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Friday, May 18, 2012

NCFCA Tournaments-- This is the time of our lives -- Don't take it for granted -- These memories will be with us forever! -- Part I

Dear Readers,
So, when I told you that I would be updating on many happenings at the Miller Homestead- one of the things I told you I would post about is funny tournament stories. This post as well as the next three will be devoted to these stories. Each tournament will receive it own post. :)

So far John Christian (my debate partner) and I have been to one tournament in January, two tournaments in March, and one tournament in April. Not to mention I have one more tournament coming up in June. Needless to say, it's been a very full spring semester. We have traveled almost every month to Virginia! (Hahaha! The things you do for speech and debate...)

These trips have typically been between 7 and  9 hours.....on trips that long, with a group of teenagers, many things can happen..........


The first tournament, in January, was in Norfolk, VA. That trip we went up in two mini vans. We had Mrs. C and Mrs. P in one van with Miss AC, Miss SP, and a little brother. In the other van we had Mrs. B; then the rest of the teenagers- Mr. FL, Mr. RB, John Christian, and me. Soooooo yeah, I was in the guys van....(how gross is that??) ;)

On the way up we got into many arguments (as we normally do, we all love each other that much :P). But the main argument was the principles/definitions of dating v. courtship....boy that was an interesting one thanks to Mr. RB... It all started because I was sitting in my little seat (having just finished knitting) reading my little book I had brought with me...Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship. (The sequel to Josh Harris' I Kissed Dating Good-Bye.)

Well after John Christian and I kept a fist fight from almost breaking out between RB and FL (not literally, but it was getting heated) we stopped at a rest stop right over the NC/VA line. We all got out of our two mini vans (quite stiff) and used the rest room/got snacks/stretched. (Well, the girls stretched. The guys decided to run up and down the hill, climb trees, do push ups on the sidewalk, and pull ups on the bathroom stalls.) After everyone had finished their, um, ::cough:: exercises- we all got back into the mini vans and were about to drive off, when Mrs. C had the horrid realization that we were missing her son (the little brother). What a worse feeling than losing an 11 year old boy at a strange rest stop?! We all got back out to look for him. The guys found him a few minutes later, where they had left him, in the rest room. ::rollseyes:: Good job guys... :P

We got back in the vans and had been driving about an hour when, while I was knitting (I had decided it would perhaps be best if the book went back in my bag), I smelled something funny. I turned around to see RB's head SMOKING! Trying not to scream where Mrs. B would swerve off the road, I said: "John Christian!" As if on cue, he immediately turned and unplugged a laptop charger adapter plugged into the cigarette lighter. (It was right behind RB's head and was smoking, that's why it appeared that RB's head was smoking :P) That adapter was not plugged back in for the rest of trip....

After we got past that minor calamity we drove a few hours more and stopped at Wendy's for supper. After the girls had eaten all we wanted we gave our leftovers to the "dispose-alls" (aka John Christian and FL) and went on our way.

We finally got to Norfolk without anymore trouble, and arrived at Script Submission on time. The boys went on in, and I stayed behind to walk in with the girls. The girls started looking for their scripts, and couldn't find them. When suddenly they realized that they had packed them IN their suitcases. Sooo, there we were three teenage girls, at 8:00 at night, in downtown Norfolk, in the parking lot of the Federal Credit Union, with the back of the van open, two suitcases on the ground open, digging through t-shirts, socks, and underwear trying to find the folder with the scripts in them!

After we found the scripts, we went in to submit the speech scripts. Every one's went fine....until we got to the girls' scripts...SP's printer had apparently decided to print their duo script in dark green instead of black. AC's script had apparently the wrong citation formatting. The duo script was accepted anyway (thank goodness) but the Persuasive (AC's) script had to be changed. Now, being the nerdy debater I am, I normally bring a small printer with me for emergency printing. That poor printer had seen so many 64 page briefs run through it that it had finally conked out on us....so no printer... AC had her computer, with her script, but no printer. Script Submission said "have it fixed and printed by tomorrow morning, or no competition". We hoped that the hotel had a printer we could use.

