[eDebate] Continuing on Zomp's point...

Josh Clark damiendebate
Fri Oct 5 11:38:30 CDT 2007


I read Zomp's post about discouraged Novice debaters and it reminded me of a debate round I judged two years ago at Pepperdine.  I won't name the teams because I am not looking to cause a fight, but my experience as a judge in that round really changed the way that I thought about debate.  
  In this round there were two college novice teams competing.  It was both of their first tournaments.  The affirmative presented a case about Native Americans.  This was in no way the problem. The problem was the plan that was presented had no basis in resolutional wording.  The negative team politely got up and asked questions during cross examination, trying to figure out what the plan did.  They seemed very impressed with how important the aff's harms were and learning about the solution that the aff had presented.  Maybe some good inround education...  Once cross-x ended, the negative team took five minutes of prep time at the conlusion of which, the 1N got up and said: " We apologize, but we have nothing to say.  We were told by our teacher that we would be discussing...." and then read a copy of the resolution that they had in their tubs.  At which point, they forfeited.  I have not seen debate in the same way since I judged this round.  I don't know what that says
 about my track record in college debate but for the sake of this post, I just wanted to articulate this in hopes of adding my two cents of experience to the "correct way" that novices and junior varsity debaters should debate.  I value the experience and way that each coach presents debate to their brand new novice debaters.  But what I can say, is that day I came to the conclusion that novice debate (at minimum) should strive to be fair.  And the debate I watched that day was not fair or predictable.  And that fairness and predictability on that day, more than outweighed the inround education we all recieved from hearing the affirmative.

       
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