Debate Qualfiers

Saturday, February 08, 2020 - By: Mr Neil Bryant, Debate Coach

It is a very satisfying thing to judge some of your own debate students at a tournament - students you have just finished coaching for this important event merely the day before. It is not good enough to have students trot out the same logical points they worked on in class because their opponents have similarly convincing points to match up to them, not to mention the fact that their coaches have already heard some of these points in practice.

Rather, debaters such as Phoebe K and Spencer W needed to break out of that ‘iron cage’ of rationality and inhale spirit and imaginative content into those ideas, puffing them up into lifelike forms that opposing teams can apprehend and be convinced by, like the mise-en-scene of a staged Star Wars film.

From the grade 8 classroom, far far away to the Arts Building, argument-sensitive younglings from all over the world assemble in the debate-training temple, learning how to wield a logical fallacy, and feel the force … of logical analysis in the third fine art block rotation Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Senior Jedi, such as Kennedy M and Callum M take on these cherubs, who barely remember life before Emperor Trudeau, and give them enough content, skill development, and practice to fashion novice debaters out of them worthy of the braided tag of hair we hope they each will one day sport.

At the crack of 7:15 in the morning, feeling like old Ben Kenobi leading a raggle-taggle band of Ewoks and a few young padawans off to a more dangerous part of the galaxy, the dreaded Mal-a-hat was braved. In an old yellow Old Republic Dreadnought-class heavy cruiser (no offence Brentwood transportation) it seemed a full twelve parsecs until we dropped out of hyperspace in front of Glenlyon Norfolk School, in the Proxima Victoria system, the site of our contest.

The competitive prompt for the novices at this year’s Vancouver Island Regional Debate Tournament was Be it Resolved That (BIRT) Wifi be considered a basic human right. For the olders initiates, the prompt was BIRT that the telecommunications monopoly be broken up. At the end of four rounds of debate, five teams stood out from the rest.

Sebastian EG and Katie L placed second in the novice category. Lisa M and Eamon R placed first in juniors, Edward L and Kameel A placed second in juniors and Caiden T and Piper D placed third, also in juniors. Erik O and Ben R placed third in seniors, Olivia S and Chiara L placed sixth in seniors. As the force is strong with all these families, they all qualified for Provincials, to be hosted at St. George’s School, Vancouver at the end of February.

Considering that Lisa M had such a horrible bout of Cardooine Chills (aka influenza) I had expressed concern that she would be able to make it through the entire day, let alone finish as the top individual speaker in the junior category.

She found my lack of faith disturbing.

Mr Neil Bryant, Debate Coach

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