When I was in the 3rd grade, I competed in my very first speech competition. It was part of an annual trip to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN with our congregation to participate in the Lads to Leaders program.
My speech was titled, "All we really need to know, we learned in Kindergarten". I remember standing up in front of a small room of boys my age and their parents at Lipscomb University early on a Saturday morning. I had practiced the speech so much, I really wasn't' that nervous. I can still recite much of that speech. "Think about it, hmmmm. All we really need to know, we learned in Kindergarten."
It was three minutes long. Who knew those three minutes would have such an impact on the rest of my life?
Later that night we gathered in one of the ballrooms at the Opryland Hotel with a couple thousand people for the awards ceremony. They called the winners up to the stage for each age group in the various competitions. When they got to the 3rd grade boys speech, they called my name along with four others in random order.
The founder of the program, Jack Zorn was on stage in his trademark red blazer handing out the awards. I was dressed in a red blazer as well. The announcer called out 3rd place, then second. The boy who won second place, I thought had the best speech. He talked about Noah and the Ark. But, the announcer called my name next.
I won the very first speech competition I ever took part in and after that experience, I knew I wanted to talk to people for a living. I had found something I enjoyed doing. I just wasn't exactly sure how that would turn out.