I’ve been offline most of the weekend because I was in my home town, Watertown, South Dakota, for a unique event: an all-class reunion of the Watertown High School debate team. I am not sure there is another high school in the country that could hold an event like this. Around 200 people attended on Friday or Saturday night, or both. Attendees ranged from graduates of the 1940s and 1950s to today’s team.
Watertown has, probably, the most renowned debate program in the United States. The principal reason is its long-time coach Donus Roberts, now retired but still very much present. Mr. Roberts–as I still call him, 45 years after he coached my team to a state championship–is the most honored high school debate coach in history. A few years ago, on the occasion of his retirement, I told Mr. Roberts that I graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and had practiced law for over 30 years. But if I had to choose which benefited me more in my career, going to law school or debating for Watertown High School, I would choose debating for Watertown High School.
Among those who attended were all three of my brothers and four teammates from my high school class. It’s a funny thing: when you see people after thirty or forty years, they are instantly recognizable. They look the same (only older, of course), they sound the same and have the same mannerisms. And you quickly fall into old relationships, sometimes picking up conversations more or less where you left them off decades earlier. These guys were my debate partners; they have gone on to not just distinguished, but unusually interesting careers in medicine and law:
It was great to see old friends and make some new ones; and, as always, a number of people sought me out to say that they enjoy Power Line. All in all, it was great fun, and it explains why I’ve been away for a few days.