[eDebate] ceda forum forum

Danielle Verney daisy_verney
Thu Oct 23 17:26:10 CDT 2008

I could not agree more with Ross here (and I guess this references what Sarah is referring to in her post as well).
My debaters are in all likelihood going to get 2 less debates at Wake (sorry Josh & Casey).  The flip side of that is more sleep for them on Sunday night and maybe an easier drive back on Monday.  Maybe they will function slightly better in class on Tuesday, maybe not.  Does that suck a little for them?  Yeah.  Wake is one of the few tournaments where my varsity debaters don't have to spend time coaching/prepping/hand-holding our novices and probably sacrificing their own performance for "the good of the team".  
However, the flip side of 6 rounds for me is 1) having to judge 6 debates instead of 8, 2) getting more sleep, 3) driving back at a reasonable time and a reasonable speed on Monday, 4) spending time with my kid on Monday evening instead of arriving back after she goes to bed, 5) not being a zombie in the classes I need to teach on Tuesday.  These things make me feel like a better mom, a better coach, a better judge, a better educator, and a better human.  Given that most of my debaters spend 4 years max in the activity and then move on to (more important?) things, and I am the one who needs to keep doing this year after year, I'll weigh the risk of my burnout more heavily than the relatively small harm of 2 less rounds.  Coaches need to protect their health and sanity too (let alone their personal relationships).
A coach who has slept, who does not need a caffeine IV by noon, who has eaten something somewhat healthy and has taken longer than 15 minutes to do it, who has been able to socialize with friends, is a better coach.  Debaters who have done all those things definitely debate better and have an overall better experience at a tournament.  God knows the people who run tournaments deserve a break, some sleep, and a chance to eat and socialize too.
I debated at Wake on the Indian Country topic--2001, the year it dropped to 6 rounds so that we could have public debates on terrorism and related issues and come together as a community around an event that we were all still struggling to understand.  I don't remember missing the last two rounds.  I do remember being glad that we had so many diverse perspectives and levels of understanding and perception there.  I was proud of our community at that tournament.
I think there are several ways that the community could address quality of life issues, but I think that Wake's move to address them is a good and important one.  It would be a shame to lose valuable members of our community--perhaps people with different perspectives from the average "debate jock"--because they decided that the debate lifestyle was not compatible with their personal life or health.  
Danielle Verney O'Gorman
Navy Debate
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