Samantha Nichols, I have never met you but you are a class act. Your coach and squad are most likely aware of this fact, but they should be very proud of you. An attitude such as yours is very rare on these boards and is increasingly rare within our debate community.
It is difficult to see the true value of debate in any form when you are still within the activity. I have only been out of high school for a few years and my commitment now is only limited to judging 4 or 5 tournaments a year, but I am certain that I will never again meet a more interesting and admirable group of people.
We are blessed with not only amazing coaches in Kansas, but some of the best educators as well. Most are sarcastic "jerks," but the level of commitment they show and levelheadedness amongst the most egotistical (come on, it's true) group of high school students is second to none.
While there is indeed trash-talking amongst the students, you will never see a group of your peers operate with such professional and pleasant decorum any other time in your life. The overall atmosphere of tournaments and seeing people who you are hanging out with one minute and next trying to tear apart viciously in a debate round will never be rivaled again.
And, of course, the judging community is IMPECCABLE. I am always more than happy to judge rounds even though it means missing work/money or time that I would've spent relaxing in my hectic schedule. The reason being is that I remember all that was given to me educationally in debate and the time sacrifice of so so many to make sure there was a tournament organized to run on time or my coach staying a million hours after school just so we could fit in one more practice round.
The system of debate and its value is absolutely impossible to accurately quantify. The skills you have learned can not be taught as thoroughly or as quickly any other way. However, the people you have met and the lessons you have taken from the amazing personalities that fill the debate community are impossible to find in any other activity.
For those of you still in the activity, take an extra second to say thanks to your coaches or at least appreciate all they do for you as your coach, educator, and mentor. You can hate how our state isn't more "champ" or that you have a ton of lay judges, but at the end of the day you are able to take advantage of these amazing opportunities that are not available any other way at such a young age (or maybe ever.)
So stop bitching about laptops and the space topic and have fun, damnit.