willowisp: (Default)
The final forensics tournament of this school year was held between Thursday and Saturday this past week/weekend. I ended up judging eight rounds altogether. None of those eight were repeated. All in all I judged domestic extemporaneous speaking, duo, dramatic interpretation, humorous interpretation, international extemporaneous speaking, Lincoln-Douglas debate, original oratory, and public forum, so only two debates -- not bad.

Extemp is done differently than when I was in HS -- back then, extemporaneous was one category; now it's/they're domestic and international extemps. Amusingly enough, I was discussing that with another judge, and she noted that when she did extemp, there were two categories: men's and women's. She graduated in '83, so that changed sometime before I competed in '88-'89. Also new: in the finals, at least of domestic extemp, one of the other competitors had three minutes to question the speaker.

There was one thing I found disconcerting about domestic extemp. I'm not sure if every single draw was Obama-related, but the six speeches we ended up hearing were all Obama-specific. I remember that when I did extemp they certainly asked questions about the sitting president, but also about other issues of the day. One I remember in particular was whether The Last Temptation of Christ should be banned. I mostly remember because I mentioned in my speech that I probably wouldn't get a chance to see it due to the protests, and the judge told me after the round that it was showing in a nearby city.

I've mentioned in a previous post how Duo was different. DI and HI are pretty much the same as they were back then, except that as I recall we had to remain stationary except for shifting to face different directions for each character. Now the students have about a three foot radius in which they can move about.

I'm not sure whether these differences are due to time, location, or faulty memories. Several judges who come from different areas have said that NM forensics are not like theirs, and one who was from the east coast and then Texas said that all three differed somewhat. I don't remember OO existing when I competed, though it could be that no one at our school competed in that particular event, or if someone did, I've forgotten. It's an interesting event, any which way. There's also an event which appears not to have survived, or which doesn't have enough interest in NM: oral interpretation. Although I never competed in OI, I miss it.

All of the rounds I judged save for one had panels of judges; three in the early rounds and five in the later for speech events, and a panel of three for LD finals. Public forum was the exception, and it's my guess that it didn't need multiple judges since it's a beginner event which isn't represented in nationals.

So long as they'll have me, I plan on judging next school year as well. Even though I still don't like debate, I enjoyed judging this year. Now I just need to figure out to do with my Saturdays until September.
willowisp: (Default)
Yesterday was the final forensics fiasco of the calendar year, though their official years follow the traditional school year. I skipped the prior two due to the length of commute. I also overslept for this one, so got there late, but not too late to judge four rounds.

My first round was some sort of debate; not public forum. I must have still been a bit sleepy because I can't really remember anything except that there were teams of two making the arguments. Then I judged finals duo, then semi-finals of public forum, then finals of Lincoln-Douglas. The topics for this month were interesting, at least for the two debates I remember.

Oddly enough, I had only seen one of the duo acts before; all of the others were new to me. As usual, it was hard to decide between second and third, but the first place really outshone the rest. And after third place everyone is fourth, so I didn't have to rank the others. I'm glad I don't have to give anyone last place, technically. Of course, judges aren't allowed to discuss the round, so I have no idea if the others agreed. I'm also glad there are two other judges so that I'm not singly responsible for the outcome.

I know there are some forensics distance-learning courses, but I can't remember whether they're for coaches or judges. Maybe I'll look into them over the holiday lull. I'm not sure if any coach positions are open, and if so, whether the school would be close enough for me to take the position, and of course whether I was qualified. If I take an online course, though, maybe I'd be a little more confident of my qualifications since they wouldn't just be "competed in speech in high school".
willowisp: (Default)
Holy cow was that high school huge. Spread it out a bit and add dorms and it might have been Oswego, if not slightly larger.

Yesterday was the fourth tournament of this school year. Observation: this seems to be a debate-heavy zone. Second observation: A lot of the judges, including me, don't like judging debate. I ended up judging two novice debates, then a varsity LD (all with the same topic. I'm so glad it changes from month-to-month). Then, despite myself, I finally volunteered to judge another debate round because they had no one else eligible to. It wasn't one I remember from high school, called public forum (puff), which is sort of like tag-team LD lite.

In the first round I voted affirmative for both flights, the second negative, and the third one and one. In the fourth I voted one and one as well.
willowisp: (Default)
Today was the third tournament of the year, and happened on the other side of the Sandias from us. It was a very pretty ride, especially where the mountains were not pockmarked with houses. As far as I can tell I've really only driven by the mountains once, on the way to ABQ from Chapel Hill, and that time I was too exhausted from the marathon 3-day drive and looking forward to just getting there that I didn't appreciate the scenery.

It was held in a charter school, and holy cow was it different from anything I remember from my speech and debate days or that I've encountered while judging. There were more than enough (not too many, mind; I don't think there are ever too many) judges, most of whom were parents from the school. They'd even had a training session on judging. Lunch was provided for the judges, which isn't unusual, but most of it was home-cooked food donated by the parents. It was really amazing to see the parental involvement at the event.

I judged in two rounds; in another first for me I did Lincoln-Douglas debate (LD) in the first round. The round involved two sets of students debating the same topic. I ended up giving the first win to negative and the second win to affirmative. I also discovered my phone had not been charged and the stopwatch was therefore inoperative. Question for iPhone users: is there any way to keep the screen from going idle-dark when in stopwatch mode? I've tried upping the idle-out time when using the stopwatch prior to this, to no avail.

The second round I got really lucky and judged the finals in duo. This was far closer to the duo I remember than in the first tournament this year. From what I remember (and this could just be faulty memory), duo used to be strictly one scene, with participants not allowed to move around or make eye contact with one another. In the versions I've seen here, there are myriad scenes with cuts denoted by turning, trading places, or taking steps away, and with eye contact allowed during the transitions.

The duo I judged in the first tournament was for novices, and in addition to being jarring with all the moving around, they also had abrupt cuts and an excess of motion. Today's group, who not only were not novices but who were also the best four, were far more restrained and had smoother cuts. There was a clear fourth place team, the first place team was half-a-step above the others, and second and third were very difficult to decide between. Not even one more second for one team and they would have had points docked for going over time, which would have made the decision easier. As it was, they ended up at 29.1 seconds into the grace period of 30 seconds.

Since they had so many judges, they decided not to allow a person to judge the same event twice. The final round was exclusively LD, so those of us who had judged it in the first few rounds were allowed to go home early.
willowisp: (Default)
I forgot to post about last week's tournament, but since there isn't one this week, I'm doing it now.

Last week was student congress. I had never participated or judged anything even remotely like it, and in retrospect I wish I had known it was novices I was judging. Since the post is unlocked I won't go into any of the bills they debated, except to say that there were a lot of current hot-button issues.

Oddly enough, given the way I ranked/scored, it would look like I'm politically oriented almost exactly the opposite way from reality. I'm not sure if I'm just harder on "my side", or if the arguments were just more eloquent for the other side, or something completely different.

Among the snacks being sold by the hosting school were caramel apples. They apparently grossly overestimated how many they would need, so on the way out they gave me one. When I made an offhand comment about Andy approving, they gave me a second one for him. I could learn to live with this.
willowisp: (Default)
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.

The rounds I judged. )

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.


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