Cat (willowisp) wrote,

Forensics Tournament #1 2010-2011

Today I judged in my first speech and debate tournament in NM. I had competed while in high school in upstate NY, and judged a few times during college breaks. I always meant to get into it again once Andy and I settled down, but I only got around to it after getting back from Oswego. I contacted the NM representative in May or June, when the academic year was over, but that just means I'll hopefully make all the tournaments this year.

My first round was an event called "spar" which I don't remember from my forensics days. According to the woman running the tournament, it's not an official NFL (that's National Forensics League) event, but one which is meant to introduce students to debate. The format is to pick a topic from an envelope, with topics like "School should run year round" or "Students receiving a grade lower than C should be removed from all electives and put into remedial classes" or, the one which amused me most, "Teachers should be banned from using red ink." Then, flip a coin for affirmative and negative. Affirmative gives a four-minute talk on her case, then is cross-examined by Negative for two minutes. Negative then gives his four-minute speech and is cross-examined by Affirmative. Then both give a three-minute rebuttals/wrap-ups.

I had two ballots, but one of the participants didn't show up, so that one was easy; the one who showed won by default. The two who did spar were pretty badly mismatched; Affirmative slaughtered Negative. The odd thing is, personally I'm in the negative camp on the topic in question, but the affirmative speaker, while not changing my mind, did have the better arguments.

The second round I did was more familiar territory, duo interpretation, which I dabbled in in high school. There were some significant differences, in that these were novice-level. There was a lot more movement, the students did a lot of scene changes, and judges could, at our discretion, give hand signals to tell them when they were close to time. Actually this ended up not being much of an issue, because most of the scenes were five-eight minutes in a ten-minute limit. Only one went over, though it was by three minutes.

There two other judges in the room and seven duos, plus an observer. Fortunately there were three really good sets and the other four had more room for improvement, so assigning first, second, and third were not as hard as when everyone is at about the same level. If people are more interested in reading about individual pieces and their presenters I could do a locked post, but since this one is public I won't be going into more detail about what worked and what didn't.

Although I had talked to the NFL contact for NM, I wasn't counted as being affiliated with any school since I had no contact with her school's team. That may not be the case in the future. The school which held the tournament turned out to be really close to home, and when the director heard I had done extemporaneous speaking in high school, she asked if I wanted to help out her students. They haven't had any extempers for a few years, and now she has a few who might be interested. I'm not so sure I could coach it, but she really seemed excited so I'll give it a shot.
Tags: forensics
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