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Limiting Nationals-Jason Trice, Tim Mahoney
This is not really a response directed at Jason in particular, but that is
just the label for this posting. Jason does, however, make the argument that
keeping people out of nationals does not compromise goal #1. Likewise, Tim
makes an argument I want to respond to.
I think not allowing everyone to attend nationals does compromise goal #1.
(See my previous post)
I have found taking younger debaters to nationals to be very important to
getting them to make the jump from being a beginning debater (just about all
of our students begin as raw novices without high school experience) to
attempting to become a varsity debater. They look around at the mass of
humanity and see that debate is national. They get kicked by good teams, they
lose close rounds, they beat some other teams, they go 3-5 or 2-6 and then
they decide that "Hey, maybe I can actually do this." They watch teams in
elims and then say "You know, I could be as good as they are!" and then they
decide that next year they are going to go for it. I can document their
progress: 3-5, 4-4, 6-2.
The several middle level varsity debaters on our squad now (and who are
cutting quite a few cards) are there in no small sense because their
nationals experience gave them the impetus to move ahead.
I think that this "transition" move is one of the most important factors in
reaching goal #1. If a student "learns to debate" it is a good thing, but I
think that the real benefit comes when the student finds out about the REAL
and AWESOME challenges of competitive debate (big research, lots of skill
work, heavy commitment to excellence) and then decides to acept them. In my
experience, it is this phase (after initial novice debating and before true
varsity excellence) which has the most impact on goal #1.
Tim Mahoney says that we should limit teams at nationals. Well, right now we
are trying to find additional funds so that we can take one of our younger
teams to nationals. I would like to introduce that young team to you and
perhaps you can explain to them why it would be better for them and for all
of us that they not attend nationals. Your argument may sound OK in the
abstract, but it might lose a lot of its force when you have to face the real
people at issue here.
I feel strongly that nationals must remain open.
If the problem is the judges supposedly "bad teams" bring, then mutual
preferred judging is the answer and I support it.
I think a weighing is necessary here:
LET THEM COME:
-Energize beginners to make the jump described above
-Increase prestige of tournament because of its size
-Give students something to "shoot for" which they can depend on (trip to
-Ability to buy tickets, etc. early at big savings instead of waiting until
-Disenchanted schools drop out of CEDA
KEEP THEM OUT:
-Dilute the excellence of your competition
-They bring supposedly "bad" judges (mutual preferred solves)
-Big tournament is more difficult to manage
-Painful face pushes (as described by Mahoney....not unique, can be good --
see above, they do learn)
Any weighing of these shows we should LET THEM COME. The critical issue for
me is that the KEEP THEM OUT position does not contribute to goal #1 and does
pose some threat to it.
Alfred C. Snider, University of Vermont
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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