Previously on Boston Public: Lauren dumped Harry; Anthony Heald found Anthony Ward’s hit-list journal; Anthony Ward told Stephen that it’s fun to imagine bullies dead, but he would never do it.
In an auditorium somewhere, a debate team from Winslow High is competing with a team from…somewhere else. As Scott “Anthony Heald” Guber watches anxiously from the audience, one of the Winslow kids is saying, basically: “Our side good. Other side bad. As Einstein said, ‘Our side good. Other side bad.’” I mean, you know, he’s a bit more eloquent, but that’s the gist. He finishes just in time, Anthony Heald applauds with relief, and the judges confer in hushed tones. For five seconds. Without even leaving the room . Then they announce that Winslow is the winner, everybody cheers, the judge hands Winslow a trophy and tells them they’ve qualified for State, and Scott books it up the aisle to meet his team outside. He seems pissed, as he disses some random guy in the audience who tries to congratulate him on having a good team.
On the bus, Scott tries to ignore his team’s giddy celebrating, but can only contain himself for a few seconds. “Are we all quite pleased with ourselves?” They all say yeah. “There was no triumph in that room tonight. We were sloppy. And I take no pride in being your coach. Mr. Powers, if you took the time to check your flow, you might see that you dropped the point during negatives rebuttal, they bring up Individualism, quoting J.S. Mill, and your response was nothing. Nothing, Mr. Powers. And Ms. Carmadie, let’s discuss your second affirmative where you ran out of time. Mr. Peterson, your three-by-fives were scattered like a deck of playing cards in a game of fifty-two pick-up. None of you displayed any argumentative command. This performance reflected shoddy preparation, shoddy command. The only reason we were victorious is because we were blessed with a flaccid panel of judges who knew less about Lincoln-Douglas debate rules than you. And not to mention an opposing school whose main use for a hard text is to kill cockroaches. It was a shoddy school we just defeated, with a shoddy performance, and shoddy will just not cut it at the state finals. Now stick out your shoddy, shoddy tongues. Do your exercises.” The team sticks out their tongues and starts doing "exercises" which look borderline obscene. Scott sits down and says, once more to himself, “Shoddy.”