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Ben and Scott's Big Adventure
First, we found the NDT community to be very accepting to new schools and
competitors. We read a lot of posts about how teams that travel nationally
are 'elitist'. However, aside from one coach in one round who told his team
that tey had received one of the easiest draws in the tournament, we heard
nothing that even smacked of elitism or discrimination. By round three, we
feel that the community had begun to accept us as half-decent debaters
instead of looking down upon us as the mutated offspring of the NDT that one
might expect. By round eight we were trading cites and advice with NDT
teams and helping each other prep out on different cases. Judges from any
school were happy to share their flows with you if you were going to hit a
team that they had seen. The whole community was eager to help out each
other, including new people that they didn't even know existed 24 hours ago.
Second, we found the judging pool to be excellent at UNC-CH. In no round
did we get a bus driver judge who had already decided her/his vote by the
1AC. Everyone was willing to hear any argument, and if there was anything
in particular they couldn't stand, they told you. Judges were open to
ridiculous positions (such as our speed kills position that Havard swamped
us on) as well as more serious ones. The judges all gave excellent
critiques at the end of the round that clearly explained their reason for
voting. Instead of hearing "I bought T" and then having the judge ask if
you any questions, they would say "I bought T because X, Y, and Z, and you
could change plan to read like so...." The judges told you how you could
have won their ballot very clearly by showing you exactly which response
they would have needed you to extend to win and how you could have done it.
They also did not interject their own personal knowledge of issues until
after the ballot was signed and taken away.
Third, we would like to thank one judge, Earl Croasmun, in particular. Our
coach was supposed to come and judge the last half of the tournament, but
she ran into some problems that kept her from coming. After realizing that
we were going to be coachless for the weekend, he came to find us to give us
specific advice about teams that we were going to hit. He also guided us to
places that we could eat in the greater Chapel Hill area. It seemed like he
was a temporary/emergency coach for us, and we'd like to thank him for
taking the time and trouble for finding us to try and help us out.
We also liked the extra minute that was tacked onto each of our speeches.
This allowed for more issue development, time to tell a story, and a
reasonable chance that we would make real arguments instead of total blip
debate. WE had blip debates occassionally, but it was a lot less so than in
Fifth, we noticed that the NDT tournaments were more diverse. We found that
(from our own personal completely non-empirical experience) that CEDA
tournaments are much more whiter and male. Many people have been saying
that we need to make debate more diverse and Scott and I completely agree.
Obviously NDT has done something right that CEDA may wish to model. We need
more women and minorities to become involved with debate. By following
NDT's example and supporting things like the IMPACT coaltion, we may be able
the achieve this worthy goal.
Finally, we would like to thank the tab room staff at UNC-CH. Not only did
they get the tournament started on time AND get us out at a reasonable hour
AND power up rounds 7 and 8 in a reasonable amount of time, they were also
able to do this all in less time than most school take when then they are
only doing 6 rounds instead of 8. Additionally, when it was clear that
coach wasn't going to show up, they made every attempt that they could think
of to make sure that she was safe and sound. They also made sure that Scott
and I would have enough gas money to get back home and offered us shelter if
we needed to stay the night. Their generosity and genuine concern was
appreciated by us. And for those of you in suspense, Lisa is ok, we were
all just worried about her.
There's only two things that Scott and I didn't enjoy wholeheartedly.
First, the tournament was very long. We were talking to a George Washington
team that agreed that six round tournamnets were better than eight round
ones. The weekend is, after all, supposed to be a time where you can relax
a little bit. Howver, six rounds is at least as much work as you do in a
typical day, and eight rounds is definitely more. The UNC-CH tournament
staff lessened this by making sure that we we all done by 9 o'clock so that
we could all go home and get some real rest. We can, of course, adapt to
this and survive. It just might be nice to get a chance to hit downtown
while its still open (to find a restaurant).
The other is disclosure. Every team disclosed their affirmative, but only
one disclosed their negative. WHile there may be an affirmative bias
(ranging from 65% to 85% depending on which judge you talk to), we feel that
disclosure benifits both teams and debate in general for reasons that have
been thoroughly discussed on this listserv. We still did have fun debating,
and neither of these complaints made our weekend less enjoyable overall.
We're looking forward to seeing some of our new friends from the NDT at West
Point or App State or wherever we may see them next. An NDT tournament with
almost all NDT teams and NDT judges is a great experience. Everyone should
try it. It doesn't matter if you are fast or slow, good or bad, completely
incompetant or a national champion, an NDT tournament is a great time.
If someone would cross-post thins to NDT-L, we would be much obliged.
Thanks for reading,
Ben and Scott
Benjamin R. Bates
University of Richmond
"Here the question arises; whether it is better to be loved than feared or
feared than loved. The answer is that it would be desirable to be both but,
since that is difficult, it is much safer to be feared than loved, if one
must choose ... Yet a prince should make himself feared in such a way that,
if he does not thereby merit love, at least he may escape odium, for being
feared and not hated may well go together." - Niccolo Machiavelli
Archive created by Jonathan Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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