In a brilliant amalgam of rhetoric and logic, both St. Olaf teams managed to make it to the final round! After lots of weird, ambiguous discussion, we decided we probably needed as much judge feedback as possible early in the season, and so we debated (we had the option of not doing so).
Again, in the spirit of being sneaky debaters, I’m not going to really talk about how the round went specifically. However, I can attest to the things we’ve learned:
1. Judges want our plans to be more specific: Bethany Lutheran always tends to be really good about this. They include how the plan will be funded, which specific bureaus are responsible, etc. More often than not our plans tend to be one-liners, so we need to work on flushing them out. It’s not that we don’t know all of those details, we’ve just sorta let them slip by the wayside. Gotta get our “normal means” on.
2. Judges want our plans to be less specific: Confusing, I know, in relation to what I just said. Being an econ snob, I have the tendency to know some slightly obscure statistics off the top of my head. The rule in Parli is that you can’t cite sources, and so judges said that you can’t bring up stats like the ones I did since I don’t have sources. The question this poses for us is, “What’s the bright line?” If we can’t cite econ stats without sources, can we not bring up GDP growth? Unemployment? Federal debt? Similar problems come up when Raffi and Bayley run their technical foreign policy stuff. Definitely a long-term consideration for us.
3. Judges don’t like topicality. Ever. Seriously, unless you’re absolutely going to lose the other way, don’t do it. Every judge got pretty uppity about this on the ballot.
Overall, the tournament was a great experience for us. We got to get our name out there, get some really good rounds in, and all and all just had a great time! We can only hope this’ll be a signal of the season to come.
P.S. Here’s some blurry photographic evidence of our success: