I know my post came off as pretty harsh. And I was certainly generalizing; obviously there are a great number of coaches I do not include in the group I am discussing, including yourself and my former HS coach.
The reason I'm as hard-headed about this as I am, is because ultimately coaches are in the best position to either help or harm the activity. Bad students come and go. Arrogant students that alienate lay judges and frustrate novice teams come and go as well. But when a coach decides to axe the debate event and just teach PF/LD... well, that has ramifications for not only years down the road, but for multiple other programs as well. Pretty soon, even other coaches that wanted to field debate teams cannot get any competition because too many teams quit. Then you have whole regions of the state that just don't have debate at all anymore... in fact, now many regions of CO outside of denver.
Look, I understand the pressures of being a teacher on top of a coach, and coaches are underappreciated and absolutely underpaid for the efforts they put into debate. What I don't understand is why coaches are leaving the debate event in droves, and that is in large part why I began this thread- to understand this point. We can blame students all day... and this is why I was clear in my original and subsequent posts to criticise the practice of many arrogant debaters in the state. I certainly don't think students hands are "clean" in this matter. But when it's all said and done, there is only so much students can do to deter debate participation. The buck stops with the coaches when they decide to stop teaching debate.
Perhaps debate truly is "broken," I don't know. And there are certainly the occasional issues when debate reveals its quirks and becomes less accessible to the public at large. But what I was saying, is this is the exception, not the rule- especially in CO. And even the more technical debate is often the better debate... this is why I keep repeating anecdotes about how I've judged and debated better case debate, on the whole, in college rather than HS. This is why I think most coaches just have a perception of debate as "broken," and whether its true or not, coaches are fine with accepting the perception as truth and leaving the event.
I speak the way I do about coaches, because most of them do not respond rationally, the way you have. When I have brought this discussion up with coaches in the past, most usually immediately dismiss debate, with an air of vindictiveness that I don't get. This is why, in my original post, I talked about how I was rudely brushed off by a coach when I was judging NFL nats a couple years ago. Back then, to him, I was an uppity college kid, and debate was "bad." And that was the end of it. He didn't want to hear about what I had gotten out of debate or anything else. And this is a coach who taught debate for decades and fled the event for PF. I feel like it doesn't matter where I am in life now to him, and other coaches like him... whether I'm years out of college, a practicing attorney or not, I'll always just be viewed as associated with the NDT and a cohort of anti-intellectual sophists. It was like I was a member of the cancer spreading throughout debate... part of the problem. Well never mind the fact that I would have no problem judging two slower, stock issues teams. Hell, I understand that most kids in CO haven't gone to camp or spent their free time chatting with NDT theory hacks. I don't expect a level of debate up to the NDT, and I think most younger judges would be with me in this regard. If I'm in the back of the room... yes, sometimes teams will decide to amp up the speed or read more complex arguments, which I'm ok with. Sometimes they'll do it even if they're facing a novice team they know will not understand what's going on. Now that, indeed, I'm willing to admit is a problem. But what do we have to gain here when coaches begin blaming debate itself, or as this coach seemed to imply, that I'm part of the problem. It seems to me a more proactive approach would be to teach these teams how to deal with situations like this, than to just throw up their arms and declare debate "ain't worth saving."
This experience was not a unique one to me. Too many coaches I talked to over the years discuss debate in a bitter, almost vindictive tone. This is not helpful or conducive to compromise. I understand their frustrations, but who loses out here? The students. They are depraved of an intellectual opportunity of which there is no equal. I have less to say about coaches that just don't understand debate or just coached IEs until PF came along... it was probably a little bit too much to say these coaches are lazy. However, I still cannot understand why they would put effort into fielding out several LD/PF teams, and not debate. Perhaps it does just make more sense to them, and the time trade-off isn't worth it, or at least not perceived as worth it. I think this is a shame, since debate is objectively more educational, intense, intellectual, and rewarding than LD or PF. I would rather field 3-4 debate teams and nothing else (i.e. no IEs, LD/PF) than a full slate of IEs, LD/PF and no debate. But if coaches do not agree, well then.. I guess it is what it is. They ultimately make decisions about their curriculum, and if this is the decision they have settled on, well then- so be it.