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EvanJones

Reflections On South Dakota Debate - 2011-2012

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This post has been a long time coming, and before I start it I think I need to say that I am no longer connected to any program within South Dakota and that no one should take any fallout from this post except me, and I mean that, no one except me has had an influence in me writing this. The reason I am writing this has to do with YOU, the coaches and judges that have wronged me and SFL throughout my high school debate career. I’ll be honest, if I were to write all the travesties that happened in all four years, it would be a novel and you all know it. I would also like to say that I am not an English major but rather an engineering major, so excuse the bad grammar and specifically the run on sentences.

 

It all began at Washington Warrior, the South Dakota season opener. Me and Bryant were able to escape the prelim rounds undefeated, but to no ones surprise SFL still had to get screwed out of rounds, as CJ and Jackson somehow lost to a team despite the team dropping turns case arguments on a DA. At that point we thought no big deal, but of course the tab room decided to use that to allow SFL to hit itself in the hidden semis. Then was the awards ceremony, where SFL was forbidden to receive the trophies that were rightfully ours, and that was the top three speaker awards. Despite being explicitly told before he handed out the trophies, Mr. Dahle decided to, well, not care about SFL and because of a “tabulation error†during the hidden semis, the tab room decided that it made more sense to give us zero speaker points instead of averaging the points from previous rounds, you know, what every other tournament does. Despite being told that we would eventually be given replacement trophies, I have yet to receive it. IT DID NOT END THERE. Next was the joke of a final round that had all the worst judges in the state assembled. Needless to say, the 5th seed at New Trier and the first South Dakota team to attend the Tournament of Champions in policy debate was defeated on a 2-1. You want to know why? Schlecter (or however you spell that “judges†name) said certain parts of the debate “weren’t a factor†despite it being in every affirmative speech, as if what we say wasn’t important, as it he only flowed what he thought was persuasive, outlining one of the flaws and naive misconceptions of South Dakota that debate is a speaking skills activity, well, it isn’t, it is a game. You can’t just flow the stuff that you think is important, you are PAID to listen to an 8 min constructive, a 5 min rebuttal, and a 3 minute cx. If you don’t do that, you should not be allowed into the activity.

 

That tournament was the reason that SFL withdrew from many South Dakota tournaments, because they are un educational and merely political games against SFL, we realized that even if we shit stomp the other team, it doesn’t matter, because in the end you all didn’t like Kenyon and when he was our coach Ewald. Frankly, I didn’t even understand why me and Bryant were getting the wrath of these judges, I’ve never done anything wrong in debate, and the only reason I found was because I didn’t socialize during tournaments because I was busy prepping, how stuck up it is of me to do that at a debate tournament!? So we went our separate ways from South Dakota and became a historic team without your help, as a squad getting three bids, qualifying to the TOC, Octafinalist at NDCAs and winning CFLs for a second time in a row.

 

We returned to South Dakota to attend the only tournament run with any sort of competency, Fiesta (and notice the correlation with SFL winning nearly every event), and it was fun, closing out finals doing what good teams do. But then I had to turn around and watch Yankton unfold as one of the worst tournaments in…well, Washington, as a TOC bid team (CJ/Jackson) lost rounds and speaker points (seriously, CJ point is not a 27 speaker point speaker, or what he received the last prelim, 20, he is the best South Dakota speaker in the history of South Dakota) meaning that simply because Dahle and Pogany had a personal vendetta (for some reason) against SFL and CJ that he lost rounds on incomprehensible decisions, meaning him and Jackson could not clear.

 

Finally, we have the tournament that was the biggest joke of all, Southern quals. At this point it was getting kinda suspicious of the correlation between SFLs turnout at tournaments and how involved the Washington coaches were. The worst part of quals experience wasn't, in fact, having our teammates who were so deserving being denied the opportunity to compete in Indianapolis (let's be honest here, we had bigger fish to fry, such as being the first SoDak school to qualify a team to the Tournament of Champions, or having our other team finish in the top 16 at NDCA Nationals), it was the way in which we were utterly disrespected by those in the community; the way in which some in the community executed their ineptitude in judging with such gusto. Watching Mallory Schulte walk down the halls of WHS blatantly refusing to answer any questions about her decision in the NFL Qualifying Tournament elimination round she had just judged, in which she voted for a team that never had a winning record at a ToC Tournament, against a team that had a winning record at the ToC; all with a satisfied smirk on her face. Most in the community that i've talked to about Southern Quals also find it suspicious that SFW SP, who hadn't beaten either SFL EP or JY all but once, were able to beat them BOTH, back to back, at a tournament that was hosted by, tabbed by and had the fingerprints of the likes of Travis Dahle all over them. I put my trust in the students of the South Dakota debate community, who watched both rounds and summarily agreed that they were decisive wins for SFL, FAR MORE than i do those who judge and teach them about debate; the figures who are supposed to be educators...to those among this community that have institutionalized the incompetence and politics that manifested itself at so many tournaments this year: i have no respect for you, you sicken me

 

 

So, while most of you have probably stopped reading and have said that I’m an arrogant fool, keep in mind I’m not arrogant if I’m wrong, there are many broad areas to improve South Dakota debate.

 

1. Enough with the politics – This extends far beyond just SFL and I think it happens in about every round where the judge has an idea of who they are going to vote for based only on how the judge feels personally about the team as a whole, that only in the end helps the worse team and represents South Dakota. To reiterate, from what I have observed, this goes FAR BEYOND just SFL, I’m just speaking from the perspective of a debater from SFL debater.

 

2. Debate is not a speaking skills activity, it is a game based on academic research – This one even took me a while to understand, in fact, probably about half way through my senior year when I realized that. If it is solely based upon how one perceives a speaker, it opens up the floodgates to bias and allows judges to justify decisions like “I am a Democrat so when the aff impact turned the Obama Re-election DA with Romney good, I didn’t like that.†To simplify, the alternative to debate being a game is judge intervention. This is not to signal the death of Stock Issues judges or any paradigm for that matter, but it is to allow for how judges decide within that paradigm

 

3. Refine and tell the truth when a team asks you for a paradigm, and stick to what you said – if you don’t like politics, the k or whatever – TELL THE TEAM – many a round have I experienced where the judges says “oh, I’m tabula rosa, I’ll listen to ANYTHING†but then turn around and scoff at us when I went for politics. If you told me before a round you only wanted case debate, I would have LOVED that, but people are fearful of being called out for being biased against positions, that is natural and inevitable, just tell the debaters so no one is disappointed in the round or the results of.

 

4. Bigger tournaments – Even throughout my four years I have seen a drastic decline in the size of the policy pool, and I don’t think it is because PF or whatever, it is because the tournament just doesn’t expand the size of policy outruns. The reason out of state tournaments are so fun is because they break like 32 teams, obviously I understand that is impossible in South Dakota, but there is no reason we couldn’t of broken to full quarters, even if the pool only had 12 teams and to solve judging have one judge in quarters, then return to three in semis. I would rather go to a tournament that had four prelims, a one judge quarters, and semis, and finals. The reason I believe this is better than 5 rounds with hidden semis is because it is EXCITING and allows more participation in out rounds, which thus turns into more motivation by the debates because there is more ability to break. Hell, having a “quarterfinalist – Policy Debate – Watertown fiesta†would motivate anyone to try harder. It also just got repetitious at the end when Brookings and SFL swept semis at every tournament that sfl attended. Frankly, I think part of the allure of PF is that they have more rounds, more debates, and THAT contributes to decline in policy debate, not PF itself, but the tournament favoring it.

 

5. “Out of state debate†shouldn’t be shunned as a dirty phrase – It is necessary to be competitive on the national level, and I don’t just mean NFLs, I mean real tournaments. To have NFLs be the barometer of a debater’s success is ludicrous because of the inconsistency of judging there. I will make the prediction that SD may have good showings at Indy and Birmingham, conservative debate areas, but when Dallas rolls around and the liberal debate judges roll out, the teams with little to no out of state debate experience will not make it past round the 11th. And that was shown in Dallas two years ago, when SFL was the last school left out of some of the teams that were thought to be heavy hitters at that tournament (Props to Watertown HC and Brookings AE, you all were hella good).

 

6. Say no to SDHSSA rules – I have yet to year a legitimate defense of these rules, and frankly the debate community in South Dakota is big enough to make a fracture in it for change. I’m not saying every tournament has to go to Sunday, but wouldn’t it be nice if one of the biggest tournaments, Fiesta maybe, could go to Sunday and the debate community has a big tournament? It could be something coaches use to motivate their debaters to reach for, to be able to compete at fiesta, then maybe after a while SD could get a finals bid to the ToC again. If you can’t travel out of state, bring the competition to you.

