We’re coming down the wire to the new season. The NYCFL meeting has been scheduled, as usual on the first Saturday following Labor Day. Once again I won’t be able to attend, as I’ll be tabbing Byram Hills. I will miss seeing everyone, but I won’t miss the probable discussion of the finer points of Dec and Congress, if there are in fact any finer points. I know that some people, like the Paginator, think Congress (or Legislative Debate, as some people would have it) is the cat’s pajamas, and for all I know, maybe it is, but listening to the host of Catholics argue about how it should be argued is above my pay grade. Or more to the point, you can’t pay me enough, and since no one’s paying me at all, well, I’d rather be up in Armonk shuffling Byram Hillers.
In addition to the invitational, the hills of Byram are alive with the sound of a round robin on the leading Friday. That seems to be a good idea, except insofar as it interferes with getting the invitational started (although that can be solved with a little tabbing magic, if necessary). With the Collegiate RR no longer in play, there’s a bit of a hole at the start of the year where a Rising Upperclass event used to be. As it doesn’t reach for $ircuitry, BH probably won’t ever replace the Coll RR, but for the locals, it’s close enough, especially as it leads in to the big events the next weekend. Nobody likes to go to a big tournament unprepared, mostly, although the existence of Blake running Jan-Feb in December does add some spin to the idea. You would think that people would tire of Jan-Feb long before April, when it finally plays out, especially if they’ve started it before emptying the coal out of their Christmas stockings. Apparently not. Then again, I’ve never heard anything but abject praise for the Blake tournament, so I tip my hat to them. Anyhow, I always liked the idea of a warmup tournament, or more to the point, I always believed that the first tournament on a topic was always more a learning experience than anything else. Wild stuff would fly around that would settle down by the next week. That’s one of the problems with PF. With only one month (aside from Sept-Oct) for a topic, and the need for most teams to not debate every breathing moment of their lives, topics don’t get to mature much. They start out wherever, and maybe they come around by the next week or two, but by then, people are off and running on the subsequent topic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, especially since I think that the rapid turnover of topics is one of the things that keeps PF honest, but it does mean that you limit your opportunities to get a great number of superlative debates. By the time people figure out what’s what, they’re on to the next one. It’s the judges who suffer the most because of this, seldom getting the chance to hear really good debaters go at it in a really good way, but then again, given the nature of the PF pool, maybe they’ll never realize what they’re missing.
Meanwhile, Rather Large Bronx will start clearing the waitlists shortly. Kirby will be doing that. It’s going to be the proverbial bloodbath. Better him than me.