Mar 14, 2009

king of Extemp Prep

You think you know everything there is to know about running extemp prep, but every tournament is going to present its own unique challenges.

Today, for example, at the Washington State IE Tournament, I was asked at 7:39 if I could run the extemp room, starting at 8:00. Sure, I said. What I didn't know: the usual location, a lecture hall, was take up by some kind of conference, so all 60-odd extempers and their massive tubs of evidence were crammed into one tiny, echo-y classroom upstairs. Luckily another was available across the hall, so I split 3A and 4A in two, figuring I could monitor both groups pretty easily.

But there still wasn't enough space. One team camped out in the hall for the first round. It wasn't working. Eventually we cleared a third classroom next door, so in all, I'm running three prep rooms at the same time.

I'm amazed it's working.


Joseph Nusz said...

Congratulations on making that work, but I've seen even more grim situations.

The Oklahoma state tournament and NFL qualifiers are both held at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Extemp traditionally enjoys a massive conference room for the draw. But LD debaters were given the honor of conducting rounds in the dorms which were scheduled to be demolished.

The rooms (or better, "cells") consisted of enough space to hold a desk, twin bed, and one person with a considerable amount of cabin fever. During the round they contained, at maximum capacity, one judge, two debaters, and one spectator.

Oh, and most didn't have chairs.

Jim Anderson said...

I remember extemp rounds at Pacific Lutheran University, back in '95 or so, that were held in tiny sound-proof practice rooms. The piano took up most of the space. The judge sat on the bench and the speaker stood in the corner, unable to move.

At the same tournament, impromptu took place in a gymnasium full of curtain dividers. If you were able to hear above the din, you could listen to the speaker in the adjoining "room" to figure out what one of your topic choices was. (A few of the panels didn't even have dividers--just chairs set up on a wrestling mat, with about twenty feet in between.)

The things we do for Forensics.