 

7. Disclosure is good – If you are going to vote against a team, have the common courtesy to tell them why. Debaters are arrogant and that is something we all have to accept, but if you want better debates, telling the team face to face while they take notes of there own is better than a ballot with barely legible print on it because of it being a carbon copy and judges having to write comments quick as not to miss the next point in a round.

 

I would like to reiterate that the views expressed are NOT to be tied to ANY OTHER person in the SFL squad or my coaches, I just had some stuff that I had to say, at least for me.

 

With that, good luck to all next year.

Edited by EvanJones
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It's weird that a friend sends me a link to a "reflection" of South Dakota debate after I have been removed from it for three years... but, not surprisngly, nothing has changed. I feel like I'm coming out of South Dakota debate retirement.

 

Most of you probably have no idea who I am... I debated for 4 years at Yankton, I am now a third year college debater at Concordia - the necessary caveat, these views are my own and are not relflective of any institution I attend or have attended.

 

It's interesting that a Sioux Falls Lincoln debater accuses the rich history of South Dakota debate as being corrupted with politics and foolery, yes, that's probably true... but accusing as if one is innocent, well, that's a whole other problem. I could retell the many times my partner and I were bullied by several of the coaches at Lincoln (two little high school girls, really?) or the many backhanded comments and actions I received after I worked my ass off to earn my two trips to nationals... but, why is that necessary? It's not. The issue I have with the post above is it's unnecessity... if you hated debate in South Dakota so much, leave and never come back... why tarnish and trash wonderful, respectable, educators when you do it? Your retelling of tales has the usual Lincoln flourish that I'm sure every story ever told has. I'm sure your coaches and hired judges NEVER EVER played politics when they were making their decisions! I can guarantee you, that's false. Count the ballots. Petty politics, always.

 

Your "everyone vs SFL" cry is funny to me, because my senior year, that is EXACTLY how you all wanted it. I remember state, specifically, when you all filed an official complaint in a public forum round, of all things, because a debater's phone vibrated and you said it was "unfair" .... only to hold up the tournament for 2 1/2 hours and yield no change. These are the types of "political games" that SFL has played since... forever. Nah, I'm not hatin' on SFL (although I know your entire team was bred to hate my partner and I), just pointing out a fact.

 

Speaking of my partner - I'll defend her real quick. She and I had long conversations about the round, actually, because it upset her, it was a hard decision for her... but ultimately... she probably made the right one. She's one of the greatest minds SD debate has ever seen... respect goes a longgg way (especially because she was given NO respect by ANYONE from your team when she was a competitor... and I'm sure nothing has changed since she started judging debates).

 

Now, I agree with you on many of your points... yes, South Dakota should break bigger pools, yes, disclosure is a good thing, yes, out of state travel should not be a dirty idea, yes, SDHSAA rules are ridiculous.... but why are those reasons to renounce the activity and the community that even gave you the OPPORTUNITY in the first place to compete at TOC tournaments, to compete at all. You have to look at the positives at least sometimes. You say you got to the TOC "without the help" of South Dakota debate - you're wrong. You're dead wrong.

 

I do, however, want to address your reiteration of the Southern District Qualifying tournament. I, to be frank, find it DISGUSTING that you would degrade your competitors like that. Last time I checked, Jordan and Katlyn were in the semifinal round at NFLs. And you think they weren't "good enough" to beat Sioux Falls Lincoln? Reality check, man. They clearly were doing something right if they convinced countless judges from across the country that they were winning debates (and might I remind you, "out round" judges at NFLs are oftentimes some of the most highly preffed judges in the country). Have a little respect for your PEERS. Debaters are few and far between, we're weirdos... we have to stick together. Dragging your competitors names through the mud makes you look petty and childish. Grow up.

 

Your disprespect for coaches is also deplorable. Travis Dahle is probably one of the most fair and wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and being educated by... ya know bud, I'm sorry you lost, but eventually, you gotta own up to it... it's not always the judge's fault. (And I'm a debater, too. It took me a really long time to come to terms with the fact that yes, I can in fact lose debates).

 

Now, I have no idea about the specifics of some of your complaints - so I'm not going to address them, but I did feel the need to address the overarching tone of your post... disrespectful, childish, and a bit pathetic, given you've graduated. I see that you plan on attending UMKC...great coaches, great debaters, hopefully we can have a conversation about this... I'm always pro-dialogue, and I'm pretty sure I'll be competing at the UMKC college tournament (if you're debating, that is).

 

And just a quick note on the bottom - I'm open to talking to any South Dakota debater, at any time, about anything (especially debating in college - it's the best choice I ever made). I loved my South Dakota debate career, it gave me so much, it gave me the tools necessary to go to the NDT in college, and win speaker awards at countless college tournaments. It opened up a door to something I've dedicated my life to. It makes me really sad when people blatantly disrepespect such a valuable activity, that's really the only reason I felt compelled to post on a high school debate forum.

 

I'm not looking to fight. I'm not looking to argue. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or trying to attack anyone.

 

Talk to me personally if you have beef with me or what I said. People probably do. Que sera sera.

 

Best,

Emily

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James,

 

I am not 100% sure about us being the first team to qualify, there may have been some old teams that were invited back when if first started and didn’t have the bid system, but I am fairly sure that we were the first, and if we weren’t, we were the first in a very, very long time.

 

 

Emily,

 

I’ll concede the petty politics isn’t uniquely anti-SFL and that SFL partook in it just as much as any other school, but this past year was an all time low. To say that you experienced the same amount of political pettiness as the SFL squad this year did is silly. Seriously, at Warrior we were not given the trophies that we deserved despite our coach telling the tab room that there was a mistake, if there is one thing that is messed up, it is that. Everyone has gotten screwed out of rounds in South Dakota because of petty politics; SFL is the only school to be refused trophies because of it. Furthermore, being voted down is one thing, but getting 24 speaker points to boot is the kick in the pants that is unjustifiable for speeches that were not racist/sexist/____ist. I’m taking the opportunity of not being tied to a SD program anymore to tarnish there name to point it out. At the very least, SFL was one-sidedly targeted this year which at the very least led to decisions that were not fair to us. Saying that just because you hated something means you should just put it behind you and say nothing more is wrong, if you were wronged you should be allowed to talk about it without people saying it is unnecessary. As for the State fiasco, I wasn’t there and thankfully never had to experience the tomfoolery that is the South Dakota State Debate Tournament, but just on face if it took 2.5 hours to hash out, it was probably more serious then you are playing it as.

 

As for Mallory, you were not there to witness her attitude after handing in her RFD. To vote down a team in a round that could have been there last, and not answer a single question as to why we lost her ballot or what we could of done to get her to vote for us is…well, just wrong, and not to mention Larson bolt out of the building, that isn’t “wonderful, respectable†or educational, that is actually quite the opposite. This attitude isn’t just about Mallory; it is summative of the majority of the SD judging community and their lack of willingness to defend their decisions. Even if you think our coaches are confrontational, how can there be any justification to apply that to their debaters.

 

No, South Dakota was not behind us our road to the TOC, in fact, not only were they not helpful, they were counterproductive the entire way. Like, I don’t think this needs to a big point, cause I can’t think of a reasons why SD helped us, it isn’t like Roosevelt or any other school cut us politics updates before any tournament.

 

As for our fellow competitors, the proof is in the pudding that we were substantially better than them, not to say that they we’re bad, but SFL was historically good this year, no other policy squad in SD can claim three TOC bids in one season. Simple tournament by tournament analysis also supports this. For example at Dowling while SFL broke three teams into out rounds of varsity policy SFW went 2-4. CFL also supports this where SFLs top two teams where quarter finalists and the champions, whereas SFW once again didn’t break. As for NFLs, it is a crap shoot, and most people know this, the judging is inconsistent, while you have debate legends judging, you also have judges who say before the round “I don’t know why I am judging this activity; I have never been introduced to it before.†Like I said, a tournament without MPJ and that does not break on a bracket should not be the barometer for success as it is more of a game of luck than anything else.

 

As for Mr. Dahle, my grievances have been explained above. For “me not accepting I lost†that wasn’t the point of the post, it was the attitude of certain judges who were disrespectful to us when we did. Like I said, this past year we had bigger fish to fry then NFLs, hell, congrats to Washington and Brookings, it is super cool that SD had three teams in the top eight, my grievances was how my squad and I were treated during the regular season and the qualifying tournament that were explained in the first post. I’m saying the disrespect that was received from almost all of SD was wrong.

