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Monday, October 18, 2004


Note: If you are related to me, or are in any way associated with a group who might in the future consider me for any sort of position of authority, stop reading now. I'm not even kidding.

I don't normally write about debate tournaments here, because a) they're incredibly boring to nondebaters, and b) I try as hard as possible not to let it get out that I am an active and loyal member of a debate team. This weekend is an exception simply becuase it happened to have a number of things which can be appreciated absent knowing specifics about the activity. Also, pictures.

I drove up with Chris and Robbie from William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I mention the school and location simply becuase it's important to note that the distance from there to Harvard is roughly six hundred miles. It's a more modest four hundred and thirty from College Park, though the drive is still significant. We left on thursday so we could stay over in New York City at a midtown apartment we were hijacking from Chris' dad. After some confusion about the way in which streets work, we arrived at the place, invited some people over, and had a mini party.

As many people I know are aware, when I drink at all I get slightly irrational. Over the course of the night, we tried to stack three people on top of one another, as well as other various types of stacking. In defense of my future political career, the latter three were done in the persuit of a question of science. Other pictures are, regrettably, utterly inexplicable.

The next morning, bright and early, we headed out. This was significant only insofar as it involved my randomly taking pictures of two girls who were wearing jeans and jean jackets. This prompted a man on the corner to the left of the picture to get pointlessly animated. So we drove away. Really fast. We got to Harvard early as hell, ate in Cambridge, and then the actual rounds started.

For those people who are not conversant in debate procedure, each round one side proposes a case, and then the other side tries their little hearts out to beat it. This weekend, I was debating with Christian from NYU (same guy I got to Smith finals with.) This tournament was odd insofar as all five of our rounds were interesting for one reason or another, but there was no single round which stuck out. We didn't have a particularly difficult draw, which was all well and good, but it's always sort of unfortunate to spend two days at a tournament (especially one you hiked to Medina for) to not have any really good rounds.

The only interesting part came in octofinals (Harvard had 159 teams, and the top 16 broke to elimination rounds). We were debating against the same team we had just seen in our fifth round. This was odd to us since we had been under the impression that we were speaking reasonably well, so presumably we were high in our bracket, and if we won our last round the other team should not be breaking. So I went to our fifth round judge and asked him if he had picked us up, and he very clearly intimated that he had. This is notable since the leader of the opposition, after we presented the case, started his speech by saying (paraphrasing), "We just beat these guys last round, it's cool that we get to beat them a second time."

Needless to say, they did not win that round either.

In the end, we were 5th team, I was 5th speaker, and we had a team from our school who was 5th novice team. Nice symmetry.

On our way back, karma caught up with us. Traffic snagged us (at 1 AM, no less) in Conneticut and it ended up taking five hours to go from Harvard to Manhattan. It's good that we weren't planning on going all the way back that night, becuase there was a ninety-someodd car accident north of Baltimore and we would have had to sleep in the van given everyone's sleep situation (namely, none of us had in a few days.) Then came the real bitch. I took this picture randomly becuase I found the neon signs and promises of Amish espresso funny. It was taken at 10:03 AM. This picture was taken at 12:15 AM. In two hours, we went twenty blocks. Note the addresses. Note how they're not that different.

All in all, it ended up taking nine hours to drive from NYC back to my house in Maryland. In the course of the trip, I did some class reading and also dismantled one of my trophies. One of those was a mistake, and I stand by my MacGuyverlike trophy prowess.

cranked out at 3:28 AM | |

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