[eDebate] My two cents worth

Anne Canavan anne.canavan
Tue Apr 11 12:09:57 CDT 2006


Since everyone seems to be voicing their opions right now, I figured I might
as well chime in as well.  First off, I'd like to say at the moment I doubt
I will be involved with a policy program this fall, to my great sadness, and
therefore take my comments with a grain of salt, or ignore them
completely...
That said, when I read the posts in the community, I realize that a lot of
other coaches conceptualize their roles differently than I do.  Most of the
comments seem to be coach's reactions to this topic... as far as I am
concerned when I coach policy debate (or any other type of debate) it isn't
about what I want to debate, or what I would run.  My job is to help my
students find info to support their case, and to prepare for possible
negative strategy.  I don't tell them what to run, what type of case to
construct, or heaven forbid write their cases for them.  The first thign I
ask is, "What are you passionate about?" and then "How can you relate that
to the topic?"  This is harder with some topics than others, but it worked
for me as a debater.  All four years I had a case that emphasized MY
interests and thoughts, with all MY research.  Was it perfect? No.  Did it
win all the time? No.  But I was a better debater because of it, and because
I believed in my case.  As coaches we need to admit our time to
competitively debate is over, at least in this forum, and get out of the way
of our students.  They are more than ways for us to vicariously live our
glory days again.

I think that there are bigger issues going on right now than topic
proposals... yes, they are tremendously important, etc.  However, as a post
today made clear, we are losing programs at a staggering rate.  Few of the
schools I enjoyed making friends with and competing against still
participate in policy... and there were only 69 schools at nationals.  We
need to focus on developing new programs and keeping the old ones active.
And to put my money where my mouth is, I plan on having a post of
suggestions in that direction soon.  Stay tuned.

As a side note, Nicole, I sincerely hope you don't leave the activity... I'm
not sure there will be much policy left when you come back at this rate.

Anne
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