A lot of people comment that debating is an Artform. I agree with them completely, but I also like to think of debating as an intellectual sport. But much like viewing art that hangs on a wall, or watching a sporting event on television, you need to understand what goes into what you’re seeing to fully appreciate it.
I’m not an overly educated person when it comes to art. There’s some art I like, and some I don’t. But I do know there’s more to art than what I see. If I don’t understand or study an artform, like I do with debating, I won’t appreciate a lot of pieces because I won’t understand what to look for or know what goes into creating something. This is similar to watching sports.
Take a soccer game, for instance. If you don’t understand the rules, you won’t like the game. If you do understand the rules, the complexity of the game is pretty enjoyable. This is how my brother and I are when it comes baseball. My brother loves it and I don’t. But he could tell you all about the sport, and I couldn’t tell you much at all.
Using rules and stats, for example, he could explain why someone is in a batting lineup in a way that exemplifies coaching genius! As far as I’d know, the same batting order could be organized according to the alphabet! But ask me about football, and that’s a whole different story!
Joking aside, to best appreciate debating, you need to understand it. Much like an artform, it has its methods and characteristics. Similar to a sport, there are rules that make you have to think on your feet. And when a debater combines these things together to craft a fantastic argument, it’s a beautiful thing to watch. You’ll begin to see the art through the artform and the agility in the intellectual sport.
So the next time you see a debate and walk away with a few facts you find agreeable, you may have just had a pleasant evening. However, you leave the same debate and keep mulling over facts you disagree with, but want to know more about, then maybe you’ve been moved by the art of debating.
And if you watched a debater swiftly outmaneuver their opponent’s argument with a skillful examination of its premise, then you’ve witnessed some agile footwork. And if you can’t stop smiling because a debater surprised you, taught you something new and made you laugh – all at the same time – then you’ve just been entertained by the personality along with the process.
So much goes into building, presenting and defending an argument, that, even for those just watching a debate, it’s a sight to behold. The more you know about it, I guarantee, the more you’ll enjoy it. Debating has it all!