Açı debate team realized a few first-timers in this tournament. It was our first Turkish language debate tournament. We were competing in T-Ö tournament for the first time. It was the first time Açı debate team was in semi finals.
Congratulations to team captain Can Aşardağ and Nathan Candaner, Rahime İsmetova, Atakan Paksoy and Kaan Hamilton for coming 4th in the tournament of 17 ambitious teams. They not only succeeded in beating many teams, but they also showed all how gentlemanly debate can be made. All debate tournaments have their own anecdotes. But here, more than the anecdote, the perseverance and unbelievable will power of the team is to be appreciated. Just to give you an example:
It was early in the morning; as we were in the second group we had the opportunity to go and watch some other teams. We chose to see last year’s champions. We were aghasted at the aggressive tone and the informal language used. We could not fathom any possibility of success in such circumstances. How could we achieve anything when people were hollering at each other ”You are sitting down now!” ? And yet, match after match we realized that it was not aggression that payed off, but clever and clear thinking. When we went out of our 4th match, the opposition team came to us and congratulated us for the clear win. When the judges announced, however, we had lost. How could it be, there must have been a mistake. We appealed with no success. We were seriously demoralized. There was an evident choice: to quit and leave the tournament or to persevere. The team said ”we continue” and went ahead trying to do the best we could. The rest was amazing. Every match became better than the previous one. We were amazed that we made it till the quarter finals, we were thrilled when we made it to the semi finals and….so disillusioned when we could not make it to the finals. After all, one gets used to good things very fast. Nonetheless, we had captured the opportunity to say ”You are sitting down now!” to the same people….but in a courteous, gallant and graceful way, with the Açı spirit we so cherish.