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About jormarber

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  • Birthday 02/20/1989

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  1. Denver East Eppler/Van Treuren made it to semis on the civil liberties topic in 2006.
  2. Wasn't Forslund director of debate at Damien just 2 years ago? When did he switch schools?
  3. jormarber

    Survivial of CX

    Just because people are using narratives doesn't mean the game style is ending. A few people do things like "the project," but most, even if they are reading narratives or critical affs and stuff like that are doing it because they think it gives them the best chance to win. Narratives have existed on the circuit for a while, and though I have not seen a circuit round since I graduated, I kind of doubt that they are gaining much more popularity than they had when I graduated. And people in Colorado have tried to do narratives before. Sanford and Jeffries tried it a little. A lot of teams include some type of story at the top of their aff that they then use as a reason to vote aff. Maybe the people who run narratives win percentages have increased over the last two years, but it was always my impression that a skilled debater could beat a narrative debater, unless the narrative debater was more skilled. And by skilled I mean they have to be able to flow, extend arguments, and "push around the chess pieces" just like any other debater.
  4. jormarber

    Survivial of CX

    Andy, I am not saying that the debate-as-a-game aspect is bad. I think that it is a more fun activity and has just as much or more intellectual merit when practiced as such. However, some people prefer the discussion/reach a consensus variety. Debate on the national circuit epitomizes the game variety. However, many (most?) of the coaches in Colorado don't know how to teach the debate-as-a-game variety effectively and/or prefer the debate-as-discussion variety, which leads to disillusioned debaters who get beat by the debate-as-a-game practitioners. These disillusioned debaters then change to other events or quit speech altogether. And when coaches see this happening, they too become disillusioned and subsequently stop teaching the event. I don't really know how you fix this problem. Maybe its bringing in a new generation of coaches. Maybe its coaches attending camp. I'm pretty sure that its not getting rid of CHSAA rules (although that might be a part of it, it wouldn't be a solution without a number of other steps). Maybe it will largely die out in Colorado except for the small number of schools which are able/willing to travel. What I do hope is that coaches continue to allow people to try the event. I had a coach who knew next to nothing about policy, yet he encouraged me and a few friends to try it. With his support, and a lot of willpower, we ended up being just fine and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. Maybe thats also where the community at large comes in. If people don't run 3 topicalities, a k, a cp, 2 disads, and case against a novice team when they know that they don't need more than the cp and a disad and case to win, then maybe fewer people would quit. My first partner quit debate rather quickly after we got smacked around a few times. I think the onus is on debaters to be friendly to novices, encourage them, reach out to them, help them, even (especially) if they aren't from your school or a school with a strong debate program.
  5. jormarber

    Survivial of CX

    That might be something that helps, as might new coaches with more recent experience in the event. However, I think you need either a change in mentality across the board (coaches, judges, and debaters) towards CHSAA style debate, or towards national-style debate. CHSAA style debate is probably easier to teach and easier to judge, which makes it appealing. More coaches going to camp would lead to more coaches understanding national-style debate, but I'm not sure that there is a judge pool to support it in Colorado. Part of the reason you see the "good" teams at Creek, East, etc going out of state for tournaments is that they get to do the national-style debate that they learn at camps. I personally think that that style is more fun (thats largely why I pushed so hard to travel to out of state tournaments when I was in high school), and I suspect that the people who go to camps think so as well. If you want national-style debate, you need judges capable of judging national-style debate. As far as I know, most regional circuits are closer to national-style than CHSAA but still far from the national circuit. More coaches who learn national-style concepts would also mean more available judges for national-style debate, so from that standpoint it would be beneficial. I see the problem being partly that the older generation of coaches does not like the national-style form of debate. It is viewed as pedagogically and intellectually inferior to the more "real world" and "manner first" style that theoretically is practiced under CHSAA rules. However, as I and others have said at various times (and is being said right now in the current CHSAA state thread), national-style arguments can be run under the CHSAA paradigm. It is more an issue of coaches not wanting their students to impact everything in nuclear war, or other outlandish things. I'm not saying thats a bad thing; everyone knows that nuclear war really isn't going to happen if we don't pass a plan that solves poverty for 50 people, but in debate people choose to accept that that is the case. From that standpoint, debate is a game rather than an intellectual activity. I think thats fine, but many coaches would prefer it the other way. I think what is happening now, in terms of teams traveling out of state while others disappear will continue to happen. Those schools that travel get coaches that will help them in national-style debate, whereas those that don't travel don't get those coaches. The result is that, in terms of being able to debate national-style, the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. So long as there is a disparity of resources that allows some teams to travel and some not to, you will see some teams continuing their monopoly over national-style coaches while others don't have them. Maybe increasing the supply of national-style coaches could break the monopoly (its more like a monopsony, but thats beside the point), but since most coaches start out as assistant coaches, they would need head coaches at non national-style schools willing to give them a chance to create national-style programs. I just don't see that happening. It is much easier for existing coaches to switch to LD and PF, events that they feel they understand, then to actively seek out national-style coaches and allow those coaches the autonomy they need to shape national-style teams.
  6. jormarber

