[eDebate] DCAs and Senior Goodbyes

richenrc at whitman.edu richenrc
Sun May 14 19:39:41 CDT 2006

Debate Community-

If we are in fact witnessing the death of DCA bios, I?m going to be 
sad to see them gone.  What I?m really going to miss isn?t the 
brutal (and sometimes funny) roasting of our favorites, but that little 
paragraph, usually at the bottom, that reminds the debater that the 
community loves and respects them.

I don?t think that we are evil or elitist for talking about the 
debaters we respect the most. I don?t hold any judgments against 
anyone who votes for their favorites or anyone who is on the list. At 
the same time, I think that Brian Smith had the right idea a few weeks 
ago when he mentioned the names of all those that received votes and 
didn?t make the top ten. It seems that seniors, from the most 
successful to the least, are worthy of recognition and a few nice 
words. Whether we are great successes or abysmal failures it is safe to 
say that each one of us invests so much in this strange activity.

I think those last lines of DCA bios where friends and team members 
tell a debater what they?ve meant to the community and to that the 
particular team represents the best of our community. It seems that a 
community that would benefit so much from unity often seeks first to 
divide itself before unifying. I seriously doubt that anyone who loves 
debate is going to find anyone outside of our community that 
understands the time, dedication and sheer insanity of what we all go 
through at every tournament. It is only here, amongst debaters that 
this funny activity that occupies all of our time really achieves 
coherence. This makes the community already naturally positioned for 
being unified and welcoming to its own. I think sometimes we just 

I don?t think that anything that has been said thus far in the DCA 
bios has ushered the debate community into a state of disrepair. If 
we?re anything as a community we are resilient and forgiving. Despite 
people?s mistakes in posting (and I?m not excusing them) what got 
lost in the fray was the sincere goodbye that one debater said to his 
best friend and partner.

I?m not going to attempt to legislate how anyone else recognizes 
debaters, but I am going to take this opportunity to follow the example 
JT set a few weeks ago and thank some seniors that I?ve really looked 
up to and am sad that I won?t get to see debate again:

Eric Suni ? You already had your DCA bio so I?m not going to go on 
too long about you. You?ve single-handedly kept a school of 1,400 
students in rural Washington on the debate map. In three years I?ve 
seen you put it on the line before every round and more often than not 
come out like a champ. You?ve made all of us on the Whitman squad 
better and have achieved universal respect among anyone who has ever 
been on our team. I look up to you more than any other debater and find 
it hard to imagine debate without you around. I?ll miss you.

Jeff Buntin ? I was sorry that you didn?t make the DCA final cut. 
Anyone who has known Jeff for a few years can?t help but feel proud 
of how far he?s come. A debater who as a frosh didn?t even go to 
CEDA Nats because he didn?t think it was worth it, Jeff has grown by 
leaps and bounds. After a disastrous first semester of his sophomore 
year debating with ?some frosh? (me), Jeff decided to join up with 
another ?some frosh? (meiches) and do the K thing. I can?t say 
that the Whitman team has a warm and fuzzy disposition when it comes to 
K debate, but Jeff has made a believer out of all of us. As a K debater 
who worked as hard as any policy debater in the country, (seriously 
any), Jeff earned the entire team?s respect. In terms of debate 
success Jeff has only improved each year. This year he came 
breathtakingly close to a first round and when he and ben missed by 
just a few slots our team was heartbroken for them. Regardless, Jeff 
had an awesome NDT getting to Octos and an equally great CEDA where he 
ended his debate career against his favorite debater, Hunter Brooks, in 

Jeff, much like Eric, has defined the tenor of the Whitman debate team. 
His tenacity and intensity has been unmatched by anyone I?ve ever 
seen. Through hard work Jeff made himself the best debater he possibly 
could be. I respect the hell out of Jeff and think that what he was 
able to do with the K, on a non-K squad is a phenomenal achievement. On 
top of all this, I?ve spent countless hours late at night cutting 
cards with Jeff laughing about inane shit and having a good time. Jeff, 
you are one of my best friends, you?ve had a great career.

Chutch - Much like Whitman, you?ve made the K a lasting force on the 
Gonzaga squad. Ever since our debates against you and Dingel my first 
year, I?ve always enjoyed debating you. Your light-hearted 
disposition and ability to have fun in every debate has really made the 
activity enjoyable. The region won?t be the same with you gone. 
You?ve been great to have around at tournaments. Congratulations on a 
great debate career.

