Sunday, July 28, 2013

Actually Judging for Real

If you liked the SCHSADKL Facebook page (which you should), you may have seen something kind of neat pop up on your feed. It was this:

iced coffee<3<3

At first you may be thinking, "Ah, the classic coffee drink turned with the name visible, two different-colored pens, a flowpad turned sideways and HOLD ON IS THAT A BALLOT."

Yes. Yes it is.

Exciting, right? I know!

Backstory: I went to a camp recently where I was finally old enough to work instead of just being worked on like every other year. I was contractually obliged to judge as many rounds as humanly possible, which meant filling out TP ballots during LD prep time, as well as wishing Parli had prep time. It was so super fun from beginning to end.

Because at the beginning, they ask you for your judging philosophy. Sometimes. They usually forgot. But I was able to tell a few LDers to make sure they prove the resolution true or false, and a few TPers not to get overly technical on me. And do you know how fun that is because that is fun. Then they shake your hand and ask if you are ready. And they ask if you are ready before every single speech and frequently Cross-Ex even when you nod before they ask to indicate that you are, in fact, ready, but they apparently feel the need to double-check.

Then they start speaking and I, the judge, start flowing, of course. I also reach into my bag and pull out a notebook in which I jot down notes to later be translated in a semi-legible penmanship to a ballot, and/or which will be read aloud because I am also contractually obliged to give verbal feedback. I try to write without breaking eye contact because I imagine they find that unnerving and so I find it terribly amusing. Then Cross-Ex, then prep time, and I can read over to ballot and ask myself things like, "Wait, was their plan to lift a moratorium on drilling oil seeps all over the whole entire US of A or just the Gulf of Mexico? Wait, is it just me or is this case structured logically backwards by assuming that because injustice leads to conflict, mitigating conflict leads to not injustice aka justice aka the value? Wait, is this iced carmel macchiato incredible or what?" or I can write things on the ballot like, "Quoting Wikipedia isn't the greatest idea" or "Thank you for making eye contact sweet little novice, keep up the great work."

This continues for a span of 5-8 speeches and then they are done and I clap and if I am also timing, because I can multitask like that (and because I judged a lot of novices and didn't want to give them too much to think about by having them self-time), I also stop the timer and then (this is great), they come up and SHAKE MY HAND and thank ME PERSONALLY ME for judging! And I glance over the ballot thinking about which side I'll circle and how happy I'll make the winner and how the loser will never be able to make eye contact with me again until they forget in a couple weeks, and how much power I have.

But I try not to let it go to my head as I make the long trek to the judge's lounge. Which was a wonderful, magical place filled with judges. Well, it was sort of magical. Okay, it wasn't. But it was fun. They had some somewhat not-melted candy. Then I find a chair and potentially a table and write and write until I have to go find the ballot push people to go judge another round. It was great fun, really. Especially judging finals. Again, so much power.

So, there you have it. Actually judging for real. Good stuff. We like it.

You're homeschooled, and non-judgmental unless you graduated.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ranking Speech Categories According to Coolness- Ian Caffarel

(This guest post is from Ian Caffarel who's been competing in speech and debate for two years. He says it's very cool and is a huge part of his life, and he also enjoys classic rock. Enjoy! Want to write a guest post? Click here.)

So I’ve competed for two years in Speech (I started debate officially last year, before that, I did some Parli classes [knock knock]). I’ve done five of the 11-12 events Stoa has to offer (DI, Expos, Extemp, Impromptu, and OI), however, I didn’t really excel in them. Yet, I sort of felt that all 12 events being offered had some cool factor about them, and, after giving it some thought,  I now came up with this list, with each category getting it’s place for a reason or two explained, and see if you notice a trend.

So now, here we go:

12: Storytelling. Sort of cool, but it sort of bridges between limited prep and interp, so it is hard to decide which it fits into.

11: Persuasive. Due respect, it’s good in persuading. It’s in it’s place because there are some cool speakers, however, they are on the dark side in debate (LD, due respect to them.)

10: Original Oratory. For most of the reasons as Persuasive.

9: Dramatic. This is the first one listed that I did last year. It’s run by cool people, however, due to the difficulty of finding a piece (or coming up with one yourself) that will warrant the use of the tissues carried on the audience, it gets ranked relatively low.

8: Humorous. Cool? Maybe, as people usually gather by the crowds to watch them. However, it gets its ranking due to the difficulty finding a funny piece.

7: Mars Hill. It is cool reaching out to the nonbelievers around us, so it would deserve a higher place, but it won’t breach the top 6 due to the fact it is now being substituted for Impromptu D:

6: Duo. Great, as they are usually cool and people flock to watch them. Need I say more?

5: Open. Cooler, as they are usually great, a ton of my cool friends do them and, as if that didn’t already make it cool enough, you can write/adapt your own! Can that get better?

4: Expository. Smaller, but still run by awesome people, and I gave it runs last year and the year before that. I plan on doing better, and possibly anyone else great that will do one next year.

Now, here are the top 25%, and tell me if you notice a trend.

3: Apologetics. The defenders of the faith. These speakers have a very important job to do, so that drives the category to this high a spot in the rankings.

2: Impromptu. Cooler, as you don’t know what topics you’ll get until you set foot into the room and see them. And then you get to talk about anything you can think of that relates to the topic (for me, I usually have this rule of thumb: When in doubt, use the war, as in WWII.) Sure, the category is dead, but that won’t knock it out of it’s spot, just below the coolest speech category ever offered:

1: Extemp. Talks a lot about the news. Sure, it involves a ton of hard work, but who cares?  Because there is a HUGE cool factor that comes with it. And at the final prelim tournament last year, I used a song that I heard on YouTube as an intro. There is nothing like Extemp. Once an Extemper, always an Extemper.

So there you go, the different speech categories according to their coolness.

You’re homeschooled, and that’s cool.