 

Finally, they way you describe my post may be true, but those are also fabulous descriptors for the final two rounds at the qualifying tournament and the judges after the rounds, some who literally got out of the building as soon as they could.

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Given the personal nature of this topic, I'll try to be brief.

 

I'm Tony Welter, also from SFL, and I wanted to use my perspective as an LDer to shed some light on this whole issue aside from SFL's place in policy debate.

 

I've had my four years of experience in the SD debate community so although I may not share the same experiences as you both, I've been a part of the recent community for a good chunk of time.

 

I'm not saying I agree or disagree with anything that Evan is saying. I wouldn't feel like I knew enough about the policy community to do so because I haven't been a policy debater for the last two years. I was, however, still a member of SFL debate.

 

Emily, in your response to Evan you jumped to this whole mindset of SFL as an entire entity bringing this conflict upon themselves to some degree by behaving this way.

 

What did I ever do? What did Lincoln LD ever do?

 

Throughout my four years of debate, LD especially, I always put up an honest effort to be friendly, whether it was at tournaments, on bus rides, or at camp. At the start of many LD rounds over the course of these two years, my opponent and I would usually just chat like friends. In fact, I ended up making a few friends within the community, and those who didn't necessarily become my friends still shared the same friendly attitude.

 

Despite all of this, the common element in far too many of these encounters was debaters, and I mean any debaters grades 9-12, many different schools, and people who I'd never even heard of in the community before, all telling me at some point something along the lines of them being told not to associate with Lincoln, that Lincoln debaters historically think they're too good for this debate, and that Lincoln debaters are jerks.

 

Look, I get it. There have been Lincoln debaters and even coaches in the past that have acted this way. I understand that you think Evan's post is probably ridiculous. What I don't understand is why the actions of these people becomes your perception of the entirety of SFL debate.

 

This is why it's difficult for individual debaters to shatter that image of Lincoln, because people seemed to already be under the impression that all Lincoln debaters, not just any that have acted out, are deserving of some sort of preemptive adversity.

 

Assuming what I'm saying is true, what's to be done, anyways?

 

Just drop it.

Maybe Lincoln brought it on themselves for the most part, maybe it was bias fueled by other parts of the community. Maybe Evan's arrogant for posting this, or maybe he's deserving of some sort of closure. It doesn't matter. I'm not saying you have to like or agree with Evan, Kenyon, or me, but this whole conflict needs to end.

 

Lincoln has new coaching and plenty of new debaters, so if everything you're claiming about the origin of the SFL attitude is true, it's doubtful that this attitude will continue under the new program.

 

After my four years, I understand that there are definitely grudges and bitterness among plenty of people, but there's no reason why that ought to even exist at this point, much less affect the newer debaters. And that's not just aimed at any one person, the guilty are on both sides of the conflict.

 

Can we stop pretending, though, like this conflict and these grudges have helped anyone in any way whatsoever in the community?

 

I'm either going to make some headway here or manage to piss everyone off simultaneously, but just get over your own vendettas already so we can ensure a debate community with integrity for the sake of others.

 

That being said, don't think I've forgotten those who have helped me along the way either. There's a reason why it's still a community worth competing in. I'd hate to see that change because of some petty conflict and past injustices.

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(I am not associated with my school either. In fact, it's probably safe to say that my school will generally defend opinions opposite mine. I don't mind, each to their own.)

Your message is undermined by the fact that you come across as hugely arrogant, which is one of the reasons (other) people tend to resent SFL. You're not writing this because you want to improve the quality of debate in this state so much as because you're mad that you personally got screwed over. Going off on a huge rant about this is relieving, I know, but maybe not the best tactic.

It would be perhaps desirable if points #1-7 were implemented statewide, but that's insanely utopian fiat. You can't seriously expect people to just roll over and listen to you because you wrote an angry post on cross-x.com. We should focus on simpler actions that are within the scope of our actual agency, and we should work to improve the overall culture and relationships between different schools by being polite and benign and by telling novices to make friends, etc. whatever, just as long as it's done in a positive way as opposed to calling people out personally on the internet.

Now that you're done with that, do you have any pragmatic ideas about how we could team up and become super duper all-stars who save the state from its insular conservativism, while still retaining its uniqueness and the good aspects of its debate heritage (this would be a good idea both because it would allow for pragmatic compromise and because I genuinely think that some aspects of SD debate are superior to circuit, although I believe circuit is on the whole superior)?

A few ideas:

1. SD debate camps seem to be really low quality. Would attending them as a lab leader help?

2. SD judging is completely messed up. We, personally, can judge things, but that's a drop in the bucket. Is there a way that we can get existing judges to be more accountable for their decisions in the eyes of other judges, can we get obviously biased decisions to result in stigmatization and removal from the judging pool? Can we somehow have an honest and polite discussion with existing judges about what we don't like about their policies (and NOT a one sided discussion or an attempt to embarrass people publicly) and what they don't like about ours? I feel like the last option is the best, I'm just unsure of how anyone would go about approaching it from a logistical standpoint.

3. I've been of the opinion for a long time that if SD schools started cooperating more on things, or at least being less hostile, we'd do better nationally and also enjoy ourselves more. We need to get rid of the stupid rivalries that exist between schools like Watertown and Aberdeen and Brookings and Sioux Falls. Our focus throughout the year should be on helping SD as a whole to win the NFLs (mentioned here because it is the most popular tournament in SD, and that won't change anytime soon, nor does it need to). When debaters talk to each other about arguments, they get better a lot faster. Collaboration, or even simple discussion, between schools causes knowledge to proliferate and friendships to form, both of which are good.

Friendships and discussions of course do happen, but I think there's lots of room for improvement here.

4. I have no real idea how to deal with tab rooms screwing you over, except to say that it won't happen if the community as a whole has got your back. If people liked and respected you as a competitor, then you would have had the clout to challenge evil tab room decisions, or to deter them in the first place. When you go all elitist, you guarantee that your message will be somewhat justifiably dismissed by the rest of the state, and that no one will like you. If you want people to treat you fairly, then you need to start coming across as less of an asshole. Really, all your initial post did is reinforce the problem that got you into this situation. Now it's time for you to start working on actual solutions instead of angry rants.

Aside from the SF specific stuff, I dealt with all of the same problems as you. Don't think of me as opposing you, I'm really just trying to fix this. It upset me just as much as it upset you, I think. But just because I personally was upset, that wouldn't justify getting extremely worked up about this and naming names.

Reasons why SF(L) is resented (this is a descriptive list, not an endorsement or defense of these positions):

1. You guys are less traditional, that's bad. (lolz)
2. You guys are big and have money, that causes resentment.
3. You guys tend to stick together a lot, and not to disperse and talk with other kids. This one is a big one.
4. The actions of individual debaters. I think Tony was awesome, I debated him once. Kenyon was my favorite policy judge. Everyone else in SFL pretty much never talked to me, or came across as arrogant jerks if they did. I'm sure most of you aren't arrogant jerks, but when most of you also don't talk to anyone else, the arrogant ones stand out a lot more.
5. You guys left the state pretty much entirely last year. People perceived that as elitism.
6. It's become a meme to complain about SF. All the schools do it, and so it's perceived as true.
7. Resentment from losses is honestly probably a factor, let's be realistic here.
8. Positive feedback cycles. Getting attacked from the outside makes SF more insular, ruder, etc. Getting screwed by judges increases the probability that SF kids will also judge based on petty politics. Getting insulted or humiliated by a kid or judge from SF is going to manifest itself in similarly bad behavior.


None of this is meant to blame. Blaming is not a solution. It's meant to be diagnostic so problems can be resolved.

Edit: Removed some identifying personal information. If I were going to substantively revise my past posts I would have gotten rid of all the "lolz" I apparently liked back then.

Edited by Fnord
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I've been thinking about this some more and what seems to be central to this entire "ordeal" is the fact that almost everyone involved seems to see it completely differently.

 

I haven't been a part of SFL Policy for the past two years so I can't say that I completely understand each experience that Evan is referring to. I've been a part of Lincoln LD, though, so I've certainly shared some perspective, but because I wasn't invested as much in policy as they were, I was stuck outside looking in no matter how many times I tried to put myself in their shoes. It's a similar dilemma that exists when I try to view this whole attitude from / toward SFL through the eyes of debaters from other schools. I'm not a part of your squad, I've never seen someone like Evan as genuine opponent.

 

This why the whole problem has existed, at least that's how I see it. When there's so much assuming going on from either party, everything becomes offensive.

 

Wow, look at SFL, they do nothing but complain about SD tournaments. Why do they even attend?

