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By Christopher Hartwell @Silienceseen

In sports, athletes dress in the proper attire to best serve their needs and compete at the best of their ability to try and earn the gold medal that awaits so few.

The same can be said for competitive speakers who come from across California wearing the best suits they can find in order to compete against other orators in a bid to earn a trophy.

Speech and Debate teams came to Las Positas on Saturday, Feb. 4 to compete and be judged by former competitors, including some Las Positas students.

No two competitions are ever the same, LPC student and tournament judge Rajiv Vijayakumar knows this. Vijayakumar said, “One of the most interesting things that I saw this tournament was that there was a deaf speaker and she did a (humorous) speech about sex education in the deaf community. At first, I didn’t know how it was going to happen but she signed the entire speech and she had a translator who was sitting in the first row just speaking out. It was one of the funniest and greatest things I saw that day.”

The rules behind the tournament are quite unique, though. Due to the nature of these competitions, any person who was a competitor within 2 years of this event is barred from being a judge. For some students, that meant they could help to organize the event, but could not directly participate. To this year’s Talk Hawks, it was no problem.

Since these kinds of events require a lot of planning and man-power to operate smoothly, having a few people in the background is an incredibly important need. With both judges and students alike needing to know where to go on campus, when they would be competing and what rooms they needed to get to, it truly was a team effort for everything to run smoothly this year.

Vijayakumar said, “We like to think (we make everything work out), but then again without the other schools coming out to participate and all these people come to have fun at these tournaments and spreading the word for all these years, without them there really isn’t much job for judges really. It’s a combined effort just like when you go to another campus to compete. They put on a show for us and similarly we like to do the same, but here we like to have a little fun because we’re Las Positas College and that’s what we do.”

While forensic tournaments are relatively common, they do not often come to Livermore. Only once a year, if possible, Las Positas hosts a tournament of this scale. With students from many different schools performing many different speeches, it takes a lot of work to make sure the competition is fair and fun. However, it is seen as a worthwhile endeavor to all involved members.

Sasan Kasravi from Diablo Valley College knows how important these events can be. Now a coach for a debate team, Kasravi judged a round of impromptu speeches saying, “Five years ago to this day, my first round ever was in this room doing my speech. So here I am five years later, a new, changed man with all the skills that forensics has given me.”

For him, this is his favorite tournament of the year, as it is to so many students.

This year there were 192 competitive entries from 19 different schools. Overall, Mount San Antonio College from Southern CA ended up winning the tournament and Berkeley finished in second place.

There may be winners and may be losers but the competition will never end as long as students are willing to enter tournaments like this, which is likely since most students find it so enjoyable.

As Vijayakumar said, “That’s the cool thing about speech tournaments, you run into something completely out of the ordinary that you’ve never ever seen before. It’s really great fun.”

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