was better than any of them. The pride, as all of us know, is the original sin which resulted in the fallen of humankind. And now, it generated the loss to my team.
Secondly, it was for being such an ignorant person to my teammates. My focus along the debate was to win, without even thinking how Azaria and Michael would take this debate. By that moment, I knew that my own purpose shifted: from “glorifying God through my actions” to merely “seeking glory for myself in my actions”. It was a very false perception for a repented man because I depended on human’s power when I, as a repented human, should depend on Lord Jesus Christ as my God. That was not how it supposed to be. But, thanks to the Righteousness One, He revealed this mistake right after the moment I lost debate, so I was able to learn from it and rise to face the next preliminary rounds.
So, that’s how I lost and found back my purposes for the rest of the competition. But, the day wasn’t over. Lord Jesus Christ had devised a plan which gave me new strength to carry on.

Strongest power lies upon good relations between humans and God
Right after the 1st preliminary round, we gathered in the Debaters’ Hall and found out that our friends William Liman, Phoebe and Nani – who were in team A – won the debate. Even though they succeeded, they didn’t seem very happy with that because of the close margin – 1 – and because their opponent was first timers.
So, right after the chief adjudicator Roderick – who also adjudicated team B’s debate in the 1st round – announced that we could go home, Andrew decided to train us until we were the only one who stayed in the Hall. Though it was very hard, I enjoyed it. Along the discussion I developed strong emotional connections with all of them; they are like my extended family and if they need help, I would try to help them in anything as best as I could. A fact at a glance, I am hard to develop emotional connections with others but with them it just clicked.
After the training session was over and before he went home, Andrew suggested us to find reasoning for the available motions which would be debated for tomorrow by gathering in someone’s home. Azaria, Liman and Nani couldn’t make it, so there were only Michael, Phoebe and I left. Phoebe suggested in her or Michael’s house, but because I couldn’t have my parents to pick me in such very late time, we decided to set it in my house and went back together to school in a taxi.
Along the road, we talked like we’d been good friends for a long time. The topics varied and most of them were miscellaneous things, but since I was not a very sociable person, chatting with them was worth the time. I felt very relaxed even though I was tired. I learnt a lot of things from them because both Phoebe and Michael have interesting experiences of their own which enrich my thoughts and writing inspirations.
Shortly, we arrived at my home and the things just flowed. We made arguments, we searched the materials in the Internet (mainly about foie gras) and we joked in some intermezzos. The gathering itself gave me renewed strength and motivations to not giving up in this competition until the very end debate. Lord Jesus, through Michael and Phoebe, had restored my faith that I must not give up for they I care about.
The exciting part of the gathering was that they were rather shy to eat dinner with my family. I didn’t know why, but it was my family’s hospitality to every friend of mine, so they ate it anyway. Michael kind of ate slowly and took more vegetables which mean he has a healthy diet, and Phoebe didn’t really want to try the dish of dried fish’s belly until she decided to take a bite and found that it was delicious. After the dinner, we worked again until an hour ago, when they were picked by Phoebe’s driver.
Recounting these events had reminded me of some Bible verses, such as Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” and Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”. Remembering these is a very much pleasure, and they give me lots of power to do the debates and the realization that the competition is not over; it just begins.
I thank God for the good day He has given to me and for the spirits I earned today. Now, it’s time to sleep. We still can win tomorrow, and hey, who knows except God that we can actually make it into semifinal? Lord Jesus Christ blesses His believers and is with us in the present, past and future!

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