 

Wow, look at SFL, they don't even attend many SD tournaments anymore. Do they think they're better than us?

 

Wow, look at this SFL debater, using all this circuit crap to win round.

 

Wow, look at this SFL debater, pretending he's traditional. We all know he's a circuit debater.

 

 

I'm not saying I've heard people saying these things, but rather i'm trying to illustrate that when someone's predisposed against you or just the assumption is that you're arrogant, everything you do is offensive.

 

To be honest, I just did my best to pretend that this attitude didn't exist and I went about my business, but new debaters from ANY school shouldn't have to rise above some sort of stereotype like this simply to be level with everyone else.

 

Like I said, with any luck, it will end with the new program; however, I'd still be incredibly eager to do anything that would, forgive the cliche, rebuild a bridge within the community because, as I said, the conflict has been nothing but harmful. The problem is that I'm not at all sure of what this effort would be.

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Cross-X is intergrated with facebook now! I miss the old forums where it seemed like Kerpen invented the internet.

 

(A facebook link lead me here)

 

The purpose of this post was only to make a post......I haven't done so in at least a year.

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Evan,

 

As a long-time judge and one-time coach and debater, I figured I might make a few small comments. First and foremost, congratulations on your bid to the TOC. It is a great accomplishment and should be praised. The history of debate here is long and storied, and you and Bryant added considerably to that history.

 

I find it curious that you deride the "politics" of South Dakota debate without mentioning the politics that goes on at the National Circuit level. It has been a long road for South Dakota teams to get a level of respect at those tournaments, and -- not to diminish in any way your accomplishment -- you have been the beneficiary of the trail blazed by those before you. Even so, I agree with you that there is vastly too much politics in debate, at every level. When coaching, I knew which judges my teams would not and could not get a ballot out of. But, I always reminded my teams (and myself a lot of the time) that you can only debate the round as best you know. Sometimes rounds, like life, just aren't fair.

 

Strangely enough, the whole perception that a particular team may have about a judge can impact how they debate in front of that judge. Over the years, I've judged any number of teams that I, personally, thought were amazing but who had a very difficult time getting a ballot out of me. In seemingly every round I had with them, I could sense their apprehension and then watch -- with a certain amount of horror, I might add -- as they completely fell apart. Some have even called me names, but that happens. As a judge, you deal with it.

 

Your arguments and complaints are hardly novel, however. Every few years, a debater writes one of these essays. The same arguments are laid out, like set pieces in a play, and pushed with righteous furror. And, that's fine. We do need to be reminded of the issues and imperfections with the activity. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to sit back and spew fire at everyone who doesn't match your "purity"? Or, are you going to try and be a productive member of the community by judging as fairly -- and honestly -- as you can?

 

That's been the problem in the past with people who make these kinds of posts. They decry all these perceived injustices in other judges, but then they become a caricature of exactly that same kind of judge they railed against in the first place. If you have knowledge, share it. Be the kind of judge that you want to see. Judge the rounds fairly, honestly, and with integrity. Will every judge do that? Nope, but you can do your best to make sure that you add positively to the activity.

 

Regarding your comment that debate is not a speaking skills activity, what is it then? You argue that it is a game. Yet, you complain about judges not conforming to a particular paradigm that you happen to enjoy? If it really is a game, you know that the dynamics of the game can change. The judge provides that dynamic. If you really want to play the game to win, would you not want to adjust your play style to accomdate the dynamics of each round? You adjust your play style for any number of other games: tennis, chess, cards, etc..., why wouldn't you want to adjust in debate (if it were a game)? And, if the activity wasn't, at some level, a speaking skills activity, why have speeches at all? Why not just pass your briefs to the judge at the beginning of the round and wait it out. Also, if debate shouldn't be about speaking skills, why would you be upset at not getting a trophy for best "speaker"?

 

I find it somewhat ironic that you dismiss various paradigm choices by expressing a very definite and clear paradigm preference of your own. You may feel that yours is the only legitimate one, but, lest you forget, there are others who think yours is just as illegitimate. Who's to say who is right?

 

The reality is that debate is a both a game and a speaking skills activity. There is mental strategy and effort involved, to be sure, but a debater must be able to convey the fruits of that labor cogently and effectively to the judge. Do I agree with everyone's paradigmatic choices? Nope. But, I know that to win the round, sometimes we have to adapt.

 

And, I agree with you, folks always want to say what they're not. I never claim to be "tab ras." I pointedly never utter those words. I try to be open minded and vote for what folks tell me to vote for. I like T; I'm none to fond of K's (but I'll listen to them and vote on them if you've won them); and, I'm game for jurisdictional or rule arguments. I think speed is a great tool and asset, but clarity of thought and speech are great assets too. As I've said any number of times to folks in front of me, "Just because you have the keys to the Ferrari doesn't mean you should take it for a spin." Do a lot of judges choose a "sexy" paradigm to tell people and then not follow it? Sure. Happens all the time. But, you should not have to ask your judge for his/her paradigm. You should know it before you even get in the room. And, if it's a new judge, there are ways of discovering his/her preferences without blurting the ham-handed "what's your paradigm?"

 

Like you, I wish we could get bigger tournaments. Without belaboring the point, I think it would be great for the activity and for our debaters. However, the activity this last decade has been squeezed by any number of pressures which has shrunk it.

 

I agree that "out of state" debate is important. You do need to be challenged by teams at all levels and with different styles. That being said, we are a part of a statewide activity, and we do owe it to our fellow debaters here to participate here. I find it odd that you would, with one point, bemoan the fact that our tournaments are too small, but then -- with the very next point -- speak to the virtue of intentionally making in-state tournaments smaller so you can debate somewhere else. Fairly hypocritical, I must say.

 

I have my complaints with SDHSAA. I choose not to voice them here.

 

Frankly, one of my favorite aspects of circuit tournaments is disclosure. I think that ballots do a far too inadequate job of expressing how the round went. If I had my way, every round would have speed ballots, regular ballots, and a certain amount of time allocated to give a thoughtful critique to the debaters. I've made it a point to always say to people that they can talk to me anytime about a round, and I mean it! I love this activity. I don't have to be involved with it, but I choose to because I believe speech and debate is important.

 

Basically, I agree with a fair amount of what you said, Evan. Do I agree with your tone and defensiveness, absolutely not. But, you make a number of good and valid points. As I noted above, the question is now, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to be a part of the solution and help the activity by being involved in a productive way? Or, are you going to be part of the problem, either through sheer apathy or by becoming as rigid and judgmental as those you perceive as ruining the activity? I hope for the former.

 

I realize this is a bit rambling, but I only had a few minutes while I was waiting for some briefing to arrive at my desk.

 

Bob Trzynka

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Obviously Tryzynka is Tryzynka and thus I have nothing but respect for him.

 

I'd like to address the bit on judge intervention though. I disagree with the approach that he takes to it.

 

Regarding your comment that debate is not a speaking skills activity, what is it then? You argue that it is a game.

 

This part is just for clarification. I don't know what Evan personally wants, but I'll defend a model where debate is basically a game except that there are certain minimal constraints on what can and cannot be done. And, just to simplify this discussion, let's further stipulate that the rules of the game only allow for topical policy affirmatives and directly relevant policy negatives. That differs from my own actual paradigm, but I'd prefer to restrict the discussion to these areas so that we don't end up bogged down in any tangents.

 

Yet, you complain about judges not conforming to a particular paradigm that you happen to enjoy? If it really is a game, you know that the dynamics of the game can change. The judge provides that dynamic. If you really want to play the game to win, would you not want to adjust your play style to accomdate the dynamics of each round? You adjust your play style for any number of other games: tennis, chess, cards, etc..., why wouldn't you want to adjust in debate (if it were a game)?

...

I find it somewhat ironic that you dismiss various paradigm choices by expressing a very definite and clear paradigm preference of your own. You may feel that yours is the only legitimate one, but, lest you forget, there are others who think yours is just as illegitimate. Who's to say who is right?

 

To a certain extent, I still agree with this. I believe that judge adaptation is a valuable skill. However, I think many of the benefits of judge adaptation are functionally inevitable. Paradigms will remain sufficiently diverse even if each judge attempts to pursue an objectively fair and educational judging philosophy both because of human error and because different people will think differently about issues based on the different experiences that they will have had in debate. Even circuit judges have a hugely diverse set of argumentative preferences.

