Sunday, October 14, 2007

Lois Hole Tournament

This has been an amazing weekend.

Thursday at lunch, I left the school and we headed up to Edmonton. I hung out with Brittany, Kyla, and Feden on the bus, because I knew they were my roommates that night, and I had it on good authority that they were really nice. When we got to Edmonton, we stopped at Old Scona Academy and had a practice debate. My partner was Danielle, who is my established debate partner for all of eternity. Our first resolution was "This house will decrease the voting age to 16." and we were the opposition. We kicked rear. Second resolution was "This house will increase fossil fuel royalties," and we were the government. We kicked rear again.

The tricky thing about Canadian Parliamentary debate is two fold: first, there are crazy titles like Prime Minister, Member of the Crown, and Her Royal Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Second, it is about Canadian government. I nearly caught myself once about to say the United States of Canada, and trying to present an alternate way to help the environment (rather than boycotting the Olympics) as "just sign the Kyoto Protocol" (Canada has...).

Thursday night we had seminars and got to bed too late. Friday we had seminars early in the morning, and then spent the afternoon at West Edmonton Mall (like the Mall of America... or an amazingly amazing Galleria). Our group of girls (plus Jamal) hit the clearance rooms of Abercrombie, Hollister, and Forever 21, and got some really good stuff. Ex: I got a really cute Hollister shirt for $10, originally $70. Good sales. It was nice bonding time too, because we really didn't know each other, but we all had the same style and could pick stuff out for each other and give opinions, etc. That night we had a hardcore seminar at University of Alberta, hosted by the university debaters. Another late night.

This morning, we got up early (haha, our room was always the first to breakfast, and so we'd receive some cynical remarks from non-early birds) and packed/dressed up to leave. The purpose of the Lois Hole debate is personal growth, not partner growth, because for each round you are paired with a different person from a different school. I got really competitive about it eventually, but it got to the point where I wasn't too stressed and I still enjoyed it.

Our first resolution was "This house would legalize drug use in sports." We were government (yes, HARD) and our three points were first that it would make sports more entertaining, second that it would decrease the sink pool of money that athletes are by increasing the supply (therefore decreasing the cost of sports), and third is that it would help the military. I thought this was somewhat genius, partially because it was formulated from some very sketchy arguments in my brain. Think of it this way: by allowing steroid use in sports, we are making it a less taboo topic in society, and accepted by students within school athletics. Schools' purposes are to raise "the future," so therefore, the future would be more accepting of steroids. Now, if this were so, the government could use steroids in other areas, namely the military. It costs thousands of dollars (and time) for training and preparing soldiers to fight. Steroids would decrease their intermittent period. Yes, I know this is a pathetic and disgraceful argument, but quite frankly, we were desperate. We still lost, but our judge said we did a good job, and it was close.

Our second resolution was "This house supports mandatory voting." We were the opposition, and our first point was freedom of choice/convenience. Our second (my favorite and the judge's favorite) was the founding principles of Canada, and the third was environmental and economic effects (and time. Think 2000 presidential elections in FL. Now imagine if something like that happened, but the whole population of Canada voted. Ya....). I guess here I'll expand on the founding principles of Canada. I actually learned this Friday night at the U of A seminar. They are: Peace, Order, and Good government. (Ya, "good government" is an opinion, but that seems to work for Canada (?) ). So if these are the founding principles, good government implies quality of votes, not quantity, and that's how we dealt with that issue. I took a point of information really well too (where someone stands up in your speech and asks you a 10 sec question). I was talking about the freedom of choice, and how it may not be convenient for someone, because they are in the hospital, or an important CEO who has to be in Japan that weekend for something. Gov. stood up and said, "Can't these things be rescheduled?" and I said, "You can't schedule when you'll be in the hospital."

Our third resolution was, "This house will legalize burning flags." We were government. Again, HARD. How do you develop valid points about why it's ok to do that? So we took the route that the flag does not symbolize the country, but rather something that the country stands for (freedom, unity, etc.) and if someone doesn't agree with either that idea or that the idea is even being exercised in the country, then they have the right to exercise their ability to tell their government this. By doing something as dramatic as burning a flag, they are showing that something is most definitely wrong and needs to be fixed. Furthermore, if we suppress this they may still resort to dramatic expressions, but not as safe. Yes, I totally advocated that 9/11 was preventable if the terrorists had been allowed to vent through burning flags. Bologna, I know. But seriously? Burning FLAGS? I made a good POI though. Our opponents said, "If a citizen is so unhappy with their country, if all else fails, they can leave." And I stood and said, "A convicted felon is not allowed to leave Canada." :)

So it came down to where they selected 4 "novice" debaters, and 4 "open" debaters. For novice, we had Owen for our school, and for open we had Rhiannon, Kees, and Sean. We kicked general butt, even if it was our own butt (sorry Rhiannon) we were kicking. Owen was amazing, ranting about how media trains kids to think independently of their parents, rather than following "mommy and daddy." He made it sound really convincing. (The resolution was that This house would ban advertising directed at children, but because of the way the government defined advertising, it pretty much became a debate about all media).

The open debate was HILARIOUS. First off, Sean and Kees are the biggest partners in crime I have ever met. Open debates can get very "squirely" (not sure where that term came from) to where you can take the resolution, and as long as you explain how you got from one point to another, completely change it. Also, because it's the final, it's taken very lightly and more about having a good time (depending on the nature of the direction of the new resolution as well). The problem then for the opposition, is all their planning is gone from what they thought it would be to begin with, and they have to plan their new case off of, and during, the government's speech. Sean and Kees were opposition. The resolution is "This house believes that if you are not the solvent, you are the precipitant." With Rhiannon's first sentence, they simultaneously ripped their pre-planned cases out of their notepads, and tossed them over their shoulder. She went on for a while explaining her logic without explicitly stating what they were debating, talking about how precipitates stand out, pretty much wasting time for them to be planning. Then, she quickly said how nerds stand out, so the nature of this debate is who is more valuable: nerds or jocks? Very wishy washy logic, but I don't think it was too far fetched ;). Major points were that which is more valuable in the world: those who lead (the nerds) or those who follow, or the brunt work behind the plans (the jocks). Then it turned into, if the jocks were leading instead, would the world be better. A hilarious point was made of flipping coins and how then there would at least be a 50/50 chance we didn't go into Iraq (apparently, Canada REALLY hates Bush). Sean and Kees were pretty much verbally promoting, without prettying it up at all, the shoving people into lockers (as opposed to the backstabbing trickery of nerds) and communism, although I really forget how that came about. Oh, and clairvoyance. And barbarianism. And they won. They did a pretty slick job, concerning the entire room of debate nerds had prejudices. I think it came down to which side was funnier, which was a blast for our last round.

I'll be putting pictures up on Facebook, and maybe I'll stick some good ones up here tomorrow. For now, I want to go to bed and not think about the categories of effects: Political, Society, Military, Moral, Regional, Religious, Economic, and Environmental. *sigh* Sweet dreams.

Oh, I suppose I forgot to mention I got ranked 6 out of 100. : D

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