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Missouri officially the 10th best state for debate

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... Or so says the TOC listing here

 

The people who are most shocked by this announcement... debaters and judges in the state of Missouri.

 

Also note that we're currently one up on Kansas.

 

Thanks to Truman, Fort Osage, Greenwood and Pembroke, this has to be the best showing the state's ever had.

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Brad, I know this is a conversation I've had with Thomas, and it may or may not be one I've had with you. Succinctly, I don't feel like debate in Missouri is really as bad as most of us think it is, at least if you look at it comparatively to other regional circuits. Are we behind the curve when it comes to the national circuit? Absolutely. Have I judged a lot of bad rounds this year? Absolutely. Are Illinois and Texas better places to debate? Without question.

 

All of that said, though, when folks assess the state of debate in Missouri, they're making the wrong comparison. Comparing the Missouri circuit to the national circuit, or the circuits in Illinois, Texas, or Georgia (all of which are essentially on the national circuit if not close to it) is comparing apples to some kind of fruit that I'm not familiar with because I rarely eat anything that wasn't once some kind of sentient life form. Setting the debates you'll experience at Kentucky, Montgomery Bell, New Trier or the Glenbrooks as your standard for comparison is a surefire way to make any type of debate not held in the upper echelon of the national circuit suffer by comparison.

 

Were you to compare the regional circuits alongside each other, though, I think you'd begin to see a very different picture begin to develop. Missouri has, by and large, a vibrant local circuit with large schools, large tournaments, and a wide variety of people involved. Sure, much of the debate is stupid, and warrants complaint, but it could still be way, way worse.

 

Shuman has made much longer, better warranted posts about the relative health of debate in Missouri, and if you dig around, you'll find them. Maybe Kansas should be rated higher than MO, but there are fifty really stupid states in the union. You gotta be better than some of them, especially those that are just kind of considered pretty backward.

 

Do I think debate in Missouri needs improvement? Absolutely, but that's consistent with my overall views on debate and the nature of competition. Have I ever believed we were near the bottom? No. You're fooling yourself if you believe that.

Edited by BReid
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I don't believe that I really inferred any of that, if so, I apologize. I was merely remarking that it came as a shock to me that in national rankings Missouri would place so high. When compared with the strong showing that teams like Blue Springs had at nationals, I think it's a sign that Missouri debaters from a diverse range of schools are becoming increasingly competitive both at national and regional levels, which nobody can argue is quite a feat.

 

I think that your post puts a negative spin on what I consider a very positive trend. The fact that we are performing at higher levels on the national circuit should not always be considered some "diss" on local Missouri style. The more time I've spent debating, the more I love debating in front of local judges. We're obviously not Illinois, but our vibrant local circuit is becoming just as vibrant on national levels. Maybe I'm wrong in being excited about it.

 

Everybody loves to peg me as some national circuit elitist, so that's totally fine. Please continue, but I mean no disrespect or sarcasm when I say that I'm quite proud of where Missouri is currently.

Edited by Brad Bolman

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I apologize if my post came across that way, because I certainly don't begrudge you or any of the other Pembroke debaters the wild success you've seen. I'm happy to see Missouri get national recognition. Rather than an irate response to perceived elitism on your part, my post was meant to highlight a lack of surprise. I think this is important given the discussions that have occurred on these boards in the past and the tendency those discussions have to get negative in a hurry.

 

I complain as much as anyone about stupid things tournament directors, judges, or debaters do, and I'm not even competing anymore. Because that kind of irritation is, I think, the norm, it's important to highlight the positives of the circuit, even at times when we hate the circuit. That's where I'm coming from, and I apologize if anything I've written feels like an attack on you.

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Don't forget Barstow, KC Central, Lincoln Prep, Oak Park, Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Marshfield, Liberty, Pattonville, Parkview and Marquette. I think those are all the schools from Missouri who have competed in at least 1 TOC-level tournament this year. My apologies if I forgot anyone.

 

- Miller

Edited by DMiller
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Is this list comprehensive, or limited to Policy debate? Missouri cleaned up the PF tournament at Dowling. For the second year in a row.

 

Also, Miller, Marshfield and Blue Springs South made an appearance at KCKCC.

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The rankings are according to the NDCA's point structure for the Baker Award, and is also the formula used to gain entry to the NDCA Nationals. The particular ranking in question is only directed toward policy.

 

Also, my apologies to BSS and Marshfield.

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We're obviously not Illinois, but our vibrant local circuit is becoming just as vibrant on national levels. Maybe I'm wrong in being excited about it.
As Ben has clarified, he is not begrudging you your excitement. Far from it. And, as something of a Missouri ex-pat myself, I do enjoy seeing some familiar names in those TOC packets...

 

However, while there's nothing wrong with being glad to see Missouri teams showing well at "national circuit" tournaments, we should keep it in perspective: There is ZERO reason for Missouri policy debate to be envious of Illinois in any way. Illinois has double the population of Missouri, but only has three NFL Districts, while Missouri supports five (and could easily support more, but that's a whole 'nother conversation ;)). Illinois sent six (6) policy teams to NFL Nationals last summer (representing just five schools), while Missouri sent fourteen (14) teams (representing 11 schools). It has been this way for some long time; there is no "local circuit" for policy debate in Illinois, because all of the policy programs there have chosen to travel nationally almost exclusively. I'm not sure Illinois even offers policy at its State Tournament anymore, while Missouri's State Tournament is a showcase for the best debate in the state (and I'm sure you know several MSHSAA District events are bloodbaths in policy also)...

 

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course, but you'll never convince me that going 3-3 at Dowling is as impressive an achievement as placing at Parkview, Blue Springs, or Marquette...

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Uhhh....Illinois defenitely has a state tournament that EVERY team goes to-last year quarters were teams that went 6-1, 5-2, 5-2, 4-3, 3-4, 3-4, at the TOC. The JV and novice tournaments are also pretty intense. Local debate does exist.

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Uhhh....Illinois defenitely has a state tournament that EVERY team goes to-last year quarters were teams that went 6-1, 5-2, 5-2, 4-3, 3-4, 3-4, at the TOC. The JV and novice tournaments are also pretty intense. Local debate does exist.
If you scroll down at this link, you'll notice that there aren't all that many policy meets listed under "Debate Contests," and only a couple that have a novice or JV division...

 

When you say that "EVERY team" attends the Illinois State Tournament in policy, I'm not sure what you mean. What I am sure of is that only eleven (11) schools in the entire state of Illinois entered the IHSA policy division last year. I have no doubt that the teams in quarters were TOC teams. They're the only schools who still enter policy at IHSA. Everyone else has given up. Policy is dead as Kelsey's nuts in Illinois except for a half-dozen or so "national circuit" programs still doing it. I would add that Iowa is now much the same (i.e., a barren moonscape for policy where once there was one of the deepest local circuits in the country)...

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When you say that "EVERY team" attends the Illinois State Tournament in policy, I'm not sure what you mean. What I am sure of is that only eleven (11) schools in the entire state of Illinois entered the IHSA policy division last year.

 

To put this into context, policy debate in Illinois is pretty much the Chicago UDL (with about 5 schools going to TOC tournaments and being competitive and a "local circuit" for strictly local teams) and 6 other schools in the Chicagoland area, so 11 is about "every team" . I agree (and it's pretty much fact) that policy in Illinois is the Chicagoland area and nowhere else, but it's arguably the greatest collection of debate talent in the country. If you want to talk about sheer number of participants or NFL districts, Illinois isn't the best, but where policy is it's great.

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