 

That judges have disagreements with each other does not mean that all judges are created equal. Certain paradigms emphasize particular skills, and use particular mechanisms to evaluate those skills. This means that some paradigms will generate more educational, and perhaps fairer, debates, while some will be more likely to generate unfair or uneducational forms of debate. Although the judge is the final arbiter of the debate round, we can address the way that the judge behaves through out-of-round mechanisms. We should, as a culture, encourage judges to use paradigms that maximize both education and fairness.

 

I think that addresses this portion of Mr. Tryzynka's argument sufficiently. Although I want to discuss what makes a good paradigm in a more specific sense now, I don't believe that Tryzynka advocates doing anything other than attempting to minimize bias and judge involvement in the debate. I might be wrong on that, but the above post at least doesn't seem to advocate intervention in any way.

 

I think that intervention, although inevitable, ought to be minimized. We should support paradigms that attempt to minimize intervention, and should criticize those that require it or encourage it. Although the judge has ultimate control over each specific debate round, judges have a responsibility to try to use the best paradigm that they can, and as a debate culture we should criticize flawed judging philosophies when we see them so that the quality of debate improves.

 

Reasons that I dislike intervention:

 

1. It's inherently unpredictable. We already have flawed paradigm disclosure practices, but even if judges gave perfectly objective and consistent answers to this question every time we'd run into some insurmountable difficulties. There simply isn't enough time for judges to disclose their opinions on each and every theoretical and philosophical and political issue that could appear in the debate. Even the use of background knowledge on a given subject radically changes the way the debate functions, because debaters have no way of knowing what books you've read or what news programs you've watched or what rallies you've attended over the course of your entire life, nor should they be expected to learn or adapt to this information. When debaters aren't able to anticipate the way that the round will be evaluated they're left unable to adapt even theoretically, and the debate becomes less fair and less educational because students aren't rewarded for what they do bring to the debate but are punished for what they cannot.

 

2. It serves as a mask for personal bias and incompetence. There's currently no way to distinguish whether a decision was made because a judge didn't like you or because he didn't like your argument aside from relying on the judge's word. But people are petty and based on anecdotes I've heard and experiences I've had it seems like there's probably cases where judges invent certain opinions or assumptions into their philosophy in order to justify voting a specific team down, or to conceal their confusion on a certain issue. When judges are expected to appeal to logical argumentation in order to justify their decision, as opposed to personal preference, these issues are certainly not eliminated, but their extent is severely restricted.

 

3. It's less fun and less educational. When debaters are entirely or almost entirely in control of their success or failure, debate becomes much more meaningful to them in a personal sense. Even if intervention was somehow predictable, it still obscures the underlying cognitive processes that the judge appeals to when determining his decision. That results in a dramatic disconnect from the knowledge and action of the debater and the outcome of the round, which greatly reduces the emotional intensity of the debate round and its outcome. It also means that debaters' aren't learning how to actually reach conclusions in a logical sense, only how to appeal to certain concepts that others have. If investigation stops before we analyze why a certain principle justifies making a certain decision, we miss a huge opportunity for gaining knowledge or interrogating certain assumptions. That's bad because decision making is in my opinion the most important skill that debate has to offer.

 

*Gendered language doesn't mean that I hate wymyn, just that I like old-school aesthetics.*

 

when someone's predisposed against you or just the assumption is that you're arrogant, everything you do is offensive.

 

True, I don't disagree. But my point was that Sioux Falls does have options available to it; it's not nearly so bad that the bias overwhelms everything. I know you can't stop the bias entirely on your own, but you can create the conditions where it's more likely to get better. By engaging more with other schools and making an effort to be nice (like you've done) you'll make it easier for other schools to start to get along with you. Other people also need to change, but if SFL doesn't make some effort as well then we'll never see this situation get better.

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To everyone,

 

I think all of you are missing the point that what has happened to SFL throughout the year has been messed up, this goes beyond regular SD debate politics to just not giving us trophies that we earned. I think the reason no one has responded to this is simply because you all know it was wrong and then you all just sat there with smirks on your face as three debaters didn’t get what they earned. The fact that this has been absent from discussion is puzzling.

 

Chaos,

 

I may be arrogant, but at least I’m right. I’ll agree, all of my points will never be adopted by every judge, but if they are by a couple, then I think debate as a whole will be better simply because we will have judges that are better willing to vocalize what they want the debate round to be, and then let the debaters do that instead of everyone being in the dark. To say that I don’t want to improve the quality of debate in this state is also just flat out wrong, yeah I may be venting while I do it, but that shouldn’t mean complete rejection of true arguments.

 

 

You say that we need to retain the good aspects of SD debate, but before we have a discussion of how to keep them you need to tell me what they are, otherwise it will get nowhere. In general though the type of debate I outlined in my several points is the definition of inclusive, and I don’t see how what I said would mean the death of South Dakota debate heritage.

 

You want me to work at debate camps? They don’t want me or anything to do with SFL, the whole philosophy of the SDSU debate camp is that you don’t need to go out of state to get a good experience. Just in general it having a lab leader whose experience is primarily out of state debate goes against the grain. This is especially true when you take into account that Kenyon and Ewald damn near begged to help out at SDSU, what happened? They got rejected and had to head south to the NDI. SFL has always tried to be a part of SD debate and making it better, you all just don’t want to see us do it.

 

You say better judge accountable would be great, but how do we get there. It is called disclosure and it is the best thing in the world in terms of increasing education in debate and for judge accountability. Instead of being able to hide behind the ballot and say “I don’t need to talk to you, it is all there†(when in reality the answers to our questions are not) judges and tournaments need to be more accepting of the idea that disclosure is net beneficial, I honestly think this is a no brainer, I haven’t heard a reason as to why this is bad.

 

While I’d say winning NFLs shouldn’t be the main goal of SD debate (that is a whole other debate that I’d rather not get into) You all still need to stop being political about everything. Take the fact that we are more of a circuit school and use us as a tool, instead you all disrespect us at tournaments, I feel like the ball on this point is in your court, especially because the focus of my post was that you all are being disrespectful of us. I never said cooperation was bad.

 

Your arguments how the tab room is allowed to screw me over because I’m not liked is also silly. That was literally the first tournament of the year and I had done nothing except have the letters “SFL†before the letters “JY†on pairings. So I issue this challenge to the debate community of SD, besides this post when have I been an ass (my anti-social-ness at tournaments will be answered below). My argument here is that I was put into this self fulfilling prophecy of being a “mean sfl debater†by no fault of mine.

 

As for the list of reasons as to why SFL is hated I’ll answer these with a couple of points.

1 – Yeah, we do National Circuit debate, what of it? This being a reason to hate us amounts to nothing more than petty jealousy. It is not like we come back to South Dakota, go full speed and read multiple conditional worlds. I don’t think there is a judge in South Dakota that ways we do not make an effort to adapt to the type of debate they want to hear. Furthermore that should be a reason to like us, to say that Brookings or SFW could have done as well at NFLs without having their target beating better then SFL and riding behind us the rest of the season?

2 – Money. We don’t have it. The only difference between SFL and the rest of the schools in South Dakota is that we decide to use the money that we have differently. One example of this is the Aberdeen tournament. Why do you expect us to go to this tournament when for the same price we can go to let’s say Blake, be guaranteed more rounds, have more diverse competition and judging, and to top it all of the possibility of a TOC bid. This isn’t to say that we abandon South Dakota, it is just to say that because of our love of debate as a whole, we will choose the option that lets us do it most. Just on face we have just as much funding as any SF school (it is almost like we are in the same school district!!!!). To say that we weren’t present in SD is silly, we went to every second semester tournament and only missed a couple first semester. Furthermore you can’t call us elitist and then turn around and say that because we don’t attend a certain tournament that we must be shunned, that, is the real definition of elitism. We left the state as a result of how we were treated in SD too.

3 – We’re mean! – Nope, we’re competitive in nature. Just because we decide to use our time at tournaments coming up with new strats and cut more updates for politics ect doesn’t mean we are anti-socal/elitist/ what have you…it just means we want to win because winning is awesome. I promise that if we were all at a party all the SFL kids would get together and not talk to anyone else, I promise we would be nice. Frankly, we are also nice during debate, but just to people who believe in how competitive we should be during it, ask any of SFLs out of state friends like Nebraska, we’re pretty cool dudes.

4 – Positive feed back cycles – I think you even agree that these are not our fault solely, so to blame stuff like this on us is silly.

 

Choas, also, don’t post, you shouldn’t be allowed to post under the fog of animinity(sp?). You may disagree with what I’m saying, but at least I have the ca hones to put a name to the post.

