Coach of the Year? No debate about it.
I was thrilled to recently read in the Daily Courier that Chase debate coach, Patrick Moss, had been named Coach of the Year for the state of North Carolina.
After reading the article, my mind could not help but wander back to 2001 when I was a senior at Chase and Mr. Moss was my coach.
I’ll never forget the first day I rolled into class. Mr. Moss was standing at the front of the room in full army fatigues. He proceeded with a military style roll call, with each class member answering their name with a loud “WHOYAAAA!”
“This could be fun,” I thought as Mr. Moss described the different competitive events we could choose. At first, debating was the last thing I wanted to do because I didn’t think I could argue both sides of an issue. But like any good coach, no matter the sport, Mr. Moss saw my potential and by the end of the class period, I was a debater.
From that point until our first tournament, Mr. Moss took the time to work with me and develop my debating skills. He would even stay after school for extra practice to help polish my public speaking prowess.
His patience and all those hours of working with me paid off. For those who have never seen a debate match, it is best described as a verbal boxing match with opponents trading arguments and counter arguments with each other.
Mr. Moss helped transform me from Glass Joe of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out to Tyson himself. I was never disqualified for biting a competitor’s ear, though.
Mr. Moss was always a good guy to have in your corner between rounds. He was my Burgess Meredith and Apollo Creed rolled into one. He would always let me know if I had someone on the ropes or encourage me to get back up if I had gotten knocked down. Rocky would have been jealous.
Modesty prevents me from telling you how well I did that season. I won’t reveal the number of my trophies that still sit at Chase. I will refrain from shouting my record (34-12) from the rooftops.
I won’t recount old stories of my glory days, like how I beat one debater so bad I made him cry. After all, I’m not Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico or even Bruce Springsteen.
I will say, however, that none of my success would have been possible without Mr. Moss’s coaching. But that success, the awards, and
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the trophies are nothing compared to the other more important things I gleaned from being a debater that year.
Mr. Moss let me be part of a team. Debate gave me the chance to compete, earn a letter, and wear it with as much pride as any football player or other athlete. That’s a memory that will last forever.
More importantly though, debate and Mr. Moss taught me to be more open minded and that there are two sides to every issue. Those are lessons I still apply today.
So, congratulations on being named Coach of the Year, Mr. Moss. You deserve it and that is one fact not up for debate.