So, at that point it was 9:00 and we were dragging ourselves into the hotel we were staying in. We checked in and had three rooms right beside each other. Everyone picked their rooms (two girls rooms, one boy room). As soon as I started bringing "stuff" into our room, I immediately recognized the smell of nicotine- despite the fact that this was a "no-smoking-room". Being severely allergic, we had to trade rooms with the guys. Which meant taking everything out of one room, and putting in the other, and vice versa. That hall was cramped, plus we had two carts parked outside of our doors, which made it even tighter. I think they were about to kill me, and rightly so, considering that they were doing the majority of the moving. Sorry guys! (We were still looking for stuff in each others' rooms the last day.)

Once we got settled Mrs. B went downstairs to the Lobby to see what was to be done about poor AC's script being printed. She, in the meantime, was in her room working like a mad-man so very patiently changing her entire citation format. Mrs. B came back up to inform us that the hotel had no printer available for customer use. On top of that, they said they didn't have a printer, at all. Mrs. C and AC called Dr. C (AC's dad) and he looked up the closest Staples (I think) and told them how to get there. Now that it was about 10:00, of course they were closed. After AC finished re-formatting her speech she downloaded it onto my flash drive, and the next day before competition, they were able to go to Staples and have it printed.

Now, I know what you're thinking....nothing else could possibly go wrong for these people...I assure you, for PSSDC, it absolutely can!

We got up the next morning (first day of competition) to find that RB's cold had returned, and he was pretty sick. Not only that, but FL had forgotten his suit jacket. Thank the Lord that John Christian and FL are the same size, and one competes only in debate, and the other only in speech...they were able to share John Christian's jacket.

Later that day, Mrs. B went to the drug store to get some medicine for RB, because he was so sick. The druggist asked for his birthday. Poor Mrs. B was so stressed and frazzled that (having 5 boys) she couldn't remember out of two birthdays, which one was his. (Which made the druggist wonder about these unsocialized homeschoolers...) She finally settled on one (which happened to be the wrong one) and got the medicine. For the rest of the tournament RB was so stopped up, he couldn't hear a thing! He was very miserable, and we all felt very sorry for him. :(

The second day of competition, I woke up....sick. (I know you don't believe me, but it's true!) I was so sick I could hardly talk, much less speak. I had a terrible cough, and could not breathe even a little bit. Now, remember this a speech and debate tournament....the whole purpose is to speak. So there was me and RB as sick as you could ever want anyone to be... Together, we lived on cough drops! I really don't know what I would have done without him! There was one very crucial debate round I was going into, and had forgotten my cough drops. I ran back to the student area and started frantically looking for my bag of cough drops. I couldn't find them! I was going to be late for my debate round, and this was out-rounds! (You can not be late for out-rounds.) So, RB was sitting there and (coughing his head off) he gave me his bag of cough drops. Now, you have to understand here, he was sicker than I was, and he gave me his only bag of cough drops! He had to go for a full hour and a half without his cough drops! I don't know how I would have made it without them! (Thanks, RB!!! I know you read my blog.) :D

I forgot to mention that the first day of competition SP had also come down with a bad cough. (Lord help us!) 

Now the last day of competition I woke up and said: "Mrs. B? I haven't been this sick in a long time! I need help! I literally can not breathe...at all!!" I was so scared at this point. Every breath was such a struggle. I couldn't talk, I had absolutely no voice. My tournament mommies, Mrs. B and Mrs. P, were so wonderful they just took care of me, and did everything in the world you could imagine to loosen all of that in my chest. (When your own mom/dad can't go to a tournament, we kids call the mom/dad who took us, our "tournament parent".) ;) When we finally got to the tournament that morning, a little late for annoucments- thanks to me, I sat down in the pew next to my debate partner, and he made it very clear that if I was too sick to debate then he would go to the tournament director to say that we forfeited all further rounds. :-O These tournaments mean a lot to him, and he just said he was willing to forfeit for a runny nose?! Haha! (You guys know what I mean.) I assured him that no matter how sick I was, I was going to debate!

Now let's rewind a bit to the day before we were supposed to leave for this tournament....

