One of the requirements for freshmen at St. Ignatius College Prep, where I spent my first year in high school, was a semester of speech. Since the tendency of teenaged boys is to grunt in response to questions, they wanted to, in the words of Mr. Woynerowski (the speech teacher), "learn guys how to talk good." Each semester, half of the freshmen took speech, the other half took typing.
After the first speech, I realized that I kind of liked getting up in front of people and talking, and was encouraged to join the debate team by Mr. W, Mr. Dolan (a Jesuit scholastic who was also my Theology teacher), and my mother. One afternoon a week, we would stay after school and hone our skills. My partner was Ed, more because we were the last two guys to show up at the first meeting than anything. After the first debate meet, from which Ed and I emerged 0-2, it was pretty obvious that Ed and I were mismatched, because we argued with each other more than with our opponents. We spoke with Mr. Dolan, who listened and told us that we were the last two guys on the team and had better learn to work with each other.
One day, we were up against a team that was arguling a "competitive advantage" case, which was where, rather than proposing a solution to the problem, they simply talked about why it was better than the status quo, which we were defending. Needless to say, Ed was like a dog with a bone, demanding to know what their solution was, after which they would get up and blithely inform us that they didn’t have one, because they didn’t need one. We lost that one, big.
Another one we lost big was one where I got up in my rebuttal time and started it by saying "that is, without a doubt, the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard." That got back to Mr. Dolan, who promptly booted me from the team.
Had I known that was all I needed to do, I’d’ve done it sooner.