(This is the second post in a series begun with http://www.debatecoaches.org/discussion-tournament-judge-management/.)
I’m going to make a simple assertion: if debate tournaments didn’t exist, most students wouldn’t debate. Yet from the point of view of education, most of the value derived from debate is in the preparation and not the actual competition. Other competitive activities might make comparable claims, but I’d question them. I absolutely believe in the various benefits of athletics, for instance, but nevertheless I see no great benefit to the practice of pitching baseballs if there isn’t going to be a baseball game this weekend, whereas studying philosophy or geopolitics or economics has value regardless of this week’s debate calendar. This makes debate competition an unusual animal in that, while the competition per se is all about winning, virtually everything else about the activity is not.
Be that as it may, and I could ramble on forever about the inherent values of debate, when it comes to tournaments, it is all about the competition. Once you commit to the idea of having competitions, the competitions have to be real and meaningful. The following is a probably not complete but nonetheless essential list of principles for tournament management:
- Debate tournaments need [...]
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