 

Mr. Trzynka,

 

 

While I am glad to add to the history of South Dakota debate, South Dakota, excluding previous SFL debaters like Ben and Ian, did not play any sort of a role in my motivations in putting in the work at being not just a force on the South Dakota circuit, but a force on the national circuit. If anything I have felt as if the whole of South Dakota debate tried to drag us back to South Dakota and also downplayed the success of us. To be frank, you are one of maybe three people to give us a congrats on going to the TOC (thanks by the way).

 

Yeah, debate sometimes doesn’t seem fair, but the only times I’ve felt that way out of state was more of a resources thing, for example many outrounds at tourneys Kenyon was having to coach two teams to while other teams had at least a coach per team. To say that there is no politics on any debate circuit is true, but on the national circuit it is not nearly as noticeable, why? Because after the round the judge has to disclose and tell the team why they lost, not run out of the room, ignore questions about the round, and at the same time tear up flows like all of SFL experienced at quals. In circuit debate there is a check on politics whereas in South Dakota we almost seemingly have protections against it.

 

The difference between me and other posts that have happened on CX is that unlike Denver or whoever, the only reason people thought I was a jackass was because I was from SFL, nothing else. I could understand people saying that what I got was deserved if I was a massive dick, didn’t adapt, and purposely pissed off judges, but I have never done any of that in my HS debate career. Frankly even before this post I wouldn’t be accepted into the community as a judge just because I was a dirty out of state SFL debater, for example Kenyon just started to get varsity rounds in state despite him being a fairly well preffed judge on the circuit. Yankton is a personal example where I was judging novice because Bryant had all state band. Later I found out that while I judged two rounds, other people like Brookings people who only did debate for a year and never had the success that I did (by yankton I had two bids) but were judging all five prelims, including JV rounds. Just adding to the fact that, while SFL only wants to help the SD circuit become better, you all (not targeted towards you, Bob) won’t let us.

 

As for debate being a speaking skills activity, I should clarify, it is a game with speaking skills as a focus. The way I say judges should change are not whatsoever targeted towards changing their paradigm, but rather for them to be more vocal/specific as to what they are, and at the same time being able to defend their decision as a judge. I’m not saying a judge who is a stock issues judge should leave the debate, I’m saying they should just be vocal about how they feel about debate. If a judge said at the beginning of a round “im stock issues†then after the round voted on a solvency argument, answering specific questions as to why they didn’t evaluate aff answers, I’d be fine with that, the thing is, we don’t have that though. I agree completely that we need to adapt to the jugde, and ill agree that is the biggest part of the game, but a lot of times judges are very brief on the paradigm. Questions after the round also aren’t solely for wondering how the decision of the round was decided, but also to add upon the judges paradigm in our head. Nearly every judge that disclosed to Bryant and I, we would have several questions along the lines of “how did you feel about X argument†You have speeches as a part of the rules of debate, that is one of the few rules that needs to be followed, and as for just passing briefs, time limits, that would destroy it, and at the same time could never be written within the prep time. Speaker awards are also just individual debater awards, how well was the person at playing the game, yeah being persuasive helps, but usually most judges just decided it on strategic vision and cx abilities.

 

As for tournaments, outside pressures shouldn’t be a reason to retreat, it should be a reason to expand to try and gain more influence. There is no reason a lot of tournaments couldn’t squeeze in another prelim and another outround, time wise.

 

While sometimes out of state debate trades off with in state debate, for the most part it is not mutually exclusive. There were plenty of tournaments we could of gone too besides Fiesta/Yankton/Quals, but we decided to stay, as for the ones that we ditched out on, we didn’t go because of historically being run poorly and at the same time have even fewer debate rounds then usual. If some South Dakota tournaments go away but all the schools that would have gone go to out of state, not only would this allow more rounds, but it would also probably help SD end a lot of its politics, the reason we have an abnormal amount is out ragous and probably because the same people debate EVERY DAMNED WEEKEND. How many times was finals or outrounds in general this year SFL vs. Bookings, about every one! That usually doesn’t foster cooperation, that fosters hostilities.

 

About SDHSAA, you are probably right, but keep in mind this is my only forum to talk about it, and possibly reach a coach about it.

 

Finally, I’m saying that even before this post, most programs would shun me away from helping their debate team and would view me as just another SFL/Kenyon minion (even though I personally don’t think Kenyon is a bad guy, if you look at his actions, EVERY SINGLE ONE was him purely looking out for his debaters that just got screwed, he might have handled it a bit better, but in reality, it was the only thing a good coach would do, and is shown by SFL debaters being top of competition at any tournament in SD, seriously, he is the only coach to be a two time defending champion in policy debate at a national tournament, and has the only SD toc team in the history of, you all need to show some respect for him.) this post was designed to say that, someone down the line a long ways wronged someone (maybe sfl, maybe not) but now, with people who where completely removed from the wrong doing are taking the blame, and getting screwed by judges, it is wrong, and it does need to stop, because as I said earlier, more deserving teams are losing rounds and frankly not knowing why.

 

Just want to re-iterate that I have been wronged out of trophies, and Dahle and everyone else should answer to the stuff that they have done. It doesn’t need to be on a CX spat, but It should be something public, because he wronged us right in an awards ceremony at the first SD tournament. Then continued up on it at quals.

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I usually have a rule about not posting, but since Evan seems to think I have a personal vendetta against him and any response should "be something public" here it is.

 

First, I did screw up at my tournament. However, to imply that it was anything but unintentional and a computer error is wrong. When the awards started and Mr. Kenyon came down to speak to me he asked about the numbers, I said this is what we have, but let me look after awards and talk to him then. After awards happened and the final rounds got going, we checked the computers and then discovered our error - that you AND Jackson AND CJ (I think it was you three, I would have to double-check) were excluded from receiving your rightfully won speaker awards. I personally apologized to both Kenyon and Martinet because I felt awful about it. Now, you can believe me or not, but I did feel bad - I'm not in the business of trying to screw students over. I sent an e-mail to the group that put together the awards (they were dream-catchers for those who weren't there) and said we needed three more awards to give out because of my error. Of course, I forgot about it after that and honestly didn't think about it until your post. Sadly, the group never got around to it and so it fell off of my radar. That doesn't excuse the omission of never getting you your truly deserved trophy. However, I am more than willing to make sure all three of you receive the trophy - we are ordering this years and I will make sure they add on the ones that were supposed to be given out last year. If that would be acceptable to you please let me know.

 

As for Rushmore Quals - you can ask Kenyon or anyone else, the rounds that you lost, I had nothing to do with scheduling those or the assigning of the judges. In fact, I didn't know who the judges would be until Kenyon and I came in to do judge strikes when we saw them together. Again, you can believe me or not, but that is the truth. Now, to assume that you couldn't get beat by Jordan and Katlyn undermines how hard they worked and how much prep they put into quals. The amount of time our team spent on preparing specifically for SFL proves how good you were and how much respect we had for your debating ability - additionally, them placing 4th at Nationals is nothing to dismiss. While it takes some luck at nationals - the fact that their only loses were to the teams who took 1st and 2nd (including pre-lims where they went 10-2 with 4 wins and 2 splits) shows that it wasn't some kind of fluke that they beat both SFL teams in back to back rounds. You may disagree that you lost, but again, to assume that there was some kind of malice and that I was behind it is nothing short of libel. Did we screw up at the Warrior? Yes. Was it spiteful and mean-spirited and intentional? No. To assume otherwise is wrong. And to assume that I was somehow trying to screw you or anyone at quals is also incorrect and again libelous. Of course, I can't change your mind on that and you might think that forever, but it is the truth.

 

Regarding the "vendetta" against SFL. The only vendetta we ever had against SFL was that we wanted to beat you when it mattered most to us - Quals. We knew your top two teams were the ones we had to beat if we wanted to qualify to nationals - I think that should be taken as a sign of respect if people focused on your teams because you were that good. Call it a vendetta if you like, but to us, you were just the best competition, so Jordan and Katlyn prepped their butts off to make sure they would have the chance to beat you - we knew nothing was guaranteed and the waiting for the judges decisions was nerve racking because we knew we debated well and knew it was a good round that could go either way.

 

As for the other stuff as to SFL and who hates who and the status of SD Debate, that is something that is constantly discussed - by those coaching it and live it each and every year - not just once every 4 years on a CX post. Not that you shouldn't be discussing it - I think there are some excellent ideas and thoughts there and I have actually advocated some of those ideas (bigger tournaments for example - which I think you can look at the Warrior last year as an example - by far the most rounds at a SD tournament except quals). So please, keep adding to those discussions, but also, talk with the coaches about those ideas, talk to the people who are going into coaching and teaching - that is the way to affect change.

