Dallas, 6/18/15.

Yep, it’s been a while since I’ve said anything. Things have been just mildly hectic.

I do recall mentioning the initial overcrowding in the car and hotel room; at least I think I do. If I didn’t, let me just note that for the first two days there were eight people in one room, and ten people in one seven-seat car. That’s gotten better, there’s two vans now, and the students have been spread out into different rooms. I’ve got two other students and two of the coaches in mine. So that’s alright. Then again, meeting basic legal obligations under Texas state law and Logan school field trip rules really isn’t anything to be impressed at. If I keep talking about this I’m likely to sound bitter, so I’ll stop.

Food has been both better and worse recently. Mostly better. After the two days of “American Fast Casual” we just started going to the food court at a nearby mall. Better food, and cheaper, in full honesty. Chick-fil-A, Which Wich. Both wonderful. No tourism or anything like that so far.

As I may have mentioned the first time around, the event that I actually qualified to Nationals in was Worlds Debate, which is a popular format at foreign tournaments but is only now being held at the NSDA tournament. Of course, I only went as a result of barely failing to qualify in Congress, so I’m not exactly perfectly happy about it. Anyway, seven rounds, four Monday and four Tuesday. Five-person teams, three members debating in each round. Good debate, did well, but had to walk halfway across downtown Dallas to get to the separate hotel where the event was being held. Heavy rain on Monday prevented my team from leaving to eat, so we had to patronize the hotel’s lunch buffet. Not exactly a pleasant experience. Rice isn’t supposed to have the texture of rubber cement, fried chicken should not taste frozen, cheesecake should not bounce. $7.95.

Second day of competition, we were able to escape during a period with minimal rain to the food court next door. Given a variety of options including a dingy pizzeria, a Taco Bell, another Chick-fil-A, an Extremely dingy restaurant serving wraps, and a restaurant named Kuai with such a large and ostentatiously over-designed menu board that I couldn’t quickly discern the variety of cuisine, I chose to try the Texas option and went to Dickey’s Barbecue. Very nice, actually. Coleslaw, beef brisket. Unsweetened tea dispenser was nearly empty. Guess there’s not much call for it around here. Now I just need to make it to a Whataburger and eat a chicken-fried-steak and my trip will be complete and fulfilling.

My team does well but not well enough to advance into competition on Wednesday, so we collectively sigh and I go to sign up for my supplementary event. That’s the great thing about Nationals; since I signed up for both a supplemental and a consolation event, the earliest time I can possibly be free from competition is Thursday afternoon. However, time spent competing means time not spent around the rest of the team, which is unfortunate.

I’m lying to myself and all of you when I say that. The individual members of the Logan team are usually great to be around, but, well, usually, and when we’re in large groups our coaches have a habit of lecturing us about anything that comes to mind. Besides, I get distracted easily. So the best place for me to be is away from everyone else and quietly competing, and what with being entered in Extemp Commentary I was able to do that. The preparation room was in a distant corner of the hotel, and the competition rooms were entirely apart from the rest of the events, actually mostly being near the rooms for the middle school tournament that’s going on at the same time. There’s also only the barest amount of time in between rounds, enough to drink water and use the bathroom but not enough to be roped into doing something for the team or anything like that. Yay.

On that note, it’s pretty neat that the tournament has water coolers spread around everywhere, it really does help the throat.

Should have discussed it, on Tuesday night the team was driven to a Walmart nearby to pick up food. When this happens at tournaments, it usually replaces trips out to restaurants, but this time it didn’t. We’re still leaving pretty regularly, and I missed a trip on Wednesday during my Commentary round.

I made it past four rounds of competition and was eliminated in the fifth round. It’s respectable; I was in the top third of the entry. Then I got to register for Impromptu, the consolation event. That’s been going pretty nicely so far. Rounds up to later today if I do well enough, a smaller trophy but still a trophy.

So that’s kind of all that I guess. I’ve been eating often enough to remain conscious and generally happy, drinking plenty of water, and sleeping when I have nothing better to do.

I still want my Whataburger.

The Logan assistant coach watches MTV unironically


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