Peter Campbell ? I think the word ?scrappy? was made for you as a 
debater. Being part of a small UPS squad, you found a way to bring it 
in every single debate. Whether this involved going for the 
securitization K or some scary theory arguments, I?ve never felt 
secure at my chances of winning when debating you. Your exploits at the 
WNDI are well known and your ability to have a good time whenever you 
are with the Whitman debate team has really made you part of the 
family. You judged my very first debate when I was at a high school 
novice tournament and you were a sophomore. You?ve always been part 
of the debate experience to me and it definitely won?t be the same 
with you gone.

Hunter & David ? I?ve only debated you guys once, but I?ve 
watched you several times and had to cut case neg to your AIDS aff the 
entire year. I have always respected how you two functioned seamlessly 
as a team. As a testament to this I remember watching in surprise as 
you switched up speaker positions in the finals of the Berkeley 
tournament and beat Ben and Jeff. I always liked watching you guys 
because it was a mystery whether or not you would just read the K or 
read 8 off. I thought your aff was great this year, you both have been 
really nice and I really respect the way debated throughout the years.

Brian and Todd (Team Iowa) ? I?m not positive that you are seniors, 
but I think so. I felt that we had some of our best debates of the year 
against you guys. You were really fun to debate and had an amazing 
ability to always keep the pressure on. I appreciate your friendliness 
and rapid cite responses.

Crowe and DeLo ? Whitman has always had a fondness for Wyoming 
debaters. You guys have been some of the best. I love hearing Jeff?s 
funny stories about working with you guys at the Wyoming debate camp. 
We never debated but I?ve followed your careers pretty closely. I 
know that your senior year could?ve gone better but I think that you 
have a lot to be proud of and I wish you both well.

Brad Hall ? I?ve loved watching your not-so-epic battles with Suni 
in college. I love your style of debating. You play the game the way 
that I aspire to play it and I respect the hell out of you for it. 
I?ve appreciated your kindness over the past few years and think that 
you are hands down the best at responding to cite requests in the 
country (that has to be worth something right?). I was really happy to 
see that you made it to finals of the NDT. If anyone deserved it you 

Burke ? I hate that you love the Yankees, but I guess you are okay at 
debate. What do you have to say for yourself for being the cause for 
all this controversy? I have one word for you as a debater: awesome! 
You are hands down the best at cross-x in the country and give some of 
the best 2ncs I?ve ever seen. You won the NDT and no one can ever 
take that away from you.

Casey ? Way to go. Win the NDT and then achieve universal hate in the 
debate community. I?m just kidding Burke probably doesn?t hate you. 
But seriously, despite your proclivities for the profane and offensive, 
you have earned the respect (at least in terms of debate) of the entire 
community. In true Aaron Hardy fashion you were the 2a that knew the 
ins and outs of the most complicated issue on the entire topic. If you 
could?ve seen the file that Hardy cut against the currency aff and 
the look on his face when he found out you had six zillion more 
advantages it would?ve made your day. You won the NDT because you 
worked and worked and worked until you could do nothing else but go out 
on top. I love msu debate and I think that you epitomize the intense 
work ethic that your squad promotes. At the end of the day, you really 
are a good person who has been great to talk to. I really look up to 
the way you handle yourself and the modesty with which you speak of 
your debate success.

Cormack ? Fitting, that you come after Casey. Matt, I hate losing to 
you more than almost anyone else. But I definitely respect the way that 
you have debated. You play the game hard and have risen above it all to 
have a great debate career. It is really funny to see you and Casey 
fight; I hope that at the bottom of it all you both really respect the 
other person. You?ve had a great career and have set the bar high for 
Kansas debate in the years to come.

DCA Debaters 1-5 (Klinger, Branson, Phillips, Wickersham, Smith) ? 
I?m very sorry that you?ve been deprived of having your DCA bios 
posted. I hope that some compromise can be worked out that can make 
these public. As the most successful members of our activity you are 
certainly used to recognition but I don?t think that that is a reason 
why you shouldn?t hear some last kind words. I don?t think I?ve 
ever debated a single one of you due to our differences in bracket 
position ? but I?ve seen each of you debate countless times 
(klinger alone I?ve seen debate as many rounds as I?ve had in my 
whole career). The fact of the matter is that our community suffers 
from the same type of star worship that American?s have of 
professional athletes, and you five are familiar to packed rooms on day 
3 with wide-eyed debaters watching you debate. It must be a strange 
thing. From my experience, I can say that not a single one of you have 
ever disappointed. The calm, dignified demeanor that you all hold when 
debating is beyond impressive. I?m sure that each of you has worked 
incredibly hard for each of your successes and everything that you?ve 
done in this activity has been well deserved. I don?t know what else 
to say?..each one of you has been incredible to watch.

There are so many more leaving our community that I hope get hearty goodbyes.

Hope everyone is getting close to finishing up and looking forward to 
the summer.

Take care,

Ross Richendrfer
Whitman College

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