Saturday, November 24, 2012

Debate: Gearing back up

I probably should think about getting back to business. I took the whole week off, and it was sort of full and empty, depending upon the time and the day. I seem to be way off my normal schedule lately, for a variety of reasons, like Sandy and Bump and General Malaise and whatnot. But that can’t go on forever. It’s not as if I haven’t been doing what I have to do, but I haven’t been spending much time on the extras. There are enough hours in the day, if one bothers to use them.

A whole weekend ago we went up to Wee Sma’ Lex. This is always fun for me and for the Sailors. First of all, it’s a breeze after Bump, and one wants a breeze if at all possible. Second, it’s a chance to take my young ‘uns away for their first housing in some cases. Plus it’s a tournament lite, with four rounds, so they get experience without having their heads handed to them. It worked out well, for the most part. My two debuters won some rounds, which is way better than debuting and sinking like the proverbial stone. On the down side, we were expecting an Italian feast and ended up in a Thai restaurant, which was fine, but the Italian food in a Thai restaurant can’t hold a candle to the Italian food in an Italian restaurant. (You’ll just have to trust me on that.) CP tells me that they shut down the Italian place after last year’s Lex RR. Feh! You leave Lexington alone for two minutes and they start shuttering the landmarks. On the positive side, I think it would take Armageddon to shut down Rein’s Deli in Hartford, so we had that on the way home. At times we’ve gone in attempting to set the record for individual consumption of matzo ball soup, but this time we just ate like normal (non-adolescent) people, except for Pickles who, when eating a pickle, managed to acquire a nickname. ‘Nuff said. On another down side, the bus driver was of the persuasion: “You go up here and turn right and then left,” and she would respond, “Turn left and then right.” After a while you wanted to rely on the curvature of the earth to get her there eventually when she headed off 180 degrees somewhere else. On another up side, we got out of Lexington earlier than ever before, and home earlier than ever before. All in all, it was delightful.

At one point CP sat me down and explained that in my parochial fashion I had introduced Academy Debate to New York and New Jersey, but had left out Massachusetts. Duh. So, I created a Northeast regional debate coach listserver. It’s called Northeast Forensics on Google groups if you want to join; it’s open to one and all. I used the Wee Sma’ registration to acquire the names of relevant Massachusetts people. I figure any minute now I’ll put the Academy outline up there for discussion. The thing is, if it’s a good idea, it will appeal to debate teams there too. Curiously, someone responded here that AD should be used as a tool to control the content of debate, i.e., less $ircuity, but that’s not it’s goal at all. It’s there simply to provide of level of debate for younger students who are almost intrinsically non-circuit, i.e., slower and less theoretical and more likely to debate the resolution head-on. While I personally have no love of LD at circuit events these days, if for no other reason than that I simply can’t follow it, I’m not out to sabotage it or create an alternative. I mean, debate will go where it goes, and there are things people can do (and I think that MJP is one of those things) to keep it where you like it, but generally not liking it doesn’t make it bad. It just makes it something you don’t like. There’s a lot of forensic activities out there: no one is forcing anyone to concentrate on LD if they don’t want to.

And I’ve spent a lot of time working on Princeton. We’ve got more rooms this year, which is nice, and I divvied those up according to some internal logic that I couldn’t possibly remember five minutes after I created the files. Something to do with geography and brain power, probably, based on the idea that VLD judges and debaters could probably go the furthest afield while PF judges (maybe more inexperienced and parental) and novice LDers were more likely to get lost before they even walked out the door. I also kept the old eye on the waitlist, which has whittled down nicely. My guess is that there will be a few left standing in VLD, but the rest look fine. C’est la guerre. If you want to debate nowadays at major tournaments, don’t wait three weeks to sign up. It shouldn’t just go to the first-day types, but at some point a little sense of urgency on the part of coaches can’t hurt. The tournament opened 10/15. I’m waiting for someone to use Sandy (10/29) as an excuse. And I have a pretty good idea who it will be, too.

Somewhere in there, we also opened registration for Columbia. There were some glitches during the first hour or so, which CP claims he was valiantly fixing, although I claim he was invaliantly screwing things up in the first place. Speaking of which, I want to use the warm room features of tabroom at Princeton, so I’ve been bugging him to give me a refresher on how to work it. I think it’s looking good. We’ll see.

And that’s that.

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