Jun 19, 2009

NFL debate finals: taking the good with the bad

First, the really good: I have a lot more hope for Public Forum as an event. I think the 2-minute summary speech is a travesty, but the top two teams at NFL Finals today acquitted themselves well in a lively and very close round. I would have voted Con because the Pro team appeared to lose a little composure, dropping the ball on the Con's objection that the hardline regime would get most of the benefits of a financial influx. (Pro didn't extend the impacts of soft power, either, or fully rebut the charge that the Castro regime is inimical to any sort of cooperation with the U.S.)

Second, the good: the LD round, in which the right to life (or, as was ceded in cross-ex, autonomy) clashed with the balance of rights and responsibilities. (The resolution: military conscription is unjust.) It was a thought-provoking examination of the claims the state has--or doesn't--on the lives of its citizens. I was edging Aff, but without flowing, and since the round was so tight, I'm not sure who would've ended up with my vote.

Third, the surprising: not one speaker mentioned the importance of Birmingham to the civil rights struggle, either in a speech or an introduction.

Fourth, the surprisingly bad: the policy final was a huge letdown. My PuFo team wanted to see what the event was like, and I don't think they got the best representative round. There were lots of zingers, but the quantity of wit didn't match the quality of argumentation. The Negative's reliance on "political capital" insolvency and the standby nuke war disadvantage, as well as their apparent ignorance of some basic biological concepts, matched up with the Aff's underdefended salmon depletion claim and altogether too narrow approach to the benefits of "VIVACE" power, made for an unnecessarily murky round. I'd have voted Affirmative for not insulting my intelligence.

Coming soon: the results!

Update: Since the official word's not in yet, I'm going with Victory Briefs' reportage.

Policy: Damien HS's Hernandez and Quinn (on the Neg)
LD: Shivani Vohra - Hockaday (on the Neg)
PuFo: Robert Kindman & Josh Zoffer from Durham, NC (on the Neg--see a pattern?)


TeacherRefPoet said...

Who were the PuFo judges? The usual assemblage of 4-diamond coaches and sponsors, or did they actually put some lay judges on the panel?

Jim Anderson said...

From my memory, there weren't any lay judges.

In discussions with other PuFo judges during the semi-final wait-to-jump-in-the-pool, it was generally believed that the days of lay judges are pretty much over at the national level.

TeacherRefPoet said...

I hereby declare that there is no such thing as "Public [sic]" Forum debate at the National level.