Tales from Maidens Debating part 2: Trinity and the pool table of lore…Or, the schneaky abortion debate

The second part of the Fresher!Niamh saga.

In this installment- We have an honest to God good time and start to learn the ropes and rules

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SONG THAT THEMATICALLY LINKS TO THE FOLLOWING POST IN SOME WAY OR ANOTHER

When I told my friend I was going to Trinity he told me a story I’m not entirely sure is true or that I want to share with you.

When you debate in Trinity the 2 societies hosting, the Phil and the Hist hold it in various arts building rooms and the Graduates memorial buidling on campus.  In the GMB there are pool tables.  one of them, my friend enthusiastically informed me, is the pool table on which Mary Harney lost her virginity.  And they DON’T TELL YOU WHICH ONE IT IS.

Needless to say I was a little nervous about this one.

I was paired with a good chum of mine and we both had a bit of debate experience in Maynooth but it was his first IV.  Our first motion was ‘This House would never disclose the ethnicity of sperm and egg donors to prospective parents’

First opp. Okay.

The room was pretty good- University of Limerick, Rocky Mountain College and another team I can’t remember the origin of.  I was starting to get into the swing of things by now and we were following Rocky Mountain who were pretty good- We were very obviously in the weaker half of the debate with them, the UL and other mystery guys came second and first respectively.

We came last and RM took the third which was decided on style V substance; we lost out because we weren’t as stylish.  Curses.  A nice thing about Trinity was how much feedback one could get off  the judges- It was less daunting than UCD now that I had some idea what I was doing.  We were told we should do well in our second room and so we rattled on happily. Our second motion was This House Believes The decision to seek a bailout should be put to a referendum’ [Note: It was something like this, I actually can’t remember the exact wording].  I went into this one pretty confident we’d get a third.

T’was Hiroshima again, lads.  We bombed so badly.  I nearly died.

We were in the shittiest, most depressing windowless room deep in the arts block and we were first prop. We just didn’t click, it didn’t work at all.  It was only as I sat down I realised what the debate was actually about.  Morto.  We came last and ended on a bit of a slump.  We cheered up with pizza slices and cheap Tesco cola  and we resolved to regroup the next day and take it head on!  Enthusiasm!

Something wonderful happened on day two.

We had fun.  Honest to god. We  had proper craic.

It was brilliant.  Third round was the amazing motion ‘This house believes that Feminist groups should not campaign for abortion rights’ and were against IT Tallaght, NUI Galway and another Maynooth team.  We were closing opp which is a lovely position to be in.  This was where we got a good dose of what’s called  Bin Room logic.  It’s the term used for the weird, faulty and often hilarious arguments used in the less experienced debates.  NUIG propped it with a determination to turn it into a debate on abortion being good or bad and we just weren’t going there.  In my proudest moment as a debater so far I said ‘The proposition wants to turn this into a simple debate about abortion, when it’s not really about abortion- Abortion is the footnote in this motion. It’s schneaky sort of abortion debate if you will.  Really we’re talking about free speech here!’

And we won!  Huzzah!  First ever first! We got third in the next room and second in the last room, finishing on a respectable-for-maidens score of 5 points.  Our celebration three in one Chinese trays were all the sweeter for it.  I was happy.  Things were starting to make sense, faces were becoming more familiar.  I was getting the hang of it.

Trinity was the first time I heard mention of the ‘break room’, the opposite of a bin room.  This is where the top teams end up duking it out to be in the quarter finals and the standard is ridiculously high.  In the build up to the break for the quarter finals people milled around and the excitement built, people were appearing in suits  and ballgowns now in anticipation of the black tie grand final, it was brilliant.  The Atmosphere and the banter was great now.  It wasn’t so daunting this time around.

Again I stuck around for the 3 rounds of finals, all brilliant and fun.  My friend was disgusted with the final motion ‘This House Welcomes the fall of Global capitalism.’ He considered it a walkover for the Opp, and I think his heart broke a little when first prop won the cup.  We were kicked out of the GMB at half 11, too late for me to catch my last bus and too early for a nitelink so I wandered around temple bar for a bit then went home- I’m still mystified as to how anyone has energy left to party after the 2 days, but I’m sure that comes with time.

Trinity was a lovely ass IV.  It’s less intimidating because Trinity Hist and Phil don’t compete in their hosting competition so there’s an interesting mix of teams in the final [i.e. UCD L&H and UCD Lawsoc fill all 4 final positions].  After the beatdown of my ego UCD gave me, Trinity dusted me off and got my head back above the water.  We were on the way.

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Next time: Limerick – Bitches Love the Patriarchy

Niamh ‘All my rebuttal is interwoven’ Keoghan

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