Madlen joined DKWien in 2012 and after not even a year of debating she joined the DKWien Mission2Break contingent to Berlin WUDC 2013. Since the Vienna teams narrowly scraped past the break, Mission2Break was renamed into MissionToBreaknight; WUDC Berlin was a blast for everyone who had the pleasure to go there. Read Madlen’s thoughts for more information:
My first time at Worlds
As a greenhorn in the debate universe, you need quite a thick skin. On your first tournaments you lose, lose, and lose again. Yet you get feedback, get to know new friends, enjoy a lot of fun and learn, learn, learn. But preparation time is over at Worlds, where you are required to put your debate-knowledge into practice – against other debating enthusiasts.
With an awesome contingent of three teams, two judges and two volunteers, we represented Austria in the most charming way possible at “The World Universities Debating Championship 2013″ in Berlin.
The Competition Starts Off
Right after the motion is presented, you need to focus completely on the debate about to happen. One did not even recognize that during prep-time, in order to get to one of the debate buildings, you had to cross one of the biggest and busiest streets of Berlin, while your brain was smoking from all that concentration (luckily there were volunteers around guiding us safely). After the debate, while waiting for the feedback, you get the chance to talk to the other teams. You meet people from every imaginable corner of the world – people of different religions, of different social and economic backgrounds – from Botswana or Harvard, from Malaysia or Israel, from Mexico or China. But all that doesn’t matter during the debate, and thankfully it doesn’t take away from the social conversation afterwards. But the same kind of passion and effort for debating seems to be inherent to every participant, and, just to mention, with respect and without any prejudices. Getting to know the other person through debating makes the personal standing seem irrelevant. It was fantastic. Usually you agree with the judge when you win and disagree when you come third or fourth. But the important thing is not to take the disappointment into the next debate. The time-framing of the debate, and especially the endless waiting, together with quite a few coughing and sneezing persons, was challenging for the immune system and the nerves alike.
On the last day, you don’t receive any more feedback due to the so-called „closed rounds“, which brings a lot of tension and curiosity with it. There was no room for mistakes for all the three teams.
The Bristling Tension at Breaknight
On New Year’s Eve the organizer announced the “Break”. It was resulting in the discovery of who would get to continue competing and who would move into the rows of the audience. Nerves were raw and every second feelings and sentiments changed, every prediction was pretty vague. So there we were – standing in our finest clothes praying behind that angle statue in the midst of the Atrium of the TU Berlin, looking over the crowd to the announcement stage and fearfully and secretly hoping to hear our team name being called out against all the odds. Yeah –no, no, no, it didn’t happen, it was not meant to be. (And yes we were sad, exhausted, crushed and disappointed).
Finally we could pay our highest and strained attention to the socials and the parties. And without exaggeration I proudly can say that we fully succeeded in at least that category.
We rocked the dance floor. On January 1st we had the day off, to sleep, sleep, sleep and in my case – to eat, eat, eat. It is amazing how much nutrition your brain needs after three days of high-level concentration. And besides all the other opinions I do love potatoes and kraut and meat. “Berliners” made me feel welcome. The Indian Night fulfilled the longing for something fried and spicy as well.
First time at World’s seems to implicate that you enjoy your first Yakka-Experience as well. Yakka is basically Vodka with sugar and lemon and apparently a debater’s tradition. Well let’s just say there were a lot of people, not blessed with a German liver (that doesn’t necessarily exclude Germans), who run wild after a sip of the magic juice. But the Austrian contingent kept cool as always and enjoyed the night.
It was great to be part of such a fantastic group of Vienna debaters who supported and pushed each other and shared happiness as well as sorrow. Even though mission to break failed in some small detail, it just enflamed the passion for debating even more. And yes you get better, better, better! After worlds you are not a greenhorn anymore. Chennai, watch out.
The DK Wien Contingent
Vienna A – Melanie Sindelar, Stefan Zweiker (14pt)
Vienna B – Agnieszka Bibro, Christoph Jäger (11pt)
Vienna C – Madlen Stottmeyer, Andreas Prischl (12pt)
Adjudicator: Anna Nessmann
Adjudicator 2 (sold to Melbourne): Rebecca Hibbart
Volunteers for Streaming: Rosie Halmi, Florian Prischl
WUDC Berlin 2013, 27 Dec 2012 – 4 Jan 2013, 9 Rounds, 400 Teams; Winners Open: Monash B (Nita Rao, James Beavis); Winners ESL: BRAC Bangladesh A (Ratib Mortuza Ali, Aaqib Farhan Hossain); Winners EFL: Porto A (Tiago Vieira Laranjeiro, Ary Ferreira da Cunha); Best Speaker: Pam Cohn (ULU A). Congratulations to all!
mst/ szw/ msi