Ready To Begin?

The pressure of high-school speech tournaments
besides the speaker, and the six to follow,
is something few students handle well automatically.
There are nine of us in the claustrophobic room,
and if there’s good news, it’s that some,
we are the two who must judge the seven,
were born to handle the nerve-jangling trauma,
write comments about each speaker and rank them.
The better news is that if you can’t take the pressure,
these are high-school students, teenagers, children,
then you join and practice hard to overcome your fear,
finally learn to smile and ask if we’re ready to begin.

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