    Survivial of CX

    May I offer a hypothesis: the internet is responsible for the decline of CX in Colorado. Premise: CHSAA rules are taken as a given framework for debate in Colorado. The reason for this is that I am not sure that policy is declining nationally, but CHSAA rules might play a particular role in its decline in Colorado. Reasoning: debate camps have existed for some time. They have always produced evidence, and always of varying sorts and quality. In Colorado, a majority of debaters, past and present as far as I can tell, do not attend camp. Maybe someone from a team would, but individuals would not. This limited the access to camp-produced evidence and forced teams to do more of their own original research. Sometimes this research was done, sometimes not. It also meant that what kind of research was done was more under the control of coaches and CHSAA paradigms, which emphasize stock issue debate, non-topical counterplans, and have never heard of critiques (or probably politics disads). The internet changed this in two ways. First, the internet allowed people to acquire camp files without having gone to camp. It allowed people to collect the files produced by multiple camps. The files produced at these camps over the years moved further and further away from those that would conform best to the CHSAA paradigm of case-heavy debate. Instead, camp files would include any number of counterplans (topical and not, PICS, consult, etc), critiques, outlandish disadvantages (read politics, even though I like running it in rounds, it has very little real world application), etc. Nationally, policy debate has become more of a game in which any claim is accepted as truth unless challenged by the other team. This allowed people to claim nuclear wars, ontological damnation, or other weird impacts that a simple 50,000 people have less food to eat can't outweigh. What the internet did was allow people an easy way out. By collecting camp files, people could avoid doing as much of their own research. In turn, their arguments that they could run became dependent on what arguments camps were producing. The internet also acted to make research easier. This is largely a good thing, but it also meant that people could turn to critical theory, blogs, etc. that they could not find before. This increased the possible scope of sources for arguments, which increased the number of arguments people could prepare and had to prepare for. As a result, Colorado debate coaches came to be faced with coaching an event that they really had no experience in. As Ms. Patrick commented on Rapp's thread of a similar title, she had a debater who had been a high school champion but 2 years after having graduated felt that debate had past him by. If this is the case for a high school student who did the event relatively recently, how must a coach who did the event much longer ago feel? I can actually offer one example. Martin Schnipper, who some of you may or may not know, helped coach me and Gabe during our sophomore year. He has/had been involved in the debate community since I believe the 1960s or 1970s. He coached at New Trier (which is one of the best schools on the national circuit and has been for some time) and other places. However, prior to helping us, he had been out of debate for about 10 years. He helped Gabe and I tremendously, helping us go from relatively weak debaters at the beginning of our sophomore year to national qualifiers by the end of junior year. However, he commented to us at the Dallas nationals that he thought he could be of no more help to us. It wasn't because we had learned everything that he knew about debate, but because much of what he knew about debate was no longer applicable. Debate generally takes strong coaching to be sustainable. Isolated teams can achieve success without access to quality coaching, but when those teams graduate they generally leave behind a weak or nonexistent program. But if debate has passed coaches by, they cannot hope to be quality coaches. Does this suggest that an injection of young coaches would solve the problem? Maybe, but I doubt it. Much of the current crop of coaches accepts the CHSAA framework, but debate nationally doesn't look like CHSAA debate. At the same time, enough people try to debate in the national style that they scare people who are taught by coaches teaching the CHSAA style. I think the example of Greg Davis at Lakewood is demonstrative. He was an NDT debater in college, but the style of debate he saw being practiced by Sanford and Jeffries (which brought them many wins and admiration inside the clique of national-style debaters in Colorado) reflected nothing of what he conceived debate to be. He decided it wasn't worth his time to teach and event that he