Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Start of the Debate Season

I used to think that the debate season started with the first club meeting. Nope. Then I thought it started maybe with camp. Guess again. For some people, it starts even earlier in the summer. Like, weeks ago from right now, and it's July right now. Then again, for some of us, it started today or recently or soon. And for others, it hasn't started yet, and won't start 'til September.

But different people are different. Obviously. Now I'm sounding repetitive, like I'm saying the same thing over and over again that I've already said before. Moving on. What sorts of people are there, you may ask, and when does their debate season begin? Good question. There are several:

1. Way Ahead of The Game
You know that moment when someone tall, in charge, and official announces the resolutions for the following year? For me, and for a lot of us CA Stoa people, it was it this tournament called Concordia, aptly named due to the fact that the college where it was held was also called that. Anyway, there were a bunch of people all sitting on these steps when they called out, "Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reform its foreign military presence and/or foreign military commitments." and also, "Resolved: Privacy is Undervalued." (and the Wildcards. Storytelling ftw!) And you know that somewhere out there were some nerds who were already writing cases and had them nearly completed milliseconds after this announcement was made. Of course, they could have finished long before, because those two resolutions and four others were listed as being the options. So why not get an early start? I mean, a really, really early start. People do that. Probably.

2. On Top of Things
Ok, maybe finishing your cases before the previous season ends is a little out there. But as soon as Nationals is over, then you can think about. Or maybe you put it off a little. Like, July. I mean, TP involves a lot of researching and brainstorming and stuff. And LD cases require tons of thinking too, and plus you have to write two of them. But by July 2, there must have been people out there who already had cases written up. They are that on top of things. Some people are scary dedicated, and even though you have to pity their lack of social life, it's still pretty admirable.

3. Thinking About Thinking About It
Here's the thing: Maybe you don't know a lot about military policies. Or maybe you haven't thought about privacy and its value much before. So, you know you should really learn about those things before the year starts but... you don't even know where to start. You're thinking about thinking about it. Maybe you have a couple of nearly-formed ideas, but that's about it. And, it's early. You've got time. Like, in my case (and by case I mean "situation"), I still have several days before I have to write cases (and by cases I mean "pieces of paper consisting of contentions that affirm or negate the resolution") for this camp I'm going to. Plenty of time.

4. Actually Has A Life
Why start early? I mean, seriously. For most of us, competition season starts in January. That's forever away. Plus, some people would rather spend their summers outside, swimming, surfing, not-working on school, perhaps working at real jobs, being with actual friends because they have them... That's cool too. I'm not one of those people, but you know. Cool.

5. The Novice
This is the person who has no idea what she is getting into. It has not occurred to her that people actually start researching and writing in the summer. Or cutting interps. Because she does not even know what one would look for while writing, researching, or cutting. And I have definitely been this person at least twice. We all have.

Now I'm feeling guilty that I'm writing this post instead of writing cases or surfing. Thanks, guys.

You're homeschooled. Let's get it started.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tabulous Tab- Michael Sheetz

(Michael is back, which shouldn't really surprise you because he just won't stop writing awesome Guest Posts. If this doesn't make you laugh, then you probably didn't read it. Happy Guest Post week!)

I'll just come out and admit it: As a novice in TP three years ago, I didn't know tab existed. And then when I found out it did exist, I thought it was some sort of horrible monarchy of the royal families of Stoa who all apparently hated me (especially in speech). And then when I found out that Mr. Kuhlmann is actually tab, I realized everything was going to be ok and that tab isn't evil, it's just overworked. (Note: Mr. Kuhlmann actually being tab may or may not be true. But either way, tab is longer evil. Most of the time.)

Now, if you're wondering at this part why I thought, being new to toliet paper and all, that a royal family of large Roman coverings (or, in reality, one man) controlled the amount of alcohol people consumed and hated me because of how I spoke, then you're probably on the wrong blog. Or maybe not. Tabulation (named tab by non-lay-SAD-people) is what gathers, organizes, and spits back out all of the results during and after a speech and debate tournament. And in the case of most tournaments in the SAD league Stoa, tab is run by parents who either:
A) have too much time (Note: This doesn't exist)
B) are really intense, awesome, sacrificial parents
C) have an addiction to SAD and working tab

