by Noor Abdallah
To All the Debaters I’ve Loved Before
Unlike Lara Jean, I do not have a box of love letters written to all the debaters I have loved before. If that was the case, I would have a shoebox full of letters; some including those who I just totally fangirled over, some who I always wanted to meet, and more importantly, the debaters I look up to and got me to where I am today. On Beyond Resolved, we have talked about how important it is to have that debater you love. Whether it is your captain, partner, or debater you have mad GDS for, let’s talk about how we can have that everlasting relationship with our Peter Kavinsky. For me, it is the older female debaters like team captains, friends, and my amazing partner who I have my box full of letters saved for. The love and appreciation I struggle to express to them are undefinable, but in my contract, I want to express to those debaters how they have impacted my career and life.
So, let’s make a contract; one that is filled with resolutions, hopes, and [I hope] some advice.
1. Create those love notes
Though Lara Jean’s love notes caused a contract to be made and were way better than what I could ever write, I think our contract should include some key things. As debaters, we know words are the most powerful tool to reach someone. Expressing these words will be appreciated by many, whether you see it or not. Whether it is stalking your opponent’s Instagram and sending them a DM or writing a heartfelt note to someone you love, these notes have a huge impact on people. It not only brings a smile to their face, but it also encourages them to keep doing what they are doing and motivation like that is important to our debate community.
2. Reach Out to Debaters
I am thankful for the debaters that have reached out to me or vice versa. Because of this, I have had made some of the coolest friends and learned unexplainable things. I think it is important to be able to reach out to a mentor and develop a connection that can help you get through the highs and lows of debate. Whether it is applying for our mentor program or talking to someone on your team, there will always be someone to talk to if you replicate the motivation. Regardless of your age and talent, everyone can be a mentor and mentee. The best debaters can always learn more by branching out, but they can also be impactful role models.
3. Appreciate yourself
Though I am still struggling with this myself, I think it’s essential to differentiate the debater you love from yourself. For me, I was always comparing myself to my debate role models. If I did not do as well as them, I would feel self-defeated, even if I was younger and less experienced. I would blame all rounds on myself while putting myself in the toxic mindset that my only goal should is to impress them and fabricate their success. That led to me thinking that because they are on this pedestal, they don’t make mistakes, and thus, I cannot make mistakes. Realistically, there are always things a debater can do to get better in round. Do not get stuck in the mindset that you have to live up to your role model’s success and if you don’t you failed them, or you are not as good as them. The goal of a role model is to bring out the best version of you, not a second version of them. So, in this contract, we are prioritizing making the best you first, and using powerful debaters to help you be better… not someone else you can never be. Remember you are the best and most beautiful version of yourself.
With this new contract, I want to try to be a person I would want to look up to. I want to help debaters the same way I was helped. I think the love I have for the debaters who I have gotten to know and looked up to is a stronger love than any Lara Jean/Peter romance (I can feel all the fans hating me). With this all said, I might not know you, nor do you know me. To stay true to my contract I want to branch out and try to be the best Noor debater I can be. I want to always remember to appreciate all the small things in life before they disappear. For you, make that contract. Make something that will help you. Don’t ever be shy to branch out because there will be those people you meet who make it all worth it.
With much love,