I thought it would be a good end to the season by highlighting some of the most fun debates I saw all year. I didn’t travel this season as much as I have in years past, but I still managed to judge some excellent debaters in my region. I wrote with no particular method or order in mind, and if I left someone out, sorry! Don’t take my ramblings to heart.
Please comment below on your favorite debates and debaters from the 2014-2015 season!
Meadows Octas – Kinkaid TG v Brentwood JL
I’ll start with this debate because I already wrote a lot about it in another post, but I omitted some key reasons I liked it so much.
Kinkaid TG was hilarious. This was the start of cross-x:
Brentwood JL: Do you garner any pre-fiat offense?
Kinkaid TG: Not necessarily.
Brentwood JL: You only have offense from stopping xenotransplantations, correct?
Kinkaid TG: I guess so.
Brentwood JL: Let me be clear. Are you gonna extend your aff and say you should win from introducing some pre-fiat discussion?
Kinkaid TG: Nah man. I’m not that kind of person.
Later on, Brentwood JL tries to clarify a theory violation during his prep time:
Brentwood JL: Will you concede the violation to this theory argument about having your studies’ methodologies?
Kinkaid TG: I don’t get why you’re asking me this.
Brentwood JL: You say I have to clarify in cross-x.
Kinkaid TG: Is this cross-x?
Brentwood JL: Seriously?
This wasn’t just mean; it also lost him the debate on the spot. The theory argument that “the aff can’t say CX checks and then refuse to allow checking during prep time” is probably right, especially because it would make the 1AR immune to theory. But as it turned out, he was able to recover by a stroke of luck: The NC and 2NR speeches were phenomenal, except for the fact that they both inexplicably dropped a very clear aff spike that the aff automatically wins any weighing debate. Not a great argument, but clearly warranted and extended, and that’s enough for my ballot. Really fun debate from two top debaters.
Stanford Round 6 – Peninsula AJ v Lake Highland MC and Berkeley Round 5 – Lake Highland MC v Oakwood NM
Within a week, Lake Highland MC showed incredible some incredible range that honestly caught me by surprise. At Stanford, he went for a seven-minute disclosure bad theory strategy that was extremely techy, demonstrating excellent theory line-by-line work and depth of thought on several different micro-level theory debates. He ended up losing likely because he was on the wrong side of the issue, but I was impressed nonetheless.
The next weekend, he ran a largely pre-fiat ableism aff that used living wage as a metaphor. His skill in defending against the cap K, weighing between different roles of the ballot and explaining how the perms function almost matched his skill in the theory debate from the past week. I was shocked. That kind of flexibility is hard to come by. I also learned he’s a junior, so I’m pumped to see what we’ll get from him next year.
Golden Desert Round 6 – Oakwood JW v Del Mar AI
This debate wouldn’t mean much to anyone else (and probably not even the debaters in it!). But I remember this round because even though we’re three seasons from when I graduated, the aff debated exactly how I would have debated this resolution: plan text, big stick advantages, many different flavors of util justifications, and some framework tricks like modesty. Then, the 1AR plays defense on topicality, selects down to a couple framework justifications, and turns a means-based NC while attacking the act-omission distinction. I felt like I’d given the same speech so many times. Don’t go RVI and make it a huge theory debate, don’t get sucked into too much line-by-line that wastes time, and don’t go for too much. Just get back to the aff. It outweighs. (It always outweighs.)
Very few times have I watched a debater that made me feel like I was watching me (Palo Alto TC and Brentwood JL come to mind), and this was one of those times.
I also liked the swagger the neg showed to stick to his guns. He dumped on util and dumped on EM. At the end of the day, he did what he did best. That deserves some respect too. In elims, he went for a Wilderson K in front of me, and it nearly helped pull off an upset, but sometimes it’s better to just keep doing you.
