Speech and Debate Takes Berlin: Photo Edition

After the tournament ended, the team had three days to tour the city before returning to Colorado.  That time consisted of visiting museums, spotting historic landmarks, and drinking an unapologetic amount of hot chocolate.   Below are some of the photographs we took over those three days.

The Berlin TV Tower at night.  This 1,200-foot tower was visible from nearly anywhere in Alexanderplatz.


A uniquely painted building.  Also the obligatory moody black-and-white photo of this collection.

Stephen, Deksyos, and John Michael pulled straight from an Abercrombie & Fitch ad.

Brief German architectural guide: if a building is big, old, and ornate, it’s probably a church.

Pictured: The Berlin Cathedral


The solemn concrete slabs of the Holocaust Memorial.  The scale and abstract nature of this memorial make it radically different from others, leaving its meaning open to interpretation.


A statue of poet, philosopher, and historian Friedrich Schiller in front of the Konzerthaus Berlin, which is considered to be one of the best concert venues in the world for music and opera.


An artsy picture of a lamppost in the plaza outside of the concert hall because I thought it would look cool.

One of the few disappointments from the trip was how few options we had when it came to chocolate truffles.  Pictured: The seemingly endless selection of chocolates at Rausch Chocolates.  Not pictured: a second floor of more chocolate and a third-floor café with a pastry bar (see below)

We may or may not have visited Rausch for three consecutive days for their decadent and impeccably presented hot chocolate.  Behind is a conveyor belt where chefs would send out various pastries that we could peruse and take without having to order.

Rausch’s famous blackcurrant tart, which we also may or may not have gotten all three days we were there.

Russell, Deksyos, and Stephen getting cultured at the Bode Art Museum.

The Bridge of Chatou, by Maurice de Vlaminck in 1907.  One of the unique experiences you get viewing art in person is being able to admire the piece’s texture.  I did make one of the security guards nervous by photographing the art at this angle.


John Michael, Deksyos, Stephen, and Russell caught discussing secret plans at the German Spy Museum.


We left our hotel at 4 AM to begin a long day of travel back to Colorado, bringing back incredible experiences, memories, and most importantly, chocolate. Here’s to all of the amazing places CC Speech and Debate will get to travel next year!

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The tournament winds down!

After a wild first day, the team came ready for a long day two. The entire competition was held in a massive hotel called the Park Inn. This venue held its own fair share of challenges. Especially the challenge of verticality. During the competition, the only way to get from one floor to another was to take an elevator. There were 8 elevators and 300 students (and many non-debater guests) so vertical transportation quickly bogged down. This resulted in many competitors practicing current events speeches in packed elevators. It’s always good to have an audience, especially a captive one.

All four of us began the day with some extemporaneous speaking (extemp). We had 30 minutes to prepare and memorize a 7-minute speech on some current event issue. We answered current events questions from “Are German Cars a ‘Threat to National Security’?” to “Is Germany ready to deal with a new migrant crisis?”. There were a lot of questions about German politics and a lot of answers as well.   Russell’s After Dinner Speaking speech on Artificial Intelligence and Stephen’s Persuasive speech on Private Prisons were the other events the team competed in that day.

The second day was the final day of the tournament and several members our team made it to out rounds.  Russell was one of the four that qualified for IPDA semi-finals while Dekysos came close to making semis at fifth place.  Russell won his semi- final debate on a contentious Brexit question but lost the final on a difficult Facebook regulation topic and placed second overall out of 64 competitors! Deksyos also broke to semi-finals in both extemporaneous and impromptu speaking. He went on to get second overall in extemporaneous speaking. After another long day of performing the team had a quick German dinner and headed off to sleep.

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Speech and Debate takes Berlin Day 1

Speech and Debate has an unfortunate habit of throwing off sleep cycles. Waking up at 6:30 AM and competing in a full day of debate is a daunting task. Walking down to breakfast I was concerned about running out of energy for the 8 rounds I had on the first day, until I walked into the dinning room and saw the not so typical hotel breakfast. From meat platters to baked potatoes in place of my usual fried potatoes at Rastalls, I filled my plate with all sorts of food to prepare for the day. The team exchanged some encouraging words, and everyone went off to compete. As someone who ran cross-country in high school I have a unique appreciation for endurance. Debate tournaments take a different, yet surprisingly just as exhausting, form of endurance. Mentally, debate rounds require critical thinking and consistency. With three preliminary rounds before lunch, and merely minutes between rounds, I managed to intently focus in on IPDA (International Public Debate Association). IPDA is an individual debate event that gives competitors 30 minutes to prepare either an affirmation or negation on a resolution provided by the tournament.  Lunch, although quick, was critical to reenergizing and tackling the second half of the day.  I had to switch mindsets to adapt to Speech events when I delivered my platform Communication Analysis Speech and Impromptu Speech during the second half of the day. The day culminated in a nice trip to dinner at Esra, a Middle Eastern restaurant with falafels, shawarma, and fritz-cola. The team decompressed, discussed our rounds, and talked about the logistics for the second day of competition. It’s difficult to go to bed tonight not knowing the results, but part of the excitement in Debate lies within the anticipation and eagerness for competition. On to day two.

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