A bout in a Spokane boxing ring ended peacefully Tuesday, although not without fervor over a fairy tale and strong words about pens and swords.
Spokane’s City Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilman Mike Fagan took the hits like men, but in the end they were no match for Rogers High School’s keen debaters, James Pearson and Zackary Bonser.
City officials and Rogers’ debate coach hoped the event – Rhetoric in the Ring – would bring attention to the benefits of public speaking and help raise some money for the high school’s speech and debate club. Participation has fallen over the years and school funds do not cover all the tournament fees.
Debate and speech is “a lot of fun,” said Cara Heath, Rogers’ speech and debate coach. “You get to meet people from other schools. You get to show off, be funny or silly or dramatic and bring your stories to life.”
The teens squared off in The Howard Street Gym’s boxing ring with a bit of seriousness until the words began to fly.
Pearson hit Fagan hard with an argument that disrupted an age-old children’s tale of Humpty Dumpty, claiming murder shattered the character, not some accident. “He was pushed,” the teen declared.
Fagan argued that Humpty had a “curved butt,” which required his hands being on either side supporting him. He further contended, Humpty fell because he lifted his hands to roll a “doobie.”
Pearson asserted that no one ever claimed Humpty’s butt was curved, nor that it couldn’t bend.
Winner, determined by cheers from the intimate crowd: Pearson.
“I come up with a lot of stuff off the top of my head,” Pearson said. “I’ve always liked a good challenge.”
Stuckart, a college debate champion, stepped in the ring next to face Bonser.
Topic: The pen is mightier than the sword.
The teen argued how a pen can be used to create beautiful poetry and bring words to life while the sword can only be used to tear down people and objects.
Stuckart countered with a pen being used to sign documents leading to war.
The crowd went wild for Bonser, declaring him the winner.
Bonser admitted Stuckart never worried him, despite his status in college or as an elected official. “He seems like a very friendly guy.”
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