[eDebate] Ken D's departure from debate

Darren Elliott delliott
Fri Mar 17 04:52:31 CST 2006

While some may forget where they come from, he?s still, he?s still Kenny from the Dot.  Yeah Wyandotte County!  His home county, the county of KCKCC.  When you are a Dot you never truly leave home.  That said?

I?ve known all semester Law School was looming for Ken D.  Kept thinking maybe he?d stay.  Not sure where to begin.  I will say things now and remember later I should have said other things so I reserve the right to clarify in the 2AC.

Ken did it the right way.  He didn?t have the recruiting money to buy the National Circuit kids out of HS that came shrink-wrapped and debate-ready.  Nope!  He did it from scratch.  He coached.  I mean the real, down and dirty, in the trenches, teach kids how to debate first, then teach them how to be even better kind of coaching that doesn?t get celebrated nearly enough in this activity.  He took kids with little or no talent and turned them into some damn good debaters.  He gave kids chances that a lot of people in this activity wouldn?t give two shits about.  Anybody judge Kelly Thompson and Jia Min this year?  Yeah I did?how many others would have done what he did?  I love me some Chinese poetry by the way.  : )  He took the Phil?s, SJ?s, and Rimmey?s of the world and snuck up behind some of the top dogs and made them think twice about their High School Prep educations and their $100,000 budgets.  Ken you should always remember that.  Phil was right about what he said.  You did it the right way and no one can ever take that from you.  

I appreciate Ken for taking my alma mater and keeping a tradition of excellence alive.  I hope the University appreciates you for what you did.  (I will soon be in contact with Dr. Catt and as an alum let him know the expectations are high for the future of the program and remind him the bar has been set by you and they shouldn?t lose sight of that)

Ken, thanks for the talks at tournaments.  This year especially I was grateful.  Working with you and Stone on the D3 constitution in Edmond, I had no idea this is where the year would end.  Breakfast at the Heart, the conversations during rounds off at W. VA. , and then the phone call you made to me after your elims loss were all very telling about where your heart was in terms of debate.  Wish I could have said or done more to make things better.  I appreciate your confidence in me and Joe and the kind words and support.  I ran for office because of people like you?people who pour their heart and soul into this activity and while doing so make more personal sacrifices than most anyone can imagine.  I want to do what I can to make the journey easier and more appreciated.  I know you will keep up on things from the periphery and I hope you are happy with what you see.

Over the years what I appreciate about you the most is your willingness to say what you think and not worship at the altar of bullshit.  You never sold out.  You never stuck your nose to someone?s butt to get ahead.  Again, you did it the right way.  And if you and I ever disagreed or had issues we knew we could pick up the phone and call each other and solve the issue right away.  Thanks for the mutual respect.  It is too often lacking in this activity and it will be missed.  I am glad we could stick together.  We are both Hornets now and as you always say, we sting in swarms!  

Ken you don?t know this but the words you said to Peter and Clay after the round you judged them at Districts meant more to them than you can ever know.  That night we talked a long time about their respect for you and the admiration they had for you given what you shared after that debate.  They could tell their argument was moving to you and they were moved by what you said.  Sounds to me like if they run this argument at CEDA Nationals, they have a new coach to add into their narrative.  You are a prime example of what their argument is all about.  When good people feel they have to get out of debate, we?ve reached critical mass and it?s time to act.  Thanks for what you said that day, but more importantly what you said every day before that and every day since.  You never know the impact your words are having but make no mistake about it, they move people.  

One quick story.  My first elim loss in College was to Ken D.  I was a frosh debating in Open at the old OU tournament, first tournament in college.  Went 5-1.  Prelim loss was to the previous year?s CEDA National Champion Wayne Harrell.  Didn?t feel like we were beaten at all really.  Thought this college debate thing wasn?t so tough.  Then breezed through the Octos on a 3-0.  Still easy I thought.  Quarters was some team from K-State.  DeLaughder and Beadles.  Didn?t sound so intimidating.  Then Ken gave the 1NC, my partner melted in the 2AC, and well damn DeLaughder was fast.  That beat down was a lot worse then the loss to Harrell.  Ok maybe debate wasn?t going to be easy but it was going to be fun!!  So Ken popped me in elims, I got him back on a China debate, and then he was the only one in the country carrying a hit on our unbroken Burma Aff., and yep guess who we broke it against?  DeLaughder and Hood read more case specific offense against the case then we could read for the case.  So back and forth we went.  But it was always fun.  Maybe next year at the Heart it should be you and I taking all comers on any environment or China debate they can throw at us.  Thanks for the competition and the fun, both as competitors facing each other and as coaches.     

Ken?s love for debate was without question.  When someone can spend that many years, working that hard, cutting that many cards, turning out as much talent as he did, and then fall out of love, it is frightening.  Ken, you have a secure legacy in the talent you turned out.  You are leaving fine debaters in place, have former debaters in fine jobs all over the country, and have colleagues that recognize and respect what you?ve done.

Best of luck to you in the future and in Law School.  Don?t get too far from all of this madness.  We need gatekeepers still, even if on the outside of the gate.  Stand watch like a silent Bear! : )  In the meantime, come by the Dot from time to time and let?s devastate some Arthur Bryant?s.  And I owe you some beverages at CEDA Nationals?we all do.

>From all of the Blue Devils and especially the Head Devil---thanks and you will be missed.

Chief--proud Hornet alum

Darren Elliott
Director of Debate?KCKCC
CEDA 2nd VP Elect

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