So, Now What?

With the closures of schools around the country, most of our national and state championships tournaments have been canceled or moved to online formats.  For the vast majority of us, the season is over.  As a coach of a team on the circuit and a camp lab leader during the summer, I want you to know that all of the coaches are so sorry this is happening.  This sucks.  I don’t know of many other ways to properly put that.  Many of you are missing tournaments you’ve worked 4+ years toward.  Those are the tournaments that folks typically go all out for, and where seniors look forward to seeing their circuit friends one more time prior to going to college.  And for the vast majority of seniors, you were going to have the final competitive debates of your careers as you go onto bigger and better things.  It’s a time of the year that means so much to debaters and coaches, and there’s no blunting that blow.  I’m sorry.

As the country and world go through this epidemic, obviously aspects of life that are more important than debate, will and should take center stage.  However, it will be our job at HSImpact and the University of Michigan, to continue to provide you with your debate fix.  For many of us debate-nerds, debate exceeds being a hobby and is more of a way of life.  It’s our hope to provide a distraction during a time when one might be especially appreciated.

Our plan for content during this strange time:

  • Provide posts on navigating online debate, for those that are interested in learning or are participating in year-end tournaments that use online formats.
  • An end of year coaches poll — This is the time of year when we have our end of the year coaches poll, and this year will be no different.
  • Posts on next year’s topic — Criminal Justice Reform is coming and will be the topic most of you will debate next.  We’ll have preliminary content on the topic in the next few weeks.
  • Podcasts — If you are like me, you are listening to podcasts at this very moment.  We’ll be providing them, so if you have questions you’d like answered in a post or podcast, please email with your questions or suggestions.
  • Year in review — We’ve been behind on many of the second-semester tournament results posts, and we’ll spend the next few weeks catching up in an effort to celebrate all of the cool things you all did this year.  If you’d like a tournament result posted, feel free to send us a picture and we’re happy to make it happen.
  • And more! — We’re thinking about ideas for more content, so again, if you have suggestions, please send them our way.

Our heartfelt sentiments go out to all of our debate community during this dystopic time in our world’s history, but we are here to help debate move forward.  These events may help force an evolution in debate that we had not considered prior, but in whatever form it might be, we have to have debate.  The last time debate evolved substantially was after 9/11, when airline changes forced us to move to debating entirely on laptops. As a result, most of you have access to evidence on nearly every subject.  Despite gripes about flowing from us older folks, overall debate became better and stronger.  It can be expected that the changes we are developing now, may lead to similarly positive changes.

You all are many of our world’s best and brightest, and giving you an avenue to participate in the activity we love is our paramount goal.


2 responses to “So, Now What?

  1. Is there an update on the situation regarding camp this summer? if camp gets cancelled i’m literally gonna cry :((

  2. digging the article except for one point – 9/11 wasn’t the driver of the paperless debate transition – the financial collapse of 07-08 was. smaller budgets following the downturn meant that squads could no longer afford to travel with tubs. laptops, which had started to become quite cost effective ($300-500) made the choice to switch much easier.
    2009-10 was when the transition to paperless really started up.

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