Monday, November 12, 2007

UBC 2007

I got on the bus to head to UBC on Wednesday around noon. We did two practice debates and watched movies on our 13 hr trip. As we got closer to Vancouver, it started to remind me of Houston. First, it's sprawling, so we went through an area that looked like Fry/ Mason/ 99 and I-10. Second, it was humid and there was no snow. Calgary doesn't have green grass or leaves currently. Once we got into the city part, it was so different. We got onto East Hastings, and the first thing I thought of was, "This is where Insite is." (See previous post if you don't know what Insite is) I know we drove by it, because we followed it all down to West Hastings, and Insite is at East Hastings and Main Street, but I didn't see it. At one point, we came upon a large building on a corner with a crowd of homeless people in front of it. A lot were sitting on the steps, or talking in clumps. It was just so sad to see these things exist, though we hear about them all the time. When we arrived at the hotel at 12:45, I was in a room with Danielle (my debate partner), Corrine, and Alana. We crashed immediately.

The next morning we woke up, showered, and headed down for breakfast and did workshops. We prepped practice impromptu debates, and the like. For lunch we headed to UBC's SUB, and then for a tour around the campus with some time at the bookstore. Then, we went to West Point Grey to do some spar rounds. The first was opp for THW decrease the voting age. The second was prop for THB parents should have the last say in their children's medical treatment (implied: rather than doctors). Danielle and I won both, although the draw was kind to us and gave us sides that were easier. At West Point Grey, they had a piano, so between rounds we had a miniconcert, which was a lot of fun. That night when we got back, we prepared for our prepared rounds (see previous post). Danielle and I hadn't worked on it that much, so that was a nice time for us. Then we did improv games and headed to bed.

Friday morning, we did more workshops and went to Granville Island. It's reminds me of Kemah, only more artsy and less gaudy. We played with the seagulls, who tried to take our food, and wandered the shops. There was one store with a lot of neat scrapbooking and journal supplies. Then we headed to UBC, and sat in the museum of anthropology and worked some more. It was so nice and peaceful in there. Then we headed to one of the buildings for the briefing and the two prepared rounds.

Judging works as follows: a horrible debate is a 35- this cannot be given without justification. An average debate is 39, and "God's lawyer" gets 43- this cannot be given without justification as well. For the team score you add the two speaker scores together (so the range is 70-86).

First we competed prop for THW support safe injection sites. We got our ballots back on the way home, so I'll summarize it here: Judge 1: we got 79.5, opp got 76. "The gov managed to bring out the central points for their side. Opp touched on some possible important arguments, but they were not properly expanded on." Judge 2: we got 79, opp got 76. "POI well taken by gov. opp time wasted (1 min)" Judge 3 (loony bin): we got 77, opp got 78. "gov: good organization, the final segment of PM [my job for this one] was nicely done, but should not include rebuttals (MY JOB AS THE PM IS THE REBUTTAL). opp: not good conclusion, opposition team provided... sources (we're not required to). LO, despite a slow start was able to return to his situation after a timing error by judge (was able to summarize points in 3 minutes and expanded in next 5 minutes) [no, I don't recall he did. He finished early, but whatever.]

Next, we competed opp for THW support safe injection sites. The judge's writing is very faint, so I can't make much of it out- they got 77.5 and we got 77. Close debate. The comments included, "PM (gov team) good sign posting, MO [my job for this one] I liked how you started with how other groups are covering needs: don't need Safe injection sites, but then got caught up in gov subsidies which is a good point but not shown convincingly. LO [Danielle]: try to go for general concept over specific examples if possible. Harm for society vs. harm for user."

We were proud of how we'd done for those two. That night, I was laying in bed, unable to sleep, watching the glow of the city from the window, when I heard a loud bang. I swear it was a gunshot. Part of me wanted to go to the window and see what happened, but the logical side knew that I was safest in the bed, on the 5th floor. There was no way at that angle that I could get hurt from the street. I listened for a little, and sure enough, a couple minutes later, there were sirens. They were brief, but close. It was a little unnerving. It made me comfortable that we had moved to Calgary rather than Vancouver. Our downtown is still quite safe.

Saturday morning, we packed and dressed for debate. First, we went to the beach and enjoyed the view. It was so peaceful, and the waves sounded so nice. Then back at UBC, our first debate was prop THW ban child beauty pageants. We talked about the immodesty issue, how these girls were dressing up to be older than they are, and the effect of that later in life. We talked about how it exposed them to pedophiles, and, obviously, eating disorders, and how Miss N Carolina, who doesn't know Iraq is not "the Iraq," is not a good role model. Opposition countered with how they teach advertising skills (ex: Tyra Banks) and confidence, as well as a focus on the talent aspect. We talked about how the talent aspect can be shown in other competitions (aka, talent shows) and the only separation between this and beauty pageants is the beauty aspect, which is what we're trying to get rid of. We won, 79.5 to 76. Comments were: "Good arguments on both sides, opposition confused with points at times. gov effectively used POI."

Next, we were Opp for THW reserve seats in parliament for aboriginals. I don't like ones like this, because I don't know enough about Canadian gov yet, but it's the basic rigged election/morality aspects you focus on. The guys we debated against were good speakers, but the judge said their points were repetitive (rather than 3 distinct points, they overlapped). They focused on the harm done to the natives in the past, and the compensation needed. Then they talked about the current prejudices, and their inability to get appointed now. We took that to our advantage, and pointed out that by proposing this bill, they are definitely implying that they are unable to get appointed now, and the natives are insulted (if they are not implying that, then what is the purpose of proposing the bill?). We also talked about tension between other races, and how we've been unfair to Germans and Japanese during WWII. Then we went on about the point of democracy is nobody has a guaranteed seat, and it's representations of views, not races, that counts. We won, 79 to 77. Comments included "solid clash came too late in the round on gov whereas opp dealt well with gov's case easily."

At this point we thought we were doing well. Our competition was getting harder, which, because the meet was bracketed, meant we were doing decent to good. Then we received the resolution for gov (prop) THW boycott the Olympics in China. I'd done this resolution tons of times, but always on opp. Furthermore, when I was madame speaker for North American championships, I watched David Miko and Justen Russell (who went on to win North American championships) debate this as opposition, and they kicked proposition butt. I really had no idea the best route to take. We headed upstairs to start prepping, and in walked... you guessed it.... David Miko and Justen Russell. I froze. I knew their opposition case for this was foolproof- I'd seen it as an impartial judge. I was actually so anxious, I forgot to take off my converse, which I had been wearing around, and switch to heels, until halfway through my debate.

I really don't remember much about our case. We did the obvious- China has failed to recognize human rights violations in the past, the environment is unsanitary, and the Olympics should be presented as an award for a country that is successful politically, environmentally, etc. They came back with their engagement plan (which I knew was coming), that this time with them in the spotlight is to be taken to our advantage. Engaging them is the best way to do this. Plus, they're getting better environmentally and politically because of the coming Olympics. The thing about debating them is they are good debaters, and seem like nice guys (we talked to them a little afterwards), but they are ruthless in debate. When they stand up for POIs, they have that smirk on their face like, "did you really just say that?" and at one point David actually said, "We don't believe the propositions points are realistic, and we don't think they believe they are either." I just glared. No I don't think the reasons behind boycotting China are viable, but I'm assigned to debate it. That's just harsh. Score: us: 77, them 80.5

They went on to win UBC as well. We got 24th out of 74, with a score of 392. Then I got 52nd out of 148 speakers, and Danielle got 70th. Overall, I think we did a good job.

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