One time, a couple weeks ago, I had this one HI which started out with me yelling, "ALRIGHT EVERYBODY, SETTLE DOWN." and then later I said, "My name is..." and at this point I turned around and grabbed an invisible marker. I took off the cap and wrote about 17 letters on an imaginary dry erase board. Then I drew a period. Then I underlined it. Then I put the pen down, turned around and said, "...Coach."
That's it. That's my story. People laughed in real life.
I didn't have a lot of experience with writing my name on the board this last year in debate. It happened like, twice. Which is a real shame. So I told this story instead. I hope you liked it.
As was previously documented, I always enjoy when debaters write their names on the board behind them. I'm pretty sure the idea is so that the debaters won't forget their names in the course of the round. That would be bad. However, even though this process looks like it could be simple, it really requires quite a bit of thinking. Allow me to explain:
Step One: The Initial Placement
If you're anything like me, don't try to write too high. You'll have to stand on your toes or grab a chair and that's just embarrassing. Make sure you find juustt the right spot to write your name: not so high that you can't reach, but not so low no one can see it. This is probably not an issue for tall people. I wouldn't know. Also make sure it's on your side of the room. Then you're good.
Step Two: The Spell-Check
Hopefully this is not a problem with LDers. But hey, you never know. If you've prematurely forgotten what your name is or how to spell it, you have a couple options. Option A is to check your name tag. Those things are usually pretty accurate as far as appellations go. Of course, there could have been an issue where your mom spelled her own last name wrong, which is also yours, on your nametag. But that doesn't happen very often. Only to me. If that is the case, Option B is to check the fancy little namecard that some tournaments print up for us, which can really come in handy if you left your name tag in your last IE room. My friends don't like the name cards because they fall down, but I think they're awesome. I only had one at one tournament this year and I was SO EXCITED but then I lost it in my debate bag and couldn't find it for the first four rounds, but whatever. If I had had one then, I could've checked it to see how my name is spelled. If you're a TPer, you've got another complicated moniker to remember how to spell. If your partner's got a name like, say, Pardeep Pasricha, [/subtle shoutout] you might want to check her nametag or card to see how her name is spelled. 'Cause it would be embarrassing to mess that one up.
Step Three: Aff or Neg
If there's anything worse than urging a ballot in favor of the other team by telling the judge to vote Negative when you're actually Affirmative, it's identifying yourself as the wrong side of the resolution right from the get-go. Don't do it. If you're the 1A, be sure to write that. You'll confuse the heck out of some poor judge if there are two 2Ns on the board. Just don't.
Step Four: Legibility Verification
This is not a flow sheet. This is not a sticky-note to your partner. This is not a signature on a script submission form, and you are not filling out a ballot. This is something you actually want people to be able to read. Which also applies toward the ballot thing, but some judges don't understand that. Anyway, as soon as you write all that you need to write on that board, make sure we actually can read your transcription, please and thank you.
Step Five: Sit Down
Don't be a board-hog. Share the space. Let the other team write their names too.
The best part of when people write their names on the board is sometimes when they forget one or five of these steps. From an audience perspective, I mean. Basically because it's funny. But don't do it.
I also like when big-name debaters have handwriting that makes them look like they're 7 years old. It's amusing to me, though not really that surprising. Homeschoolers. You know how they are.
You're homeschooled. Write that down. That's very important.