didn't consider to be good debate, or a good intellectual activity, so he dropped the program. I am sorry if I am misrepresenting this story, but its what I recall of the decision. A discussion of signaling might help here. Debaters who use (a form of) the national-style are generally the one's that win. I don't think this is necessarily because the national-style is a superior form of argumentation to CHSAA/traditional style, but because the national-style, when practiced well (and many do not practice it well), forces teams to do innovative research and treat debate as a game rather than an activity that truly seeks to convince people of things. This provides a competitive advantage that forces other people to either attempt to practice the national-style, lose, or quit. CHSAA style may be pedagogically better than national-style, but I feel that it is competitively disadvantageous. This means that young debaters go to their coaches and ask to be taught the national-style, but their coaches can't do it. As the coaches see these young debaters grow disillusioned, they too become disillusioned and eventually drop the event. To summarize, the internet led to a proliferation of national-style argumentation without the accompanying proliferation of national-style coaching. So long as this disparity continues, debate is in trouble.
  7. All entries can be seen here: http://commweb.fullerton.edu/jbruschke/webhs/ViewEntries.aspx?ID=4
  8. I just want to echo Aaron's statement that Moffat is making a reputation for themselves. I can vouch for the fact that at least one Denver area school is taking you all very seriously, even though they are unlikely to see you until state. They are already specifically researching affs run by your school (and they aren't doing this for every school). You all have earned a lot of respect from the people in the Denver area.
  9. Also, whats up with all of the people posting under anonymous names/schools?
  10. This still is ignoring the point. Rep judging may exist, but for the most part it doesn't. Not in Denver, not in the state as a whole, not on the national circuit. Good teams don't win because the judge knows who they are, they win because they are good. Good schools aren't good schools because the judge knows the name of the school, they are good schools because they happen to produce (maybe because of good coaching, maybe just hard work on the part of gifted debaters) a number of good teams. I hate to break this to people, but Creek doesn't win because the code says Creek (especially in Colorado, where for the most part school names aren't on codes). Creek happens to win a lot because they have lots of teams (I won't deny that this helps them: more people means a greater chance that any of them happen to be good), smart debaters, and they have some committed coaching. The same goes for Kent, or any other "big name" school. If the judge knows who teams are and/or where they go to school, then thats probably because that team is winning a lot. The team is known by the judge because they are good, and they are not good because they are known by the judge. If anything, judges who know of teams often make those teams go the extra mile against teams that are unknown, just to avoid the temptation to vote on rep. And by and large, those teams do end up going the extra mile, because they are good teams. This is not to say that "bad" decisions aren't made, they are, and that happens. It will continue to happen. And it sucks when it does. But you can only prevent them from happening by so thoroughly beating the opposition as to leave no doubt in the judges mind which team won. Go back and read Gabe's initial post. Gabe and I didn't get to the point of breaking and winning speaker awards at national circuit tournaments because people had heard of us; we did it because we outworked other teams, we out thought other teams, and we out executed other teams. Especially with "good" judges, nothing is more impressive than being incredibly well prepared. When you can get up and give an outstanding speech when the judge isn't expecting anything more than average, it doesn't matter if the other team is from Creek or East, the judge will take notice. If the judge has never heard of you before, it just makes it that much easier to exceed expectations, which actually goes much further towards winning than the judge knowing who you are.
