FLEXIBILITY – Be the Reed, Not the Oak


Those who participate in private forensics leagues realize that tournaments are run by unpaid volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time to make speech and debate activities possible. Even in public school leagues, very few coaches and directors are compensated for their time and hard efforts. That is why those of us who have been the recipients of their labors continue to offer our appreciation and heartfelt gratitude.

Competitive champions and their families also know how to roll with the punches, especially when unforeseen challenges occur at tournaments. Even though they arrive prepared, practiced, and polished; they are flexible. Good for them.

Aesop, the renowned ancient Greek fabulist, tells a story worth remembering as we enter the competitive arena. It is entitled “The Oak and the Reed” and goes like this…

A very large Oak was uprooted by the wind and thrown across a stream. It fell among some Reeds, which it thus addressed: “I wonder how you, who are so light and weak, are not entirely crushed by these strong winds.” They replied, “You fight and contend with the wind, and consequently you are destroyed; while we on the contrary bend before the least breath of air, and therefore remain unbroken, and escape.”

You champions are ready for competition and hold high expectations of yourselves and others. You have towered like mighty oaks throughout the competitive season. Be just as ready now to bend when you must. Your flexibility will be a sign of strength when the strong winds of competition and unexpected difficulties blow.

Be the reed!