Sunday, November 6, 2011


This past Friday and Saturday were the official start to the debate tournament season. Without going into too much detail, the tournament was easily the worst I can remember, and I thought there were a few in recent history that were so bad that they couldn't be topped. I know I have made some pretty serious mistakes in tab, but gratefully, not all at one tournament. But despite all that, there were some a few bright spots.

First of all, as mentioned before, my best debater from last year graduated and is now studying at the University of Chicago. My awesome public forum team had one member graduate, with the other trying to break in a new partner. Consequently, I am looking at this year as a rebuilding year.

This tournament is a "power" tournament in that the debaters debate 6 preliminary rounds, and the top 16 advance into a single elimination bracket. Shockingly, my two junior Lincoln Douglas debaters broke into the top 16! I was stunned, but my concern that our analysis on this topic (RESOLVED: An individual has a moral obligation to assist people in need) is more advanced than anything any of us heard. While they both lost their octa rounds, breaking at this power tournament was a great accomplishment and will hopefully build some confidence for the rest of the season.

We didn't do as well in Public Forum, and I learned some lessons about how big of a bully my senior can be, but at least he did apologize to his partner after calling him worthless... I have some serious coaching to do in terms of seeing if the new partnership will work.

However, per the subject of this post, I have decided to start what I am going to call debatisms. Debatisms are things kids say in rounds because they have completely lost contact with reality and have fallen down the rabbit hole we call arguing a resolution with ideas they don't completely understand. One of the best examples I have ever heard was from a friend and my former neighbor who judged several times for me. In a round, he had a kid say, "well, that may be true for all people, but not necessarily all humans." My friend said that he had a difficult time concentrating for the rest of the round as kept wondering, "well, am I human, or am I person?"

So, my debatisms for this following week:

"It's okay to harm people if you thought it help them." I guess all of those abusive fathers who are "trying to teach their children a lesson" aren't doing anything wrong.

"You can't limit inalienable rights (life, liberty & property) because they are inalienable." We can't limit liberty, huh?

"Treating people equally is communism."

Oh, I am sure I will have some better ones, but these are the ones I either heard directly or was told by others.