My Prometheus Cup Adventure and A little bit of Hide and Seek :)

As I sit here, a week after Prometheus Cup, I can’t help but look back and poignantly remember how I excited I was as we flew to Singapore, yet in a blink of an eye, it’s already one week since Prometheus Cup ended and here I am back to the everyday grind of school work, projects, review classes and what not. I miss the experience so much that I guess it’s just right that I take a walk down memory lane and relive the wonderful adventure I had in Prometheus Cup!

Just right before we flew to Singapore :D

Just right before we flew to Singapore 😀

It’s these trips abroad that make high school such an adventure. It’s not everyday you get a chance to be able to represent your school in international competitions. Yet, the excitement, pressure and anxiety can be so overwhelming that you get out of character at some points in time.

They say that your true character is tested when you’re in your hardest moments. For us Xaverian, Prometheus Cup was a character building experience that really humbled a lot of us and taught us the importance of teamwork, patience, hard work, and most importantly, appreciation and gratefulness.

Debate is a team game

 “You win as a team and you lose as a team.” One of the most important things I definitely took a way from this tournament was the importance of being a team player. Teamwork (or the lack of it) played a vital role in this tournament where you have 5 individuals with different wavelengths all prepping one motion in one room.

Yes, we had our fair share of disagreements, arguments, shouting at each other and what not. At the end of the day however, I realized that when it was all said and done, nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes so we don’t have the right to just go, berate and criticize others just because we have a different opinion that we don’t subscribe to.

The Xavier Debate Team with GRIFFLESS!!!!

The Xavier Debate Team with GRIFFLESS!!!!

In these types of tournaments, you really learn how to become more of a team player. You learn how find ways to motivate each other. More importantly, you really get to know your teammates and what makes them tick. And in this same process, you start to learn more about yourself.

Listen, React, Respond

More than just teamwork, what I also learned about debat that just like in life, you should be quick to adapt and respond to the situation. It’s the team that’s best able to adapt to the situation that wins. But in order to be able to respond, you have to respect your opponent and listen. It’s when you pause for a moment, listen carefully and put yourself in the shoes of your opponent are you able to fully respond to their points.

Listening is a really important skill to succeed in debate and I personally admit I have to work harder on this skill and try to become more of a listener in order to be able to fully respond and rebut my opponents.

This is what’s fun with debate. It’s so unpredictable that you can’t help but feel exhilarated as you enter every single debate with your heart beating and your spirits pumped up. Yes, afterwards, a lot of us had a lot of regrets. There were a lot of things we knew we could’ve done better. But for every mistake was a lesson we learned.

chilling with my teammates during quiz night after all the tiring debates!!

chilling with my teammates during quiz night after all the tiring debates!!

You won’t win overnight

The level of competition in Prometheus Cup was extremely high. It was amazing going up against such skilled and eloquent debaters. It’s really inspiring to see how  much dedication and hard work every team puts in. In the end, every single inch counted as every debate round was really close. Losing a few close rounds has really pushed me to work even harder in order to become better and improve for the future.

Moreover, the differences in culture and background were also evident even in the way teams debated. You could see the differences in style and strategy of every team. For instance, team Sweden debated with a lot of flash, flare and personality, while the Singaporeans were very organized, detailed, and structured.

With the Singaporeans!! Thank you so much to Raffles Institution, the org team and the caretakers! :D

With the Singaporeans!! Thank you so much to Raffles Institution, the org team and the caretakers! 😀

More than just the debate rounds

Yet despite all the mishaps, turmoil, anxiety and conflagrations we had in almost every round (even those we won lol), the experience was so much more than just about the debate rounds. These types of tournaments allow one to step out of his comfort zone and actually venture to a whole new world.

I really enjoyed catching up with old friends and meeting new friends. The bonds you form when you’re abroad in an international tournament is simply so much stronger than the usual. You really learn a lot about the people around you in these types of situations.

This is honestly the beauty in debate. Despite the fact that you tend to get closer to reality as you learn about all the global issues, when you join these types of tournaments, you are able to separate yourself from your everyday life and experience a whole different world.

For us high school students, it gives us a chance to do something other than going to school. We get to learn about issues we don’t even tackle in school. For instance, in this tournament, we got to go in depth on topics like refugees, the UN Security Council veto power, patents on drugs of aids, abolishing the euro, school uniforms, tobacco advertisements and a whole other real world issues.

These international tournaments also give us a chance to be exposed to all the different cultures. When you have cultural night like the one in Prometheus Cup, you’re able to delve into the other cultures of other countries and simply be amazed by the food they eat (no joke, the Australians had this really weird salty paste like thing that they put on crackers which tasted like…………I honestly don’t want to remember lol)

With Captain Sweden!!! Yes, this is what happens in "cultural" night =))

With Captain Sweden!!! Yes, this is what happens in “cultural” night =))

Having Fun, Just like A kid Again

Although this may not be related to debate anymore, Prometheus Cup gave me a chance to be a kid again. I thank the Anglo Team from Thailand for bringing out the kid in me once more. All the concentration, cookie jar and hide and seek games we played are priceless moments that allowed me to take a step back and simply have fun once more.

It may be my last international tournament but it definitely was one of my most memorable ones. And as every debate tournament ends, I can’t help but look back at the choice I made 5 months ago to join the debate team after I tore my ACL. Yes, that same choice as looked more and more worth it as time flies.

Without a doubt, joining debate has been one of the better decisions I’ve made in my entire high school life. Prometheus Cup is another reason to add to the plethora of reasons that I already have.

Photobooth timee!!! Wacky photosss...good times!!

Photobooth timee!!! Wacky photosss…good times!!

Memorable in every way

At the end of the day, after every debate tournament, you can’t help but question what life is all about. You start to question why you spend hours and hours debating about a single issue. Yet, as I take a step back and look at the entire experience, it wasn’t just about the debates itself. It was the experience as a whole that really made it worth it.

From the late night prepping to the intense debate rounds to the post-debate feedback to the quiz night to the cultural night to the shopping to the dinners to the breakfasts to the trivial but crazily fun games in between to the late night to early morning bonding sessions with both teammates and friends, every single moment was part of the amazing journey I had during Prometheus Cup.

This journey admittedly wasn’t perfect and my teammates can attest to that but nonetheless, a week later, I sit here looking back at that experience and I can’t help but smile as vivid images of the countless memories hit me; It was a trip to remember indeed!

Not everyone gets to experience what I experienced in those wonderful and surreal 7 days and so I’m really thankful to everyone who made Prometheus Cup possible and to everyone who made the entire experience such a memorable one!

-David Ongchoco

PS. Just a few people I’d like to thank for making the experience such a memorable one.

Thank you to my teammates for all the incredible memories, from the prep time to the debate rounds to the free time and every other moment in between!! We may not have gotten the results we wanted but what matters most is that we learned from the experience!

Thank you also to all the other friends, both new and old who made the experience such a memorable one; special mention to the Ateneo team, the Anglo team and team Sweden for the last few nights and all the fun games and surreal moments!

Thank you also to our debate coach for helping us prep and giving us feedback after the rounds. We really learned a lot form you and the experience just wouldn’t have been the same without you!

Thank you also to the Raffles Institution, the org team and our caretakers for being such accommodating hosts. Your school is insanely huge and mind-blowing to say the least!!

Thank you also to Xavier School for allowing us to go to Prometheus Cup. It truly was a learning experience like no other and it was definitely an honor to represent Xavier!

Finally, thank you to my parents for allowing me to go to Prometheus Cup. I know that you guys were at first ambivalent about sending me to this tournament but I’m really grateful you ultimately let me go. It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had this year!!

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