  11. I have a lot of problem with this post. You don't say which school you are from, but I suspect it is Moffat County. As someone who judged one of your teams on a panel round at a recent eastern slope tournament and is one of those college judges, I don't really like being called out as being unfair. I understand what it is like to try to break into any circuit. As a debater, I was at what started as a no-name program (in fact, there was no program prior to a couple people deciding my freshmen year deciding to try policy). We lost rounds not because no one had heard of us, but because people beat us. If the judges made faces, its because they didn't think we knew what we were doing and got annoyed with that. Judges should try not to do that, but it happens. Hard work got us to the point of being one of the best teams in the state (we had 2 teams at my school that were at this higher level). We decided to travel the national circuit senior year, and yes, we ran into a couple of rounds where our lack of name recognition put us at a disadvantage. That didn't stop us from breaking at every circuit tournament that we were at, and by the end of the year, we were getting the type of recognition bonuses that others had at the start of the year. Lesson is: winning changes attitudes but attitudes don't determine wins. If you aren't winning, then just go work harder, practice more, and actually change peoples' perceptions.
  12. I can't actually tell you how many very late night conversation I have had with Aaron over debate, the state of debate, how to win at debate, how to win on certain positions, etc. Such is the benefit of having a very smart, dedicated, and committed brother in debate. Perhaps thats partly why the Schmerge (I probably spelled that wrong) family up in Cheyenne produced as many quality debaters as they did. Gabe is right, start thinking about debate. Brainstorm. Talk about it. Your coaches will like it. Your judges will appreciate it. And you will end up actually liking debate more for it.
  13. As one of the now elder statesmen on these boards, along with Greg, I want to say that Phil is right: policy debate in CO is dying. I don't know if its beyond saving, but its dying. When Greg lists programs that are dead, he is touching just the tip of the iceberg. He leaves out basically all of southern Colorado, which according to these boards (in posts that I believe no longer exist), produced some very good teams back in the day, but more importantly produced a lot of teams. Canyon City, Durango, Pueblo South, just to name a few. There was also the Colorado Springs area, which used to have multiple schools with teams but I believe now has just St. Mary's. In the Denver area, add Eaglecrest, Ponderosa (even if it was just Kelly and Lydia), Smokey Hill, maybe more. Up north, you can add Skyline to the list, and I don't know if Rocky Mountain may be dead as well. If you could go back to Phil's now-extinct website and look up results from state tournaments past, you would see that during his time in high school, the state tournament routinely broke to double octos, and I don't mean simply a partials round of 1-3 rounds (which may have last happened in 2006). Tournaments like East had 50 teams. Same for Golden-Mullen, and for Hell of the West. The TOC bid tournament at CU was dead before I was around, but I can imagine that it was quite large, and not just because of out-of-state teams. There have still been some excellent debaters to come out of Colorado in the aftermath of the era Phil talks of: Greg Sobetski and Alex Berger at Littleton, Jordan Daniels and Jesse Spaford at Kent, Will van Truren and Alex Epler at East, although Epler started his career at the tail end of Phil's time. However, it is my firm belief that as the numbers of people competing has fallen, the number of good teams has fallen. Furthermore, this has a multiplier effect. Good teams bring out the best in other good teams and force those teams to work as hard as they can, which in turn makes everyone better. It doesn't matter if its fast or slow judging, debating good teams makes everyone better, but without enough teams, few people ever reach their full potential. The above list are just those that managed to fight through all of the barriers. I want to close be echoing Phil's comment that good rounds don't have to be either fast, nor full of French philosophy. The best round I think I ever had was a round I lost, in front of a slow panel, to Will van Truren and Rose Green. Will and Rose had taken my case, researched it, and come up with an amazing set of thoughtful, well-warranted attacks, which in turn forced Gabe and I to defend our aff in a way no other team that year, including all of those we debated on the national circuit in front of numerous college judges, came close to repeating. The potential is there in Colorado, people just have to want it.
  14. I don't know when it was, but I know its not an accurate measure of Wyoming's ability. Chey East is usually the strongest school in Wyoming, but Chey East teams do not debate at their own tournament.
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