No matter what, tab is one of the most talked about parts about debate at a tournament. How tab is running a tournament (both in the style and on-time-ness) is almost constantly talked about, sometimes even well after awards. But, speaking of awards, one of the most dependable parts of awards is when the tournament director(s) do something to stall for tab who is feverishly trying to figure out results and sort ballots. There's been plenty of tactics, including MC's with bad jokes, praise and worship, photo slideshows (which usually happen anyway), and awarding timers (because those guys are so awesome, they don't need tab). But my personal favorite was when, two years ago, the tournament directors had Stephen Roe and Evan Smith do their individual interps on stage in front of everyone. It gave tab almost a solid half an hour, in which everyone got to enjoy some of the best in the nation entertain everyone (many of who might have wanted to see those speeches, but wouldn't have got to otherwise). So to all you kids who have tournament director parents, I highly recommend you try this.

But I digress. The thing about tab is, no matter how essential to the tournament they may be, they're constantly overlooked. Sure, at most tournaments tab is thanked during the awards ceremony. But what I'm talking about here is how it seems you rarely hear about how awesome tab is for sacrificing so much and working so hard. I've never once heard someone thank a parent during a tournament that is involved in tab. I'm just as bad as everyone else, as I've never done this myself, but I'm definitely going to strive to in this next tournament season. So when you see that parent you know is working tab (aka, Mr. Kuhlmann), give them a passing greeting and compliment! Or maybe a venti quintuple shot espresso. Or, if they're not running too fast to the tab room, a hug! 

You're homeschooled, and Tabman needs to be a superhero.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lunch- Katherine Kwong

(Katherine's back with another awesome Guest Post, with something we can totally all relate to. Enjoy!)

On the campaign field of Concordia University Irvine, you take a welcome respite from your last fight er… TP round. All fighting (speaking) stops for the one welcome respite: Lunch.  Whether it is a PB & J sandwich thrown together at 5am in the morning or a Trader Joe’s Salad, we can all agree that lunch is paramount, a nice break and a great way to talk to people.
As a debater would say, Lunch is paramount. After debating and speaking since 7 am, the food you talk about in your interp or impromptu (if you happen to use those kinds of examples) is starting to sound really good. You finish your after round chit chat and then prowl around the judges lounge to liberate your lunch from the car. Or you arrive at the club table to see a neat package of food * cue heavenly music ahhhhhh!* Our moms are awesome. They provide the food we need to keep our voice boxes working and our jaws flapping. Lunch is paramount!

As much as we all like speaking and debating, it is nice to have a little break in between rounds. If you don’t feel that way, go starve yourself (just kidding). Grab a Subway footlong, your headphones and some tunes then the club pop-up tent becomes a melodious cabana. Or grab your TP partner or your LD buds and break out the flow sheets and chili! That is why I love speech and debate, even the food makes a tournament a tournament (even when the food is not so good).
Finally, there is nothing like sitting down with your clubmates and friends and saying, “Hey how did your round go? How was your extemp? Man, those impromptu prompts were way out," or even, “I messed up so bad in the duo, but I don’t think the judges noticed,” and intermittently getting, “Mfffm, errrr if waf good! Mhhhmmmmmmm, gasp….choke Hmmmmf hahahaha,” for an answer because you caught your friend with a mouthful of food for the tenth time. Ahhh, lunch: the welcome respite amidst crazy speeching and debating!
You’re homeschooled, enjoy your lunch!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The End of Life as We Know It- Carey Vandewalle

(I'm sure you all remember Carey from her evil ploys of posts past, but in case you didn't recognize her because she looks a little older and wiser, it's because she's old now and is the first ever alumni person to write for SCHADKL! She's also the first author for the first ever SCHSADKL Week or So of Guest Posts! Yay!) 

Hi everyone! Surprise! I know, I know, you must all be a little shocked to hear from me. I mean, I graduated and am no longer eligible to compete in Christian Homeschooled Speech and Debate. OH NO!!! This must mean that I have nothing left to live for and am now dead. Bother.