Stanford Doubles – Peninsula JZ v Miramonte TK and TOC Round 3 Northland Christian DL v Miramonte TK
I liked watching Miramonte TK this year because he was just gonna do what he was gonna do. Ok, so he had an anthro K and some other stuff on his wiki, but didn’t we all know he just was going for Kant? They read util, he goes for Kant. They read a critical ROB, he goes for Kant. They read Kant, he goes for Kant.
I picked these two debates because the aff did a lot of work establishing a critical role of the ballot that supposedly would obviate the need for framework debate and position the judge as an educator tasked with reducing oppression…and Miramonte TK just said, “Yeah but Kant.” Respect.
Stanford Octas – Peninsula AJ v Lynbrook DW
I swear I didn’t include this debate because I’m still bitter about sitting in a debate where I made the right decision
I loved this debate as a throwback to a couple seasons ago when you really needed to have a Benatar block if you were planning on debating good framework debaters. A well-known NC strategy was NC-AC with a huge framework dump and then a couple Benatar cards on case. Not too many debaters have a great block ready to go on “life is good.” And in this debate, it showed. Peninsula AJ overlooked the Schopenhauer-style extinction good arguments on the case and they became a huge part of the 2NR. I loved it. Some people roll their eyes at these silly arguments, but at the end of the day, that’s part of debate. If you can’t justify the most basic assumptions you’ve made, then you deserve to lose. Plain and simple.
Alta Doubles – Winter Springs JL v Crossroads NS
This round was a mess, but a beautiful mess. I used 10 pieces of paper to flow it (Well, ten spreadsheet sheets, but still). Let me break it down:
1AC: Deleuze/Derrida/Baudrillard somehow coalesce to make an aff with the standard of deconstructing hyper-realities and that somehow justifies the right to be forgotten.
1NC: A constitutivism NC with the standard of “consistency with pluralist view of government legitimacy,” some kind of law bad K, a constitutivism role of the ballot hijack (?)
1AR: Somehow the responses to the aff framework triggered the creation of a new util framework, so there were several util good cards such as Nagel 86 in this speech. Huh. Okay.
2NR: Pre-emptive theory allowing the 2NR to read a new disad if the 1AR reads a new util framework. Then a new disad… And still going for everything else.
Needless to say, this debate was bizarre.
Luckily, the 2NR made a quick ethical modesty argument, which made it so much easier to resolve! No really, it did.
Golden Desert Doubles Harker SP v Lynbrook HW
I’ll end with these two young debaters who I expect to be very good for the next few seasons. I like when I am pleasantly surprised, and Lynbrook HW throwing down on 7 minutes of hegemony good/bad against Harker was very surprising and very fun. It wasn’t the best debate, but it had everything you want: Russia and China war scenarios, ten reasons extinction comes first, and making fun of Zalmay Khalilzad.
- to Oakwood JW for reading ice age turns in Damus Round 3. Rick Brundage once told me ice age was only the 4th worst argument I’d ever made in front of him… Don’t ask what the other three were.
- to Interlake AL for going hard for util in Stanford Round 4 against La Canada AZ. It didn’t work out, but it was a bold move.
to LAMP RR for out-Kanting Del Mar in CPS Doubles. You don’t see that too often.
to Peninsula JL for convincing me that “creating the body without organs” was basically the same as presume consent. For about a second.
to Renaissance NS for winning on speed bad against a very solid opponent in Alta Round 1.
to Gig Harbor CA for a ballin’ Nietzsche aff that inspired me to waste a few weeks reading Nietzsche.
to San Marino NL for combining anthro and anti-blackness into one very cool aff.
to Del Mar KK for waiting for the pitchforks.
Thanks for a great season everyone! See you this summer or next fall.
Bob co-directs Premier Debate, coaches his alma mater Loyola High School and debates on the NDT/CEDA circuit for the USC Trojan Debate Squad. His students earned 32 TOC bids in his first two years coaching. At USC, Bob qualified to the NDT and cleared at CEDA. At Loyola, Bob earned 11 bids and was a TOC finalist.