 

So again, let me publically appologize for the mistake (and yes, it was a mistake and not intentional) made at the Warrior. As I said, I will rectify that this year, even though it should have been done last year.

 

I would be more than happy to see you judging at tournaments, either in SD or at regional tournaments that we are at.

 

Travis Dahle

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After your last post it seems that you only have a chip on your shoulder because you didn’t get a trophy.

 

I do not understand where you’ve been personally wronged. Your posts refer to illegitimate round decisions but I don’t really see where they come from. Debaters are egotists by nature and I understand disagreeing with outcomes but not every loss had something to do with politics. You didn’t lose very often and the rounds you refer to are easily explained by poor judging. Surprise! Everyone has to deal with that. Personally, I wouldn’t have opted to be neg with the panel at Warrior. Seems to me that it was pretty decent to allow you to be aff without a coin flip. What I don’t get is how you can’t entertain the notion that you actually lost a round or why you can’t just dismiss it to not being a good judge for you. Not every judge will vote for everything, something you have to deal with. Some folks are so extreme that it’s a real challenge to adapt but you can still pick them up. Other people are just bad judges.

 

You seem to think that everyone hates Lincoln and post a tirade that makes it hard to love you. I enjoy judging the Lincoln teams and I like it when you’re at the tournaments. We get a tough debate and I get a chance to use a little more ink in my pen. That said, the attitude that’s employed when you’re around is tiring. I had great hopes for you two seasons ago when you debated Roosevelt. They were being obnoxious and you didn’t jump into the mess. It disappointed me to hear about your behavior in the final round after I gave you some sound advice earlier that same tournament not to be condescending or arrogant in round. It’s annoying and people aren’t going to vote for you- that doesn’t have much to do with politics-it’s an easy fix and likable teams win more. Getting along is good strategy and being likable is an essential facet to being persuadable.

 

I don’t think it’s fair to complain about politics and pretend that Lincoln is innocent at all. Frankly, I don’t like your coach and if you really think that it affects decision making I’d never have voted for you. My “Lincoln Bias†is actually pretty huge- I had it at something like 30-3 at some point. The basis for your wins comes from being better in that debate-same as the losses. I truly believe that most judges feel the same way. You act like people banded together to hate on Lincoln but you still enjoyed a great deal of success. What annoys me is that your coach will walk into a room as soon as the round is done and we’ll get a loss back without a real explanation as to why. It was pretty public that Vermillion was going to lose every round this year because of the final round decision. That’s why Kenyon had a comical Vermillion code next to his name all season. I’m tired of going to tournaments and having someone act like an upset toddler at a loss or try to badger people about their decisions. I volunteered to talk to Frank and Ana at the end of quals-at 1:00am when I still needed to drive back to Brookings. Everything I said was challenged by Kenyon even though it wasn’t addressed to him and he wasn’t in the round. Also, I was on the in and had a matching decision with the other judge. The judge who sat was your coach’s partner. I wonder if that seems political to anyone?

 

 

It annoys me that you dismiss the level of tolerance that people have had for such antics. They degrade the educational aspects of the activity and wouldn’t be tolerated in other activities. Neither Jimmy nor I had any interest in judging Southern Quals as a result my experience my freshman year. Seeing as you get a lot of wins from us it was probably to your disadvantage.

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Choas, also, don’t post, you shouldn’t be allowed to post under the fog of animinity(sp?).

 

You almost got the spelling right, try again. Just rearrange a few more letters.

 

You may disagree with what I’m saying, but at least I have the ca hones to put a name to the post.

 

I do what I want. There's no rule saying that you get to know my name, or tell me when I can and can't post.

 

I've even given you a hint, just because I'm awesome.

 

I may be arrogant, but at least I’m right. I’ll agree, all of my points will never be adopted by every judge, but if they are by a couple, then I think debate as a whole will be better simply because we will have judges that are better willing to vocalize what they want the debate round to be, and then let the debaters do that instead of everyone being in the dark. To say that I don’t want to improve the quality of debate in this state is also just flat out wrong, yeah I may be venting while I do it, but that shouldn’t mean complete rejection of true arguments.

 

I understand what you're saying. Criticism is important, even if utopian, because it provides us with something to work towards.

 

My problem is really just with the way you're pursuing it. If you cared more about the quality of debate for future debaters than some sort of validation via the internet, you'd have chosen to pursue this very differently. By making your arrogance and rudeness obvious, you hurt the cause. In doing so, you're placing your own desires above the desires of the state. I can kind of understand why you might want to do that, I just want to make sure that once you're done with the ranting you do pragmatic things as well.

 

You say that we need to retain the good aspects of SD debate, but before we have a discussion of how to keep them you need to tell me what they are, otherwise it will get nowhere. In general though the type of debate I outlined in my several points is the definition of inclusive, and I don’t see how what I said would mean the death of South Dakota debate heritage.

 

You want me to work at debate camps? They don’t want me or anything to do with SFL, the whole philosophy of the SDSU debate camp is that you don’t need to go out of state to get a good experience. Just in general it having a lab leader whose experience is primarily out of state debate goes against the grain. This is especially true when you take into account that Kenyon and Ewald damn near begged to help out at SDSU, what happened? They got rejected and had to head south to the NDI. SFL has always tried to be a part of SD debate and making it better, you all just don’t want to see us do it.

 

I didn't know that about Kenyon and Ewald. But, I suspect you're exaggerating. That's not to say you don't make a good point.

 

You say better judge accountable would be great, but how do we get there. It is called disclosure and it is the best thing in the world in terms of increasing education in debate and for judge accountability. Instead of being able to hide behind the ballot and say “I don’t need to talk to you, it is all there†(when in reality the answers to our questions are not) judges and tournaments need to be more accepting of the idea that disclosure is net beneficial, I honestly think this is a no brainer, I haven’t heard a reason as to why this is bad.

 

I like disclosure, I just don't think it's sufficient. We also need to get judges penalized somehow for bad decisions.

 

You all still need to stop being political about everything. Take the fact that we are more of a circuit school and use us as a tool, instead you all disrespect us at tournaments, I feel like the ball on this point is in your court, especially because the focus of my post was that you all are being disrespectful of us. I never said cooperation was bad.

 

Totalizing discourse causes blah blah blah, Krishna 93, etc. Stop using these loaded terms and divisions. "All" of SD is against you? Really? Because I've considered myself to be fairly supportive of SFL, pretty much always. But thanks for just automatically overlooking anything that I might have done for you either here or IRL, and then just assuming that I'm against you. When you do that, it makes me want to be against you.

 

My suggestions are not about you, stop being stupid and arrogant. My suggestions are about SD debate.

 

Your arguments how the tab room is allowed to screw me over because I’m not liked is also silly. That was literally the first tournament of the year and I had done nothing except have the letters “SFL†before the letters “JY†on pairings. So I issue this challenge to the debate community of SD, besides this post when have I been an ass (my anti-social-ness at tournaments will be answered below). My argument here is that I was put into this self fulfilling prophecy of being a “mean sfl debater†by no fault of mine.

 

I never said that it's justified to screw you over because you're not liked. I said the decision would have been overturned if you had allies. Therefore, it makes sense for you to try to get allies. It's not a question of justifications or blame. I understand that this argument only makes sense if SFL has things that it can do to make friends, but I believe SFL probably does have things that it can do to make friends.

 

As for the list of reasons as to why SFL is hated I’ll answer these with a couple of points.

 

I wasn't saying these reasons are justified. I was explaining, so that you could do positive PR.

Not so you could make SFL look worse by posting more arrogant walls of text.

 

Part 2 Coming Soon!!!!!

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1 – Yeah, we do National Circuit debate, what of it? This being a reason to hate us amounts to nothing more than petty jealousy. It is not like we come back to South Dakota, go full speed and read multiple conditional worlds. I don’t think there is a judge in South Dakota that ways we do not make an effort to adapt to the type of debate they want to hear. Furthermore that should be a reason to like us, to say that Brookings or SFW could have done as well at NFLs without having their target beating better then SFL and riding behind us the rest of the season?

 

I agree that circuit debate is okay. But you make no effort to be sympathetic towards the traditional view which dislikes circuit debate. That hurts your persuasiveness. People will not change from their views towards circuit views unless they believe circuit debate is better. To convince them, you'll need to have conversations where you engage them on their own terms. Don't approach them with harsh rhetorical challenges or accuse them of petty jealousy, talk to them about what they like about SD debate and why. Then, try to convince them those things would be enhanced by circuit debate. You're giving them a bargain, something that they'd want, if only they had a slightly different perspective on things, make sure you come across that way when speaking.

