This weekend was the first debate tournament of the season... or, at least the first tournament we traditionally went to.
I miss the classically beautiful SLAC campus. It has a traditional quad, buildings with spires and columns and it just feels like you think a college campus should.
I miss seeing the debate teams all awkward and hopeful. At this point in the seasons they are kind of uncomfortable in their own skins and not worn down by the travel and behind in all of their classes. It is a new year and a whole bunch of experienced debaters have graduated, so there is a kind of competition to see who will replace them on top of the pile.
I miss seeing my friends. The coaches I spent many weekends with have shaped the way I see the world and have been amazing role-models in how to relate to students and colleagues.
I don't miss the drive to their city. I isn't hard, it is just kind of long. During the first hour or two there is decent conversation in the van, but then everyone retreats to their ipods and video games and I'm left to be the chauffeur.
I don't miss the Fairfield Inn. We always stay there because it is cheap.... since it is the first tournament of the year, a basic conservatism made me think we should save the $100.00/night we save by staying there. The problem is that they don't put blankets on their beds and the place is in terrible shape.
I don't miss the stress of sending a team into a round I'm pretty sure they won't win. Sometimes you know that the team they are debating is unusually good, or that their judge is unusually bad. Really, the latter is much worse, because then you have to explain to your brand-new debaters that debate life isn't fair and not everyone actually judges the rounds they see.
I don't miss losing the time the tournament used to take out of my real life. As I sit here, I'm thinking about what I've accomplished this weekend. I finished a paper on Ancient philosophy, I cleaned the apartment and washed laundry. I made two meetings on Friday that I wouldn't have been able to attend if we were traveling and thus I was in on the ground floor of something that will change the college for the better. I saw my mom for a bit when she came to see my new place and I went to the gym. Today I'm going to finish another paper, go shopping and go to the gym. I'd have had time for none of that if I was still coaching debate.