Successful discourse: Boise State's two-time national champion
Boise State: football powerhouse, a rising force in basketball (fans hope) and a perennial contender in collegiate wrestling. But competitors on the school’s most successful team don no pads or helmets, sneakers or spikes. Instead, they talk. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Boise State: football powerhouse, a rising force in basketball (fans hope) and a perennial contender in collegiate wrestling. But competitors on the school’s most successful team don no pads or helmets, sneakers or spikes.
Instead, they talk.
We sat down with the Boise State Talkin’ Broncos Speech and Debate Team and asked them to convince you – our audience – why they’re so great.
And so, without further ado, let us begin with a trio of opening statements. Broncos, you’re on the clock.
“I’m happy,” Talkin’ Bronco Robin Jensen said. “I like doing this.”
“I mean,” Talkin’ Bronco Cassandra Sullivan said, “I’m literally an advocate that every person should be in debate.”
And your time is up, Ms. Sullivan.
“It’s you thinking about what I’m saying rather than me just lecturing at you,” Talkin’ Bronco Joshua Watkins said.
OK, Mr. Watkins. So, please tell us why this is a story. In other words, what reason do we have to care about Boise State speech and debate?
“Because we’re increasingly bringing attention to more than just athletics,” Watkins said.
Girls, do you have a rebuttal?
“People can’t watch us on TV,” Jensen said.
“It’s hard and it’s tiring and it’s exhausting,” Sullivan said.
And a real debate tournament works nothing like the clichéd back and forth we’ve attempted to replicate so far in this story – or like the presidential debates you see on TV.
“That’s not actually what we do,” Jensen said.
No, these kids construct cases and arguments, writing and memorizing as many as five or six speeches at a time. And they do it better than anyone else in the country. Yes, more than anything the Talkin’ Broncos just win.
“Consecutively every single weekend,” Jensen said.
Boise State boasts the distinction of being one of only two programs to have won two national championships. They’re the reigning champs, they just won the regional tournament again and they’re sending teams all over the world to compete.
These kids are good.
“There’s still this stereotype associated with speech and debate where it’s only what the nerds do,” Watkins said.
“If what you’re doing doesn’t apply to everyone and everyone can’t understand it and grasp it and take something from what you’re performing,” Sullivan said, “then you might as well not be up there.”
The Talkin’ Broncos are so good they’ll pour honey in your ear and you’ll come to narrating the beginning of your story as though you’re a moderator in an imaginary debate.
Final questions, guys: Is Boise State’s the best debate program in the nation?
“I believe that it is,” Watkins said.
“Yeah,” Jensen said, “this is definitely the best team in the school.”
“It’s the best debate team in the country definitely for me,” Sullivan said.
“This is the best program in the nation,” Watkins said.
Boise State Director of Forensics Manda Hicks said she'd love it if the community would only recognize it has an eighty-year-old speech and debate program with two national championships in its midst - a group carrying on in the tradition of silver-tongued Odysseus, Lincoln and Douglas, and Nelson Mandela, mastering communication to breed understanding.
The Talkin' Broncos compete in the Phi Kappa Delta national tournament in Kansas City this weekend.