Everything posted by EvanJones
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 didnâ€™t get what they earned. The fact that this has been absent from discussion is puzzling. Chaos, I may be arrogant, but at least Iâ€™m right. Iâ€™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 donâ€™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 shouldnâ€™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 donâ€™t see how what I said would mean the death of South Dakota debate heritage. You want me to work at debate camps? They donâ€™t want me or anything to do with SFL, the whole philosophy of the SDSU debate camp is that you donâ€™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 donâ€™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 â€œI donâ€™t need to talk to you, it is all thereâ€ (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 havenâ€™t heard a reason as to why this is bad. While Iâ€™d say winning NFLs shouldnâ€™t be the main goal of SD debate (that is a whole other debate that Iâ€™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 Iâ€™m not liked is also silly. That was literally the first tournament of the year and I had done nothing except have the letters â€œSFLâ€ before the letters â€œJYâ€ 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 â€œmean sfl debaterâ€ by no fault of mine. As for the list of reasons as to why SFL is hated Iâ€™ll answer these with a couple of points. 1 â€“ 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 donâ€™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 â€“ Money. We donâ€™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 letâ€™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 isnâ€™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 werenâ€™t present in SD is silly, we went to every second semester tournament and only missed a couple first semester. Furthermore you canâ€™t call us elitist and then turn around and say that because we donâ€™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 â€“ Weâ€™re mean! â€“ Nope, weâ€™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 doesnâ€™t mean we are anti-socal/elitist/ what have youâ€¦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, weâ€™re pretty cool dudes. 4 â€“ Positive feed back cycles â€“ I think you even agree that these are not our fault solely, so to blame stuff like this on us is silly. Choas, also, donâ€™t post, you shouldnâ€™t be allowed to post under the fog of animinity(sp?). You may disagree with what Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™t seem fair, but the only times Iâ€™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, didnâ€™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 wouldnâ€™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) wonâ€™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. Iâ€™m not saying a judge who is a stock issues judge should leave the debate, Iâ€™m saying they should just be vocal about how they feel about debate. If a judge said at the beginning of a round â€œim stock issuesâ€ then after the round voted on a solvency argument, answering specific questions as to why they didnâ€™t evaluate aff answers, Iâ€™d be fine with that, the thing is, we donâ€™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 arenâ€™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 â€œhow did you feel about X argumentâ€ 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 shouldnâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 didnâ€™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 doesnâ€™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, Iâ€™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 donâ€™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 doesnâ€™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.
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 didnâ€™t have the bid system, but I am fairly sure that we were the first, and if we werenâ€™t, we were the first in a very, very long time. Emily, Iâ€™ll concede the petty politics isnâ€™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. Iâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 isâ€¦well, just wrong, and not to mention Larson bolt out of the building, that isnâ€™t â€œwonderful, respectableâ€ or educational, that is actually quite the opposite. This attitude isnâ€™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 donâ€™t think this needs to a big point, cause I canâ€™t think of a reasons why SD helped us, it isnâ€™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 weâ€™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 didnâ€™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 â€œI donâ€™t know why I am judging this activity; I have never been introduced to it before.â€ 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 â€œme not accepting I lostâ€ that wasnâ€™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. Iâ€™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.
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. Iâ€™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 â€œtabulation errorâ€ 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 â€œjudgesâ€ name) said certain parts of the debate â€œwerenâ€™t a factorâ€ despite it being in every affirmative speech, as if what we say wasnâ€™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 isnâ€™t, it is a game. You canâ€™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 donâ€™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 doesnâ€™t matter, because in the end you all didnâ€™t like Kenyon and when he was our coach Ewald. Frankly, I didnâ€™t even understand why me and Bryant were getting the wrath of these judges, Iâ€™ve never done anything wrong in debate, and the only reason I found was because I didnâ€™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 inâ€¦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 Iâ€™m an arrogant fool, keep in mind Iâ€™m not arrogant if Iâ€™m wrong, there are many broad areas to improve South Dakota debate. 1. Enough with the politics â€“ 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, Iâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€œI am a Democrat so when the aff impact turned the Obama Re-election DA with Romney good, I didnâ€™t like that.â€ 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 â€“ if you donâ€™t like politics, the k or whatever â€“ TELL THE TEAM â€“ many a round have I experienced where the judges says â€œoh, Iâ€™m tabula rosa, Iâ€™ll listen to ANYTHINGâ€ 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 â€“ Even throughout my four years I have seen a drastic decline in the size of the policy pool, and I donâ€™t think it is because PF or whatever, it is because the tournament just doesnâ€™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 couldnâ€™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 â€œquarterfinalist â€“ Policy Debate â€“ Watertown fiestaâ€ 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. â€œOut of state debateâ€ shouldnâ€™t be shunned as a dirty phrase â€“ It is necessary to be competitive on the national level, and I donâ€™t just mean NFLs, I mean real tournaments. To have NFLs be the barometer of a debaterâ€™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 â€“ 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. Iâ€™m not saying every tournament has to go to Sunday, but wouldnâ€™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 canâ€™t travel out of state, bring the competition to you. 7. Disclosure is good â€“ 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.