It is just over a month now. One month ago, almost to the day I stood on a stage in front of an estimated two to three hundred people and made almost everyone roll on the ground with laughter at the District 21 Humorous Speech Contest. I thought I would be more nervous than I felt. As I shook the Contest Chair’s hand and felt him walk off the stage, I positioned myself at (what I thought was) the centre of the stage, and I began.
Have you ever been mistaken for somebody else?…
Contest Chair, fellow toastmasters and guests...
I have not had many of these moments, but this was one of those rare occasions where I had almost no fear. I was cool. I was confident. Nerves would not get to me, not tonight. I ran back and forth on a stage I knew would hold my weight (I had done the “jumping jack test” at sound check that morning, much to the bewilderment of everyone that was there). Most of all, I knew I would accomplish my biggest objective: just having FUN!
Somehow, everything came together like magic that night and I could feel it: I was in the zone.
I only remember bits and pieces from my speech that night. But one of the clearest memories I had was delivering one of my hardest hitting punch lines I had in my speech. Their laughter was a ROAR. Admittedly, I am an addict: there is almost nothing in this world that gives me a bigger high than all the roars I heard that night. I had enough of a fix that night to last me for the rest of the year.
Nine other hilarious speakers that night. Some that had made it all the way to the District Level on multiple occasions. Here I was, the kid, that had suddenly decided to enter into every speech contest this year. The kid that was going through the speech contest on her first go ended up winning her Club Contest, Area Contest, Division Contest, and then the District Contest (the highest honour for the Humorous Speech Contest).
I remember seeing the trophy. I remember the announcements made for third place and second place winner and finally allowing myself to think “maybe they’ll call my name for first place.” I vaguely remember weaving in and out of a sea of people as I made my way to the stage. I was told later I was working my way through a standing ovation, but at that moment I was completely oblivious (though in hindsight I wondered why everyone was so tall, duh, they were probably standing!) I remember the thunderous roar and taking pictures with many people I had never seen in my life prior to this event. I remember holding onto that heavy trophy and not wanting to let go of that symbol of my achievement for the rest of the night (so much so that my arms still hurt when I walked into work Monday morning).
So now I’ve received a few different invitations to speak at different clubs. Will I end up touring and becoming an amazing professional public speaker like how Mr. Ryan Avery (2012 World Champion) seems to have turned out? Not likely, but I want to ride this amazing wave as long as I can.
For the next year, let’s see where this high will take me on my Toastmasters’ journey.