[eDebate] Community, Compromise, Pastimes, and Nostalgic 2004
Thu Jun 14 08:04:30 CDT 2007
A couple of years ago, I would have spent countless hours on edebate either attacking others who offered different perspectives on debate ideology or relentlessly defending my debate paradigms (that's old school) against any and all challengers. Either way, I began to question the purpose and the effectiveness of my choices. Were my emails an effective form of social protest and expression of my political voice? Likely so. Were my emails an effective strategy to persuade others who disagreed with me in an effort to build community in an activity that is loved by all, no matter where your debate philosophical perspectives place you in the continuum? Likely not. Just as I sometimes feel that the competition side overruns the education side in our quest for personal achievement, it seems that often our "debate" side dominates the "community" side. Not a judgement on anyone, but rather, a perspective about our collective purpose. I would be the largest hypocritic in the world to say that folks shouldn't fight for what they believe in. Just a personal reflection about how I choose to fight and where ultimately I want to get.
Next year, the University of Louisville will continue for a 2nd year on a journey to search for ways we can debate the topic in a method that is comfortable for us. To me, this is a sincere and honest effort to create compromise. We certainly have been on the side of resisting the topic and those who know our history, recognize that we debated the topic straight up during this journey as well. With that as a goal, we recognize that no one is likely to completely agree with our approach. However, we hope this can serve as a jump off point to find that middle ground which is important to our mission, creation of effective policy making in a multicultural society. Spending less time worrying about the next edebate post I need to write has allowed me to enjoy some new pastimes.
America's pastime according to an old commercial is: baseball, apple pie, hot dogs and Chevrolet. I own a Ford and a Chrylser, I don't like warm fruit, and my doctor said lay off the wieners. I'm not really sure how many people still believe in baseball outside of Shawn Whelan, Mike Davis, Jon Bruschke, and Gordon Stables, but hey, that's enough for me. This past two weeks have been the most enjoyable baseball experience of my life for two reasons.
First, my ten year old son Christopher "C-dawg" Warner had his baseball coming out party. While he had hit over .650 all season and owned the title "best catcher" in the Buechel minor leagues all season, he had never really gotten a chance to pitch all season, although he arguably has the best arm in the league. Why? Because our manager failed to draft a second catcher, so C-dawg had to catch literally all of the innings in our 15 or so games during the season. About 1/2 way through, one kid offered to learn how to catch. By the end of the season, after a ton of extra practice sessions and scary game experiences, he started to get the hang of it enough, that Chris could pitch to him at about 75% of Chris' velocity.
Chris pitched a 5 inning complete game victory over a team from another league to end the season, followed by another complete game, 7-1 victory in the first game of our championship tournament, and finally he closed the second and final game of our double elimination championship tournament, as well as knocking in the game tying runs with a double and a game winning single against the second best pitcher in the league. He pitched 10 innings of 0 earned runs and our team coasted to the league championship.
After the game, I thanked Kody for his willingness to learn how to catch. Had he not, Chris wouldn't have learned this season how well he could pitch. Kody's willingness to compromise and try to play a new position was in the best interest of the team. Chris recognizes the debt he owes to Kody. Community was built through compromise.
On Friday and Saturday, C-dawg and I took a couple of our Buechel baseball friends to the first ever, Louisville Super Regional in baseball where I got the opportunity to support some kids whose baseball careers had rarely seen any type of national notoriety. Some of those kids, like Chris Dominquez and Chris Cates, came to some of our practices at Buechel during the season, long before there was glimmer of thought about trips to College World Series and Omaha. They were just students coming to give their old teacher a hand at baseball practice. In turn, our baseball league supported the Cardinals by going to one of their games. The college team wanted youth leagues to come and do pregame activities. Our league is the only one that came all season to see the future world series participant play ball.
This Friday, Louisville and Fullerton and in the quarter-finals of the Collegiate Baseball Championship. While I haven't spoken to my good friend of over 20 years, Dr. Jon "Charm School" Bruschke, all week I have thought about that memorable moment in 2004 where for a couple of days, Louisville and Fullerton were inextricably tied to a new and wonderful experience forever. We fantasized that Monday morning about a finals matchup between the Cardinals and the Titans. We prayed together, cried together, laughed together, and motivated together.
Unintended and unplanned, it became a moment of community building. I believe that same unintended and unplanned moment of community awaits the "debate community". I look forward to the day that I can write a post about debate instead of baseball. I have faith that the time is closer than we think. Got to go now. Time to get ready to manage an all-star baseball practice tonight and a baseball game in Omaha tomorrow. Gonna go buy some hot dogs.
Wishing the best for all of our community.
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