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Re: six/eight values
On Thu, 6 Mar 1997 ross smith <email@example.com> writes:
>Many issues are getting merged and muddied in this discussion. Lexis,
>costs, competitive fairness, depth of debating, coach burnout, student
>recruitment and retention, etc.
>Perhaps some focus can be had by looking at two different questions:
>1) What makes for a good tournament?
>2) What makes for a good season?
Good questions! Instead of answering, though, I'll toss out two more
questions: (1) why do tournaments exist? (2) why do prelim rounds
exist? Some of the discussion seems to start from the presuppositions that tournaments exist to determine who is the one best team, and that
prelims exist solely to weed out the unworthy and to seed the remainder
for multiple-judge elim rounds.
If it is purely a "king of the hill" exercise, then tournaments can limit
invitations to 16 teams, go straight to a single elimination bracket, and
have the whole deal in just one day. MUCH less exhaustion and no side constraints. Heck, at one time that is how Texas high schools handled
their state tournament. A team could come to Austin from Midland or
Sweetwater, drop its first round, and then have to go home.
But (and others have already said this, I think, with greater clarity)
there is more to it than just that. Many teams travel to tournaments
that they know they won't win. Some probably go in full recognition
that they probably won't clear. And hopefully it is rare that teams
will lose a break round in 6 or 7 and then just go home, forfeiting
rounds 7 and 8 as moot debates since they cannot clear. Maybe they
enjoy debating. Maybe they enjoy each debate. Why say to many of the
students at a tournament, "sorry, but after all your research and
practice and travel and missed classes, you will only be debating six
times instead of eight. The teams and judges who will probably be in
the final round would like less strain?"
The discussion has been interesting (at times), but instead of testing
for a community-wide consensus why not try variety? Some ideas:
---UNI and South Carolina could try running 10 or 11 prelims, with one
final round between the top two teams. If there is an auditorium large
enough, the whole tournament could see the hypothetically best debate.
---Some second semester tournaments could run 6 prelims and 5 (or even 6)
elims. Maybe, if you build it, they will come.
---More use of "hidden elim rounds," with everyone debating during the
first one or two elim rounds. Or the Lewisville (oops, Louisville)
two-bracket approach. Maybe some school would try offering a straight
double-elimination format. Try it, and see how many teams attend.
---Changes in the sweepstakes/points rules, such that points are given for octofinal rounds only if there are at least 48 teams entered. Is the
"best" team really going to drop three or four prelims, and wind up #16 out of 32 teams? Or, in those instances where the 16th seed wins a 32
team tournament, is it more a factor of side locks in elims? Maybe better endurance?
---More regional, two day tournaments, drawing people who are within easy
driving distance. For that matter, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wayne State could each send two teams and have a highly competitive four debate
roundrobin on a Saturday afternoon. Same with, say, Emory, Georgia, and
West Georgia. Or the schools in any given district could try to arrange a tournament or roundrobin and agree to send their best teams there.
This all started as a discussion of time, strain, exhaustion, and
burnout, as I recall, and moved to "six versus eight rounds" as a way of
addressing those problems. Maybe those issues are better addressed by wasting less time and by having higher standards of the "rhetorical forms" [Rollins, 1997] used. But some of the very people who are in a position
to exert influence over practices, the opinion leaders in the community,
evidently feel powerless. Pre-round and post-round time comsumption has
evolved a magical power of its own; it has morphed into a powerful
genie. That is unfortunate.
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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