Lodi High was buzzing all day Saturday. Everywhere you looked, suited students could be seen talking to themselves, gesturing to imaginary audiences and scrambling with purpose through the hallways, only to stand motionless at a classroom door before entering at the sound of applause. Others huddled with resources of all types, compared notes, and staged for marching orders.
Over at the library, scores of adult judges (many you’d recognize from the grocery store and others who sat quietly with the magisterial glare of a Gwin Mitchell Paden) received classroom assignments … all well versed in rules of evidence, cross-examination, rebuttals and the use of hand signals.
Like most of us, my debating skills were developed at a young age when I’d strategically separate Mom from Dad and work them over with various persuations until one would cave in and leave the decision to the other. That’s when I’d go for the “kill” and convince the standing adult that they were the only one separating me from true happiness. It worked every time.
Well, those were the old days. “Tournament Debate” is very specialized with sophisticated forms of argument I’d never heard of: “Public Forum Debate”, “Parliamentary Debate”, “Policy Debate”, “Lincoln-Douglas Debate”, and my new favorite, “Humorous Interpretation”.
If you’d like football without the bruises, baseball without the spitting, or boxing without the blood, then you’d love Tournament Debate.