At this weekend's Mundt Debate Tournament at Madison HS, I judged dramatic interp, oratory, Lincoln-Douglas, and policy. Here's a sampling of interesting things I heard:
- One interper offered a stage rendition of Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart," complete with really creepy ventriloquized heartbeat sound. Neat trick!
- An orator said she visited her grandparents in China last year. She was trying to concentrate on listening to their arguments about Communism, but she was distracted by all the fireworks, which apparently have only recently been re-legalized in the country of their birth. Freedom marches on... ;-)
- The champion extemper won Mundt by explaining that China's stimulus program is all about energy and infrastructure, with a focus on connecting the outlying poverty-bound rural areas that haven't shared in the country's explosive economic growth. Brilliant speech!
- One young man based his argument against an international court on Robert Bork's contention that "international law" is an illegitimate construct used by the leftist American intelligentsia "to attack the morality of its own government and society." He won my ballot (take that, Sibby!).
- In response to an alternative energy plan that sought to strengthen the American economy and lessen the chance of international chaos and nuclear war, two young women argued that the harms of nuclear war are greatly exaggerated. These same two young women also argued that the affirmative plan would be a disaster because it would cause electric rates to rise 4%.
- Madison's Rod Goeman dropped in to judge some Public Forum debate. Word in the tab room is that he couldn't say enough about how much fun he had judging... and how smart the kids he heard were!
Friday night by a nervous Sioux Falls debater (or so says my SiteMeter), the Mundt Curse says that if you win at Mundt, you won't qualify for Nationals. Now I'm not fully clear on the folklore here: I'm not sure if the curse extends to all events or just Policy debate. I would welcome perspectives in the comment section here.
But let's look at a couple recent tournaments:
- 2006 Mundt Policy Champs Emily Van Gerpen and Hannah Alsgaard of Yankton (I judged that final!) qualified for Nationals.
- 2006 Mundt Lincoln-Douglas Champ Shana Conklin of Aberdeen Central qualified for Nats.
- 2007 Mundt Policy Champs Josh Oppenheimer and Kyle Powers of Sioux Falls Lincoln qualified for Nats.
- 2007 Mundt L-D Champ Alicia Enterman of Vermillion did not qualify for Nats.
Update 11:36 CST: Oh yeah, and that overwhelmed custodial staff who are "already tapped out with cleaning and locking up the high school and middle school Friday night"? They didn't sound overwhelmed to me. As a matter of fact, while the debates raged, MHS custodians had time to hit the gym and shoot some hoops. See? Hosting a debate tournament can be fun for everyone.