Haha, just kidding. I am very much alive and well and if you want will give you an enthusiastic hug to prove it. After you have gotten over your shock (the hug probably helps with that, too) pick up your comfort object (I’d assume it’s a flow pen or maybe one of those cool rolling debate cases that I never had) and hold tight because I’m about to blow your mind further. This is my attempt to explain to you why this post really does belong on a blog of Stuff We Like.
Graduation from debate is actually a ton of fun

It might be hard to believe that there’s possibly any life worth living that doesn’t include competition as a CHSADK, but really, there are all kinds of awesomeness waiting for you just around the corner. Two years ago, I was devastated to realize that my time competing wouldn’t last forever and begged my parents to allow me to super senior. They refused. Now, the time has come. My name will no longer be heard in breaks (well, my first name at least :D), I’ve walked across the stage and received my final award; I’ve prepped my last impromptu, given my last rebuttal, explained for the last time why personalfreedomoughttobevaluedaboveeconomicsecurity, thanked the timer and shook the judge’s hands for the final time. Yes, the tournament had its nostalgia. I mean, it’s natural to be a little sentimental. This activity literally changed my life, my relationships, and me personally forever and I will be forever grateful. BUT. I’m not here to be sad. You obviously have a lot of prep to do for NITOC tournaments that won’t be happening for several months but it’s always good to get an early start, right? So let’s get straight to the fun stuff: the fantastic parts about graduating. These are things that I’m really, really, really, really, really really excited about for next year. Think that was enough reallys? I don’t!

In all humility, alumni have learned a lot. Now, we don’t have our own events to practice every day so there’s nothing to do but bottle up our enthusiasm and energy and save it all to pour it out on you guys every week at club. I can’t wait.

2. Judging
Seriously, I’m pretty sure the first time someone at ballot push (like maybe my mom, who works there a lot and is great at her job) hands me my first, real, grown-up ballot, I’m going to start jumping up and down uncontrollably with joy. Hopefully they won’t take that as a sign that I’m not old enough or anything, because I’m stoked to judge. The way I see it, as a competitor, I could help one person improve their speaking and thinking skills: me. As a judge or coach, every round I’ll get a chance to help sharpen the skills of, at the very least, two fantastic CHSADKs and I plan on judging/coaching lots and lots, so that’s dozens of you wonderful people that I get to help. I already have lots and lots of ideas about how to make judging and ballot writing more fun. You should hope I judge you. Or maybe not. >_> In any case, I’m absolutely thrilled.

3. The Judge’s Lounge
This hardly needs explanation. We’ve all heard of this magical place where cookies grow on bushes and there are little waterfalls of coffee and lemonade, and you can listen to the licorice birds sing while the muffin squirrels give you chocolate kisses as you blissfully write sweet notes and circle all the 5s in speaker points and 1s on IE ballots. I’ve imagined how it must be over and over and I’m sure I’m right. I’m not sure where the 5th and Below ballots get filled out but probably not in there. Anyone with experience can correct me if I’m wrong, but you risk dashing all my wildest dreams, just so you know. You’d turn me into a Disgruntled Alumni. Now that I’m graduated, I may be allowed to enter this paradise. So maybe it is like dying, just a little bit.

4. Not Having to Wear a Suit
Wearing a suit is definitely cool. It’s very classy and looks awfully sharp. But you have to admit, they aren’t the most comfortable of attire. Guy, you may legitimately complain about your ties. A little. They look too fantastic to merit much protest. Girls, I know far better how we have been forced to suffer, with stockings and heels and worst of all, no pockets. After graduation, you no longer have to wear any of that and can arrive in jeans and comfy sweaters. You might have already experienced this after you’re finished competing for the day and you know how good it feels. In addition, I’m the kind of person that makes friends with people who have much longer legs than mine. With the exception of one near and dear person whose legs are actually shorter. It’s a lot easier to run around and have fun with tall people if you don’t have the additional disadvantage of wearing a skirt and heels. 

5. Adventuring at Tournaments
Unfortunately I haven’t done as much of this at tournaments as I would have liked. I always had, you know, debate rounds and stuff that I had to hang around for. As an alumnus, I’ll be able to spend rounds I’m not judging either watching speeches and debates or exploring the campus. Both can be great adventures. If you want me to come watch your speech, let me know. I’d be happy to come. 
There’s nothing to be sad about concerning graduation. SAD is happy. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. But there’s plenty to be excited for about being an alumnus and I probably just got started. Is there anything you’re looking forward to especially? Maybe hearing all of my younger siblings names called at breaks and awards over and over and not just for timer recognition? :D Or making friends with me so that I save you some of my candy from the magical paradise that is the judge’s lounge? I’m telling you, it pays to make friends with alumni. I know this from experience.
I can’t wait to see you all at tournaments next year!
You’re homeschooled, but not forever.