Saturday, August 25, 2012

Being Secretive Around Other Debaters

You know what's fun? Being a spy. Being a sneaky spy. Being a sneaky spy who's spying on other spies who are spying on you and your sneaky little spying spy friends. Because you all have your missions, assignments, aims, callings, charges, commissions, duties, errands, goals, jobs, objects, objectives, purposes, pursuits, quests, responsibilities, undertakings, and other cool words for the homework your debate coach gave you, so obviously, it would be the worst thing in the world for the enemy any club that is not yours to find out what your secret mission, strategy, or case is. So you can't tell them.

Consequently, they're not going to tell you anything either. That is how the game is played. Maybe you'll hear from some teammates or other friends or even parents and timers who's running what and how and when and why, or maybe you'll see it on a case list your club has, or maybe you'll know because you hit them before, or maybe they'll just tell- Wait, no. Not that. Except for in rare cases. RARE cases. (haha, "cases." The irony is, in such rare cases, non-secretive teams may be disclosing their cases because they aren't rare cases but rather are commonly run cases, but again, this only happens in rare cases.) They'd much prefer you be surprised when you get into the round. That way, you, as the neg, won't know quite what you're up against until you can easily guess the plan by the nature of the sob-story introduction, the value by the Founding Father quote, or the case by the heading at the top of the page you saw when you awkwardly craned your neck to see over the podium.

Some teammates of mine once asked our TP coach if it they should turn their 1ACs over once they've unpacked the 25 pens and Post-It note pads and timers and other essential debate devices and nodded at the other team and stood up as simultaneously as the four of them could manage to do to go shake the judge's hand, because sometimes the negative will try and sneak a peak at that paper to know what they're hitting 30 seconds before they were going to find out anyway. My coach replied that it didn't matter. "After all," he said, "they're not going to pull out their time-turners and go research your case and save Buckbeak while they're at it!" And then like, two kids of the 37 people or so in the room laughed, because it was a Harry Potter reference and homeschoolers aren't supposed to read Harry Potter, generally. I thought it was funny. But anyway, the point is, sometimes people can take sneakiness to silly levels. Then again, maybe such levels do not existed. Why not be sneaky? It's great.

Moral of the post is don't tell people what you're running unless you want to, and don't let them find out unless you want to, and don't fool entire clubs into thinking most of your club is running a case you're not unless you're the novices in my club who are still quite proud, and be sneaky, and be awesome, and consider purchasing a magnifying glass and cool black hat to tiptoe around tournaments in while singing a detective or spy-ish theme song to yourself because that would be so fun.

You're homeschooled, but don't tell anyone.


  1. In Texas everyone is really open about their cases. One time, after a round, we asked the negative what they were running and they just looked at each other like, 'oh, their from Texas. They actually share cases there.' Then they gave us some really vague answer because everyone except Texas prefers to keep their cases a secret until the into of the 1AC.

  2. Wow. That's very different from California. Maybe we're just snobs. :P