Well, that’s about it for 2015. It’s been an interesting year.
I retired from regular coaching, but kept doing tabbing and helping out behind the scenes for those who wanted it, which was just about all the usual suspects. I showed up so often at tournaments that a lot of people forgot I wasn’t coaching anymore. Sometimes I did too, and I really wanted to sit down with a bunch of plebes and knock some sense in them and brainstorm a new topic, but mostly I was quite happy with the freedom from worry about them falling off a cliff or whatever. This really hit home when we’d go out for dinner during a tournament and someone couldn’t come because they had kids to take care of and responsibilities to attend to. This of course proved the old saw that forensics would be so much better if it didn’t have kids in it—unless they’re projectile vomiting—but then you would run into some old coach crank complaining pointlessly about some nonsense and you would remember that, no, it really is about the students, and would you please go stuff yourself in a moldy closet with the rest of the CheeZ Doodles, you old poop?
One thing we’ve been seeing over and over is the growth of PF, apparently at the expense of LD. The latter isn’t going away any time soon, but at the circuit level it’s become so parochial that it has left behind everyone but the true believers. Much like policy. Which everyone saw coming, but now it’s really here. There’s the continuing argument that PF will go down the same path, but even if that’s true, we’re nowhere near that yet. Plus I happen to doubt that it’s true. As long as you have to pick up a lot of parent ballots, you have to make clear presentations in a logical fashion without any smoke and mirrors. Viva les parents!
People have, as always, come and gone. The infamous traveling tab room is changing at a snail’s pace. CP claims that some day tabroom will obviate the need for tab rooms, but we’ve got a long way to go before that becomes a reality. And we had one moment this year when we were running a small division that simply wouldn't compute, and JV tried to sort it out in his head, Kaz tried to sort it out using the hand-pairing screens, and I printed up and tossed some cards, much to the awe of the assembled masses. Three different approaches that yielded the same solution, but only possible because of the collective experience of understanding the underlying mechanics of tabbing. At the point where “the computer” does it all we’ll be replicating the idea that students don’t have to learn to, say, spell, or add, because “the computer” will do it for them. Same arguments apply, and I won’t insult your intelligence by repeating them here. You get the picture. Anyhow, the point is that we need to find new people to man those tab rooms, as long as they exist. There’s too few of us who can do it and, more importantly, who like to do it. In today’s competitive environment, most coaches aren’t willing to forgo their literal coaching role in aid of maintaining the system overall (in more ways than this one, alas). Hell, I’ve heard people whine that the system is out of their control, and I’ve offered to bring them in to work in tab any time, and been completely ignored. Better to whine that the system is out of your control, I guess. We like bringing new people behind the scenes. We like new people knowing how things are done and why. We’ve been touting transparency since forever, and the only closed tab rooms I run are by league rule for the CFL. The rest of ‘em? Watch. Learn. Take over some day. That’s the way it’s supposed to work.
Coaches in general have been coming and going. This year seems to have brought more change than most, or maybe I’m just more sensitive to it, given my own situation. One person I’d like to see more of is CP, but he seems to always be running around on NSDA business, or seconding Kaz at some other venue. It’s been great fun working with the Paginator, even though we all fear that after he graduates he’ll migrate to the Midwest and bring debate to the farming community. Fr. Michael has been pulled in more often, and as the Vast Coachean Army well knows, I’ve always said that you can’t have too many monks around no matter what the situation. Meanwhile Kaz and JV have remained stalwart, and our little trio has spent more hours together than most humans could possibly tolerate, without once throwing one another out the window. I maintain it’s the ukulele music and the yodeling that keeps us together. Kaz and JV contend otherwise.
So the season is now about half over. Still to come are Bigle X, the Gem of Harlem, Baby Bump, Penn, Lakeland, CFL Grands and, apparently, the last hurrah of the NYSDCA tournament. And, of course, NDCA in Orlando, where I intend to buy a BB8 pin as a souvenir. So there’s lots more happening, and I will continue to report on all of it. Among other things. Meanwhile, we’re going on hiatus until the new year. Enjoy the holidays, and always remember, when all else fails, well, you’re screwed.