Bottom of the Barrel

Kai Teigen

I’ve never been much of a sports guy. I don’t have the physique, the energy, or the basic human responsibility necessary to participate in any organized activity for more than four hours. I never really thought much of it; some people are really into that type of stuff and some aren’t. I just happened to be in the latter category. However, upon coming to Berkeley High, per my own advice, I decided to branch out and get involved in things I’d always been curious about but had never quite gotten around to, and one of those things was debate.

To be fair, debate is extremely nerdy; we sit around in a semi-dark room and discuss argument structure. But it is in fact a sport in that it’s played in teams and, more importantly, is competitive as all hell. I went to my first tournament a couple of weeks ago and the tension in that cafeteria was so thick you could slice it with a spatula and serve it with vanilla ice cream. Everybody was muttering to themselves, which at first I thought to be a sign of mere psychosis but later realized was done in full lucidity for speech purposes. It turns out that debate can get really really intense, and up until this year I had just never had to deal with that kind of stress. But weirdly enough, I’m kind of happy it’s so unnecessarily insane. This whole semester I’ve been looking for ways to make new friends and join communities, and my original idea — as some of you may remember — was to join as many clubs as possible. So I joined four different clubs, kicked back, and waited for my new friends to begin making themselves known.

Unfortunately, reality, as it so often does, thwarted my naive little fantasy and by the end of month two I came to accept that joining new communities wasn’t as easy as every movie about high school and my sister’s social powers had made me believe. I started to get really discouraged, and if I’m going to be honest, I got extremely bummed about my social prospects. I had entered Berkeley High on a wave of middle school friends, musical theater buddies, and an overinflated confidence in my social skills, and all that crazy optimism had just left me in a sudden rush of sweet rainbow vomit as I realized that I had basically made zero new friends in the sevenish weeks I’d been a freshman.

My first debate tournament really dug me out of that sad, end-of-a-sugar-high hole I had fallen into. Somehow the crazy, competitive, to the point of semi-toxic, atmosphere of competition bonded us together and I’d just like to give a shout out to everybody on the team for being so cool. The main point I’m going for here is that if any of you still feel like you’re struggling to meet new people or you don’t have enough going on in your life, don’t give up hope just yet. There are so many cool clubs and teams you can join, and many wonderful people just waiting to meet somebody like you.

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Kai Teigen
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