Friday, September 2, 2011

Being Judge-mental- Michael Sheetz

(Michael actually did judge at that practice tournament I mentioned once, so he actually knows what he's talking about. At least, he says he does. It sounds like he does. Anyway, people, please welcome, Michael Sheetz!)

I always thought being a judge would be a really horrifying experience, ending feeling like someone just dumped 300 tons of Comic Sans text onto you and your flow pad, drowning you in words for eternity. Turns out, it's actually fun! And maybe it's just me, but leaving "your bias at the door" is a lot easier than it sounds. 
Hopefully you're wondering what the title means. I assume most of the readers of this blog are currently involved in SAD, either in Stoa or NCFCA. I certainly am, and that's why judging was such an incredible eye-opening experience. I was able to view each round from the perspective of how effective an argument was and how important responding is. That's why the title is about using your brain to think like the judge, in terms of what actually matters. I was able to judge 3 rounds like this at CUID a few weeks ago (1 Novice, 2 Varsity) and it enlightened me in a way I never would have been able to experience as a competitor. Before I go on, I want to urge any of you who are still in SAD to try to judge whenever you can, even if it's a practice round. It's worth the effort. 
The first round that I judged at CUID was a novice round, which only reminded me how insanely important flowing and E-spec are. The 2nd round was two varsity teams, who both mitigated the round so far down that I had to go through my flow 5 times before figuring out who actually won anything. The 3rd round showed how important respect and patience is in a round, as it was a very mismatched round and the obviously more skilled debaters proved their skill by even helping the other team along. 
The 2nd round was the most educational, personally, as it showed how you can easily drop half of the other team's arguments on purpose and still win the round. Why? First of all, it shows to the judge that you're realistic in realizing that both teams can't be winning everything, so that means you're losing something. That doesn't mean you're not winning something, just that you're being smart. For example (from a TP standpoint), you can concede to their responses on their Harms, but you must outweigh in one way or another. An easy way is just to have two responses. 1) We concede (aka they're right). 2) This is a non-issue (basically, not a reason to vote for them) or, say, Disadvantage outweighs and is more important. 
BAM. You just spent about 10-15 seconds responding to their argumentation and made the argument no longer an issue in the round. Now you get to focus on your Disadvantage (aka offense). This works on the Affirmative side too, as well as for LD. 
And that's the basics of the insight I gained from judging. 
You're homeschooled, and you're not a mental judge. You're Judge-mental. 

1 comment:

  1. That's so cool! What a neat perspective. =)