 

Also, when approaching them, be certain that you're also open to change, and to accepting their arguments. People can sense when others are being disingenuous.

 

2 – Money. We don’t have it. The only difference between SFL and the rest of the schools in South Dakota is that we decide to use the money that we have differently. One example of this is the Aberdeen tournament. Why do you expect us to go to this tournament when for the same price we can go to let’s say Blake, be guaranteed more rounds, have more diverse competition and judging, and to top it all of the possibility of a TOC bid. This isn’t to say that we abandon South Dakota, it is just to say that because of our love of debate as a whole, we will choose the option that lets us do it most. Just on face we have just as much funding as any SF school (it is almost like we are in the same school district!!!!). To say that we weren’t present in SD is silly, we went to every second semester tournament and only missed a couple first semester. Furthermore you can’t call us elitist and then turn around and say that because we don’t attend a certain tournament that we must be shunned, that, is the real definition of elitism. We left the state as a result of how we were treated in SD too.

 

I don't think that either your attendance of circuit tournament or your finances would be a legitimate reason to dislike your school. I mentioned them in my list so that you could gain a more complete understanding of the way that other schools feel. If you want other schools to start treating you well, it will help if you know what they might be having issues with.

 

3 – We’re mean! – Nope, we’re competitive in nature. Just because we decide to use our time at tournaments coming up with new strats and cut more updates for politics ect doesn’t mean we are anti-socal/elitist/ what have you…it just means we want to win because winning is awesome. I promise that if we were all at a party all the SFL kids would get together and not talk to anyone else, I promise we would be nice. Frankly, we are also nice during debate, but just to people who believe in how competitive we should be during it, ask any of SFLs out of state friends like Nebraska, we’re pretty cool dudes.

 

You might have justifications for not socializing at tournaments. But you shouldn't ignore that not socializing at tournaments will have harmful effects.

 

I understand that SFL is friends with Millard South, and maybe other places in Nebraska. That's awesome. But I do feel that there are many SFL debaters who are arrogant (example: you) (counterexample: Tony) and who don't think the other people there are worth talking to. I don't have that impression because I'm evil and I desire to destroy SFL because I hate them with all my heart, I have that impression because of the way I've seen you behave at tournaments. If you feel that the antisocialness is justified, then SFL should feel free to continue with it. But don't be surprised if SFL keeps getting the same bad results.

 

4 – Positive feed back cycles – I think you even agree that these are not our fault solely, so to blame stuff like this on us is silly.

 

You're being an idiot. Yes, you can blame all of SD debate for your troubles, and maybe you'll even be mostly right! But you'll still have a horrible situation. Instead of just whining about how victimized you are, you should look for what factors you can control and change them. Do this, then try to approach people (politely) with issues that you've been having with judging and whatnot, and I bet that you would have much greater success.

 

My overall problem with you and what you've posted is that being belligerent doesn't solve community problems, it makes solving them more difficult.

My other problem is that you're really annoying because you sound so arrogant.

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I know yall aren't likely to stop being angry at each other, but I think we should just put all the bad things from debate behind us.

 

I never was very successful at debate throughout my years at Roosevelt, but I might've enjoyed it more than many others. Sure, I worked, and I debated to win, but I also debated for fun as well. SD debate has provided me with many amazing moments with my team, as well as improving me as a researcher and speaker. Heck, I would've been scared to speak in front of a class my freshman year.

 

Being partnered with a first-year debater my senior year wasn't even frustrating to me. We became friends and had fun working and debating together. Sure, I could've won more rounds if I had a good partner that started debate when I did, or even maybe had a chance at qualifying, but winning isn't as important as the journey there.

 

And of course, I've had rounds that felt unfair -- other team dropped an argument, etc -- but then I just ask myself, why did the judge not flow that? Then I go back and work on my overviews and try again next time. Besides, I've won rounds that I thought I should've lost as well.

 

While it's nice to win, debate was much more than that for me. Though I'll probably never debate again, it was one of the best activities I joined in high school, thanks to the coaches, judges, and everyone else who made it possible.

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"You want me to work at debate camps? They don’t want me or anything to do with SFL, the whole philosophy of the SDSU debate camp is that you don’t need to go out of state to get a good experience. Just in general it having a lab leader whose experience is primarily out of state debate goes against the grain. This is especially true when you take into account that Kenyon and Ewald damn near begged to help out at SDSU, what happened? They got rejected and had to head south to the NDI. SFL has always tried to be a part of SD debate and making it better, you all just don’t want to see us do it."

 

I wonder who they begged. I don't remember either of them asking me (This is Mr. Tschetter) and I don't think Miss Kroll ever mentioned they asked her either. Asking? Begging? Check the source on that one, okay?

 

I think it was probably 3 or 4 years ago that a former Lincoln student did ask me but we already had a full staff by then. If we would have had the spot, I would have enjoyed having MM there. I surely hope he didn't think there were hard feelings on my behalf!

 

As for our philosophy, you are partially correct. We wanted to give students an experience during the summer that wouldn't use up a large block of their summer time and cost them a huge amount of money. That is why we started the camp. . .and it is why we reduced it in length and expense several years ago.

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Man, I come back to Cross-X for the first time in two years on a lark and this is what I find. I suppose the more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

I was somewhat more aloof from the massive SFL hate during my high school days, probably because I was in LD and this interminable conflict has always been strongest in policy. That said, I offer a few thoughts based on my own experiences:

 

-If Lincoln was hated this may in a few ways have been earned. Following a policy of limiting fraternization with other teams will make one looks elitist and unfriendly and that's simply the way things are. That can make some judges and officials have bias, either conscious or unconscious, and while that may not be fair it's pretty much unavoidable. If Lincoln wants to be liked more perhaps they could try being friendlier. I generally fraternized with other debaters more than most SFL people and I don't feel it greatly limited me as a debater.

 

SFL's use of home-field advantage at quals probably didn't help either. I don't know if using computers/Internet between rounds is strictly against the rules but when other schools didn't have the same access it's going to create bad blood.

 

-The attitude of the opening post is a good example of why SFL is going to get hate from some quarters. You talk about how you were focused on "real tournaments," projecting an aura of elitism and diminishing the work of those with little or no experience on the exalted national circuit. Maybe that's partly true, but saying it outright is obnoxious. Plus, the sentiment doesn't ring very true, either. If petty South Dakota tournaments didn't matter to you, why did you make a 2,000-word post complaining about how the state treated you? Do you think this will make SFL be regarded better in future years? You're a champion debater; you ought to know that verbal broadsides on people you don't like are not the sort of thing that persuades. Plus, when you're at least the second person from Lincoln in the past 5 years to make a long post tearing into other members of the community, don't you think you might encourage a perception that Lincoln debaters are entitled complainers? As high schoolers only on the scene for 3-4 years we may have short memories, but coaches are around longer and they remember.

 

-Jesus, people, it's a high-school event, one that nobody cares about besides the participants and coaches themselves. The community didn't screw you out of money, or fame, or even college opportunities. It might suck, but man...get over it. Don't poison the well for another generation of Lincoln debaters.

 

-All that said, I have to say that my experience at least was overwhelmingly positive. Do I have complaints I could levy against the statewide community? Uh, I guess I may have been screwed out of a senior award, but if I barely care I doubt anybody else can even remember. But that aside, debate for me was just fun. Competing is a blast, winning is nice, I made a bunch of friends, and hey, it even helped a bit with college admissions. It was a great part of my high school experience and I'd hate to sully it with grudges.

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Clearly this dude has no loyalty to his team... when one of your homies goes out its your job to be there and fight with them. clearly you admit that their is genuine hate for SFL, but i don't think any of yall even have a clue of why SFL is hated on other than the other teams hating on their SWAG. it's fairly apparent that this hatred wasn't something started by the students of SD debate but rather it was passed down by the heads of the programs themselves for some reason. from what i've seen, it's pretty obvious that this hate has outlasted the graduating classes of students and was kept alive by the coaches and program directors of SD debate. i was going to stay out of this because it aint my state... but now i have to say that none of yall really have any clue until you've gone to the other side of the activity... coaching. on a final note it is undoubtedly true that SFL was the best team in the state last year and the year previous to that, and i refuse to believe anybody who says they ever lost a round in SD. when they can make the most left of judges vote for inherency, you know they got something special going on.... oh and MATT KENYON AND MIKE EWALD ARE TWO OF THE GREATEST COACHES OF ALL TIME and Evan Jones will get to the finals of the NDT by the end of his career... fact

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What do you all need to know? Basically, CX is dead in North Dakota - most of the PF & LD is based in and around the Fargo area with some smaller schools competing

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