Power Judging

The San Diego fires have put a damper on the National Invitational Tournament of Champions (NITOC). With Cal State San Marcos closed, over 500 families from across the country are having to adjust to perhaps the wackiest nationals schedule ever.

Pictured: my NITC campers having fun the day before competition. As you can see, the fires have made things rough.

Pictured: my NITC campers and coaches having fun the day before competition. As you can see, the fires have made things rough.

Thank God that the best tournament directors in the nation are in charge. No offense to all the other TDs in the nation, but sorry, Craig and Julie Smith are big shoes to fill. I sincerely believe they are the most punctual, efficient, wise directors in the nation.

With the college closed and no other facility available, the Smiths were forced to move the tournament to other facilities one day at a time, and they readjusted the schedule to stack up the day specific to events. It’s complicated, but the best decision in light of the circumstances.

Here’s what I’m doing to contribute to the situation: I’m power judging.

I came up with this idea with Travis Herche, a friend and fellow solopreneur who has developed an impressive coaching Skyping business. I don’t think it has ever been done, and I don’t believe there will ever be another opportunity to do it, but we’re gonna try.

Tuesday we have six consecutive preliminary debate rounds, and we’re going to judge every single round. This is possible when there are speech rounds in between to pad the day, but we think this is possible without the padding. Here’s how.

  1. Pick up a ballot. From what I hear, they are going to be somewhat desperate to find judges.
  2. As the debaters are debating, fill out the ballot. I have seen judges wait till the judges lounge to do this, but I always do it during the round. Not the RFD (reason for decision), but the boxes with individual debater feedback.
  3. For me, I can often make my decision after the 1NR in either type of debate. If the Negative isn’t winning by then, seldom do they win my ballot. I could start writing RFDs by then.
  4. We’re at Nationals, so is there really an elaborate need for constructive feedback? Other than the coffee and cookies back at the judges’ lounge, I have very little reason to take my time filling out a ballot with intricate details on how the debaters can improve for next time.
  5. Same with the RFD. I’ll resort to a simple three reasons why one team was over another. Most rounds are clear win/losses for me, so unless I really feel compelled to ponder the decision, I’m writing a simple RFD and grabbing the next ballot.
  6. Turn in ballot…grab a new one…go.

I’m giving this a try, and I’ll be posting my developments on Facebook and Twitter. Judges will be slim pickings because of the San Diego fires, so this is time to rise to the challenge. I believe it can be done.

And if you’re in San Diego County, I hope to see you there! Come judge at NITOC.