Thursday, September 26, 2013

Experiences in Ritual Competitions

Today's article comes from Bro.  Isaac Holtzer, Deputy State Master Councilor of PA DeMolay. He writes about his experiences at the Mid-Atlantic Tournament of Champions.

On September 6 - 8, 2013, ten DeMolays from Pennsylvania attended the Mid-Atlantic Tournament of Champions, or MATOC. MATOC is an event that hosts DeMolays from all over Region II of DeMolay International for a ritual competition. Competitions range from "Rookie of the Year," which covers the obligations for new members, to the DeMolay Degree, to the Chaplain Prayers. The goal for every DeMolay there is to get as close to a perfect score as possible, which is 1000, and do better than everyone else who competed. Every competitor starts with a perfect score and they lose points if they mess up the words or there is an issue with the presentation.

Imagine going into a lodge room with four people watching everything you do, ready to catch something you do wrong, and then performing the best ritual you can. This is what Matt Maple, Isaac Holtzer, Lorenzo Rodriguez, Phil Cancila, David Kopp, Eric Dye, Tyler Moyer, Adam Pritchard, Andrew Santilli, and Anthony Kallhoff did at MATOC. They competed in many competitions as a team and individually; they included the Preceptor Trio, Magnificent Seven, Orator, Flower Talk, Ceremony of Light, Chaplain, RD Ceremony, and Majority Service. Many of them even became MATOC Champions, doing better than everyone else in their chosen competitions. A member of PA DeMolay won the Rookie of the Year, Magnificent Seven, Preceptor Trio, and Majority Service. This goes to show that Pennsylvania DeMolay does some very impressive ritual.

I personally have attended the past two MATOCs. Both times I have had the opportunity to meet with other DeMolays from neighboring jurisdictions and compete in brotherly competition. When I first went to MATOC, what made me excited was that everyone helped each other at practicing their ritual, even though they were competing against each other, which really shows how we are truly a fraternity.  The first time I competed I was extremely nervous going into the competition and I hoped I would not receive the lowest score out of everyone. It turned out I did the opposite and I won, but only by five points. At the second MATOC I attended I was not as nervous and I focused on getting a higher score, possibly a 1000, which is very difficult to achieve. I did not get a perfect score, however I did obtain my goal to do better. MATOC has helped give me a passion to do the best I can at ritual and I hope everyone goes to MATOC in their DeMolay career.

Many DeMolays in Pennsylvania hear about the Mid-Atlantic Tournament of Champions and get nervous, not wanting to go, but would like to see how well they can perform ritual. In this past year, we have found a solution to this problem! We now have statewide ritual tournaments at every weekend we have at Patton Campus. This gives every DeMolay the opportunity to compete in ritual even if you do not want to travel to MATOC. The best part about the statewide competitions is that you can compete more than once and try to get a better score. So there is no reason you cannot compete in a ritual tournament!

Until next time - Isaac

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