I had finished packing all of my suits, food, and (most importantly) evidence for the tournament. I did need to talk to my debate partner about one minor change in our affirmative case. I had texted him and asked him to give me a call, when he could. He replied that he needed to talk to me as well, but it would be very late since he had a basketball game that night (which I had totally forgotten about). I said that was fine, not to worry about the time, but to just call me when he could. Later that night at about 10:00 I got a text from him saying that something had happened in the game, and to brace myself. I was thinking: "Oh no! What has happened to him!?". He then went on to tell me that during the game, in an attempt to block, one of the guys on the other team had intentionally elbowed him in the mouth...so hard, it knocked him to the floor. Now, John Christian has braces- so quite a few teeth were lose, one was hanging in there because of the braces, one brace had been knocked off, and his lip was cut. Not to mention his whole mouth was swollen, and he was in a lot of pain! He said he didn't know what he was going to do, but somehow he was going to speak at that tournament. About half an hour later, I got a call from his mother. She had talked to his dad, and he had told her that I had better be informed of the situation. I told her that he had texted me, and I did know what was going on. She said the game had been a couple hours away, and it would be awhile before he got home. She also said that she was going to take him in for an emergency orthodontist appointment the next morning, where hopefully they would fix him up, and he would be able to leave that same day for Norfolk, VA. Let me tell you, that night some serious praying went on at the Miller Homestead. I was more worried about him than the tournament. From what his mom had told me, it did not look good. At about midnight, I decided I might as well go ahead and lay down, when they called me (which they had promised) they'd called me. So, surprisingly enough, I fell asleep rather quickly. At about 1:00 a.m. my cell rang, it was John Christian! I had to really listen to hear what he was saying, considering that the right side of his mouth was about 3 times its normal size. We talked slow and got through what we needed. (Both of us praying inside that the orthodontist would be able to patch him up!) The next day he texted me and said he was going in for his visit, and to pray! Half an hour later he texted me and said he was out and the doctor had fixed everything! (Now his lip was still cut and swollen.) We were all so very thankful! Prayers had been answered, once again!

Ok......so! The troubles we had still are not over! Haha!

For about a month before that tournament my mother had been sick, I mean REALLY sick! We're still not totally sure what it was, but we think it was probably the flu. This whole time she had been saying she was going to go with us to this tournament. Of course, she ended up not being able to go, so I spent the the 2 days before we left racking my brains trying to think of a way to get John Christian and me down to Hickory! Thank goodness for Mrs. W! I don't know what we would have done. She picked me up, drove all the way down the mountain, picked up my debate partner, and took us on to Hickory! She was a saint!

Now, let's fast forward back to the actual tournament. By human standards that tournament should have been awful! We all should have been miserable, ready to give up, at each other's throats, and in general having a terrible weekend. But you see, we weren't operating on human standards, oh no, we were operating on God's standards! Our little group of 10 was surrounded by prayer. Despite all of the hardships most of us broke in our events. Despite the fact that AC's script had been wrong, she won Persuasive. Despite the fact that RB was terribly sick, he broke with his Humorous. And despite the fact, that according to any medical doctor John Christian and I shouldn't have been able to speak (due to a busted mouth and no voice) we broke, and during all of our rounds while we were speaking you couldn't tell that a thing was wrong with either one of us! Not to mention that we all had a lot of fun! God was at work in our little group, and He still is!

Soli Deo Gloria! May we Praise Him when we Win and May we Praise Him when we Lose!

There are many more stories I could tell you from this trip....but, well....those are just between me and our club...and they'll stay that way... ;) (Some of them are a wee bit embarrassing...)

At the bottom of this post, I have posted a few of my favorite pictures from this tournament. Check them out! :)

Check in again for a continuation of Tournament Stories!

Next time....

Trip # 2- Annandale, VA! 4 people in a little car. First time host housing. Meeting two people who become great friends. A  friend visits from PHC. And much, much more!

Always in His Arms,



  1. Wow! Such an interesting, funny, well-written post that glorifies God! :) Loved reading it.

    1. Thanks, Daniel! :) I enjoyed writing it! ;)

  2. Praise the Lord! God does incredible things. :D We shall have to share tourney stories on our way up to MN. (Shoot, we've got 20 loooooong hours of driving time to spend. xP) Can't wait to see God's incredible story unfold starting the 16th!!!!! :D Thanks for sharing. <3

    1. Amen! :D Absolutely! :) I can't wait for those 20 looooong hours!! xD :P We'll have waaaay too much fun!! <3

  3. Replies
    1. Lol, I've been really busy! But, I'm trying! ;)

    2. It's June 8th and I'm impatient! :D

    3. ^^And now, it's July 22nd. My thumbs are getting a little sore from twidling. ;)

  4. Are you ever going to finish this?

    1. I'm very sorry! I do plan on finishing it! But- pardon me for asking, who are you?

    2. I'm a homeschooler who is looking into speech and debate.

    3. I like hearing stories like the ones in this post....it tells me what to expect.