[eDebate] Framing the conversation - Mananging time at tournaments

Gordon Stables stables
Thu Oct 23 10:59:36 CDT 2008


Will opened this conversation by asking folks to look at tournament
schedules. I understand why the Wake change to six prelims is a big part of
this conversation, but as Vik, Aaron and others have mentioned this
conversation also needs to be about the importance of looking for innovation
across tournament schedules.  

 

Our default tournament model is requiring more and more time over the three
days of competition. If you disagree I would ask you to consider when you
leave for a tournament in the morning and when you return at the end of the
day. This is in addition to the late-night work that Stefan spoke about. Our
days are growing longer. This is a real concern and there isn't a single
answer to the problem. We do ourselves a disservice to say that this was a
problem at one tournament.

 

What is great is that there isn't any requirement or need for a one-size
fits all solution. Much as Kevin and Ross can run tournaments differently -
we need to be encouraging tournaments to run in innovative ways that best
serve their participants. 

 

I think we all appreciate our collective hesitation to change and I saw it
up close when we moved the Nichols tournament from 8 to 7 prelims a few
years ago. I also saw it this summer when Jon and I spent a great deal of
time trying to finally move the Cali swing away from New Years Eve.

 

Change is hard, but there is a need for our community to reflect  on how the
changing nature of our competition rounds (including its pre and post round
time) are changing our tournament experiences.

 

The number of rounds is one important element. So is pre-round prep, judge
decision time, and oral critique time.  The speech time in rounds aren't any
longer, but the expansion of time in these other areas has taken place and
one place where we need to look when deciding how tournaments should be
managed. I know we at the Nichols this year will be looking closely at how
long it takes rounds to be started, decided and announced.

 

Folks are welcome to provide Ross feedback to his tournament, but this
question is so much larger. The folks at Wake always do a lot to make their
schedule work, but we need to look at every one of our calendars and ask how
we can improve on providing an educational and competitive experience that
isn't also unreasonable. As satisfying as it is to say "sleep is
unnecessary" that isn't a productive part of this conversation. It is far
more productive to emphasize the importance of a certain quality in our
debates or our experiences.

 

I encourage folks to share their perspectives on how these days can work
better. Ross is suggesting a different schedule, Dallas has talked about
adjusting post-round decisions and Kevin argues for another schedule
altogether. Please share your perspectives and experiences. There is no
single motion to pass or fail. This is all about having a conversation about
improving tournament practice across the board.

 

We have a lot more to talk about as a community, but this is an important
start. 

 

(Don't also forget to look back and read Gary's email about MPJ. Time to
talk about that soon as well.)

 

Gordon

 

 

 

Gordon Stables, Ph.D.
Director of Debate and Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Southern California
Office: 213 740 2759               Fax: 213 740 3913
 <http://usctrojandebate.com/> http://usctrojandebate.com

 

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