Sunday, March 26, 2006

Debate --- why no JC college nat's

When I first started coaching at BNCC, I was regularly asked why we didn't go to the CC national tournament.... I was told "it is fun" blah, blah, blah...

The general idea behind that tournament is that the two-year schools in debate have a unique set of challenges... mostly because we almost never have debaters in their third or fourth years. We also have multiple partner changes and other things that our debaters need to be doing like working to pay the rent etc... These things make it difficult to compete with teams from four-year schools who have fewer distractions and more time to develop debaters. The result is CC nationals (it has a greek honorary name I'll call PPP).

The problem is that PPP is also, structurally, unlike most national tournaments. There isn't one winner, instead you take home either a bronze, silver or gold medal... and while that sounds all cool and Olympics-like, it isn't, as there may be up to 20 teams who get "gold"... all you have to do is to win two elimination rounds.

Debate-wise, we'd "pone" them -- easy.... at least this year. One problem is that we don't play in their circuit on a regular basis -- so we don't know their judges etc. We don't know the regular arguments they run, we don't know the norms and the kids don't have ANY friends from two year schools...

A bigger problem is that it does kind of put us into, what someone else has called "the Special Olympics of Debate". Now.. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say that.... but I can see where the impression comes from. The basic message is that "you kids are at a CC, you can't compete with the BIG KIDS, here -- have your own "special" tournament"... no-- that is BULL.

Because we are in Debate Sibera our only local competition is ALL four-year schools. We debate them on a regular basis, we learn from them and often we teach them a thing or two. That is the way it should be. Our program goal is to get students debate scholarships. If they are debating other four-year schools all the time, they'll learn how to do it while they are with us and then some other school will invest scholarship money in them to get them to come debate there. Our poor/challenged/etc... students will have the chance to earn a scholarship that could change their lives.

Besides, we should go to nationals with the group we've been seeing all year-- yea -- we can hang, we are tough (and, hubby and I are kick-ass coaches...).

1 comment:

T-Mac said...

I think you summarize PRP better than just about anyone and offer great reasons to go to NPDA/NPTE instead...good call.