[eDebate] Reactions to these threads

Kuswa, Kevin kkuswa
Thu Oct 23 18:50:09 CDT 2008

yes, good discussion,
A few additional comments regarding 6 v. 8.
1) "Longer days" since 1983 is not an argument for 6 rounds unless you make the elitist assumption that out-round structure has to stay the same.  In that sense, Josh's analogy to McCain's tax policy is apt....take more money from the lower and middle classes in order to give more time (resources) to the wealthy.  This will trickle down because low and middle teams will have the privilege of watching the best without being so tired.
At Wake, between one-third and half of Sunday will be devoted to elims.  In the past, all of Sunday was devoted to all of the participants.  That shift has to be justified independently from the "days are too long" argument.
2) I think the frosh/soph break-out is great too, but shouldn't those teams be watching the real out-rounds? :)   You might find that the same schools in out-rounds (with a few exceptions) are the schools in the break-out.  You might be surprised how many first years and sophomores are debating with juniors or seniors at smaller schools that do not have multiple younger debaters with high school experience that are not already on teams in the regular out-rounds.  Again, I like the break-out--BUT THIS COULD HAPPEN WITH 8 PRELIMS.  It is NOT a reason that 6 prelims is any better.
3) SOME 6 rounds tournaments are great--we attend a bunch of them every year (although the cost for the 6 rounders we attend is much less than Wake's version because of the extra night in the hotel) and enjoy them.  Gonzaga is on the Wake model and we love that tournament because of the hosting, the competition, and the judging.  Gonzaga, though, is a strong regional tournament, not the NDT/CEDA of the first semester.  It is different when a national tournament that draws in all of the top teams decides to go to 6.  There are multiple reasons the Capital Catholic National tournament is not around now, but one reason is that six rounds were not enough to justify all the costs for national travel.
4) Safety is being used here is a really dangerous way...are you really leaving the safety of the squad and driving to the variable of 6 vs. 8 rounds?  That's terrible.  If that is true, you should not attend any 8 round tournaments.  Will, you should not have driven back from Ky if it was dangerous or if you felt like it was dangerous.  Pull over and sleep or make sure you have two drivers in every vehicle.  The issues of safety are massive and I could not agree more that it is the most important factor of attending tournaments and debating/coaching responsibly.  THAT IS EXACTLY WHY SAFETY SHOULD NOT BE DEPLOYED AS SOME random variable justifying 6 rounds over 8.  Fuck that--it's irresponsible as shit to think to yourself ON ANY level that your safety is less optimum based on 8 prelims. At that point you either refuse to attend that tournament OR you make plans to address the situation...
What are those plans?  These are things to think about REGULARLY whether the tournament is 9 rounds and quarters, 5 rounds plus two banquets and a coronation for the top team, 7 rounds and partials, etc. etc.  Let me repeat: The issues of safety are massive and I could not agree more that it is the most important factor of attending tournaments and debating/coaching responsibly.
A) Driving or Flying:  You should arrange your schedule to refrain from long drives if you can avoid them by flying.  This raises other travel issues and team size questions, but it is important to think about.  You have to recognize that all driving entails risks...you cannot make driving prefectly safe no matter what you do.  Assuming that your drive is going to be OK because you just came from a tournament that "only" had 6 prelims is a terrible and dangerous misconception. 
B) Number and Quality of drivers:  this is HUGE--who are your drivers?  are they safe? how qualified are they?  how much experience do they have? how many rounds are they judging? how much sleep do they get before and during a tournament? how many hours are they expected to drive?  how many hours in a row? and (hopefully not) are your drivers debating (if so, how many rounds did they debate and how much sleep did they get before the tournaments)?  If some of your drivers are students, you should not force them to wake up and watch out-rounds when they do not clear.
C) Policy on driving:  Do you have resources set aside for any time that the driver needs to stop and sleep?  You should.  Whether it's early in the evening or late at night, your drivers and students should always be ready and willing to pull over a find a place to sleep if need be.  Do the debaters know that rushing home to make a test is NOT AN ARGUMENT in the face of a tired driver?  Do all the debaters know that driving safely is more important than any other aspect of the tournament?  Have you talked to all your drivers and discussed what to do in various driving circumstances?
D) Is your vehicle safe?  Who is reponsible for the upkeep of your vehicle?  Do you drive 15 passenger vans (found unsafe for human cargo)?  How many eligible drivers are in each vehicle?  What does it mean to be eligible?  What about driving in bad weather--when do you pull over and what is the policy?
Obviously, this issue goes much further than the few points and questions raised here. The bottom line is that playing the safety card in favor of 6 rounds is not right...look, 8 rounds and only finals would be "safer" than Wake's current schedule--are they now liable for decisions involving length of drive, when a team leaves a tournament, number of drivers in a vehicle, etc.?  Why does safety apply to prelims but not to excessively long elim decisions?  Please don't conflate these issues because it adds even more risk to something that we need to think about all the time (at least more than we do now) anyway.  
5) Human time.  Daisy and I have been talking and it is not like 6 rounds at Wake will magically make all of us human--it's that this is a tournament where she can concentrate on her varsity team and that it will be a less sleep-deprived weekend from their perspective.  Fair enough.  All of our squads approach novice, jv, and varsity differently and these are factors to consider.  Wake is a varsity tournament--one of the best of the year.  How many of those do you attend?  As far as human time goes (and I think Daisy would agree), attending 3 tournaments with 8 prelims would be less exhausting, taxing, demanding than attending 4 tournaments with 6 prelims.  If we only went to 8 round tournaments, we could attend fewer tournaments overall.
In other words, we are willing to make the arrangements for safety concerns and prepare to lose some sleep for Wake Forest at 8 rounds and skip a 6-rounder along the way, but it is harder to justify the reverse.  Debates, ultimately, are what we seek as a debate team.
6) Will--your debaters that enjoyed the 6 rounds tournament more--did they clear? :)
Again--if there is a crisis as a result of long days in debate, why not shrink the number of elims, enforce a 30 minute decision time per round (train the judges to make shorter decisions)....I bet if you forced judges to decide after 15 minutes that they would decide about 95% or more the same way they would decide if they had an hour, limit oral decisions like Dallas suggests (judges could be asked to write additional comments down if necessary), go to hidden out-rounds, etc.   
7) Why does this matter?  GOOD PRELIMS AT WAKE ARE OUR LIFEBLOOD--we live on those rounds--we look forward to them all semester, we work hard to have a chance to go 4-4 and perhaps still be alive Sunday afternoon or evening, we talk about those debates all December and we use those rounds to strategize and prepare for the second semester.  Feedback from two additional awesome judges (I can tell you what we learned in rounds 7 and 8 every year and it's always more intense and meaningful than anything we learn watching out-rounds--mainly because we were making the arguments and we were directly debating).  Yes, we will happily clap for the out-round participants (and maybe sneak in ourselves this year given some recent hard work by the squad), but we will still sorely miss ROUND THE SEVEN AND ROUND THE EIGHT at the Shirley.

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