Sunday, February 04, 2007

Some things I'll miss about coaching debate...

In no particular order...

Coming to this campus...
The San Diego school we are at is right on the Pacific. It is beautiful, and the smokers are corraled in a little area, so you don't get smoked on if you don't want to be...

Chatting with the smokers...
I've had some fun conversations today with some really smart people. My fellow coaches are interesting, fun and aware of the world around them. They are also why I've done this for so long, avoiding my real career and what I'm really good at.

Connecting with a concentrated group of smart students...
It sounds kind of corny, but I fully believe that the debaters of today are the leaders of tomorrow. If they actually believed a lot of the arguments they run, where they'll lead us would make me want to 'get off the rock' (leave the planet... never to return, for y'all who aren't debate types). It really isn't the rounds I judge that make me say that, but rather the conversations between rounds that convince me that the future is in good hands with this bunch. As a group, they are energetic problem solvers who are loaded with both brains and compassion.

Putting students into their first competitive intercollegiate rounds...
One student in particular frames this better than any other. D1 had very little high school debate experience when he prompted me to start the team at BNCC. He had loads of talent and is smart as heck, but very limited experience in competition. I took him and Mr.Busy to a small tournament, where they made it to elimination rounds and actually won their first elimination round. I could see in his eyes that he was hooked. Over the next few semesters D1 developed skills and really figured out this debate stuff. He read a lot of philosophical/social criticism and developed his debate skills. Last year he was paired with D2 and had an excellent year. This year he's at another school and in contention for a national titie. I know that by coaching debate, I've changed the direction of his life. That makes me feel good, as well it should.

I really do think that the small and large impacts I've made on peoples lives by coaching debate have been worth the effort. I also think that it is time to end my time coaching and turn those efforts elsewhere, and I'm at peace with that decision.

4 comments:

Addy N. said...

Ah- you must be at UCSD! I went to one of the OTHER SD schools for my Master's. Enjoy your visit there- I love that place! I head for San Francisco tomorrow!

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

no, not UCSD -- think conservative Christian college on the way to the Cabrillo National Monument... Named after the point....

Amazing campus, right on the cliffs.

Shea said...

It's my last year as a coach too (on the high school level). The whole "chatting with the smokers" thing doesn't really apply in my case, but I certainly understand the idea behind it. I've only been coaching for three years, but I know I wouldn't trade it for anything else. :)

Katie said...

Never before in my life have I contemplated not coaching debate, and these are some of the reasons why - though your other post has me a little concerned about that choice. As I get older, I'm beginning to understand why there aren't that many lifers . . . :)