Russ Tidwell

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Paradigm Statement
Last changed 18 June 2021 10:22 AM CDT

I have been the head coach at Garden City High School since 1994, and have been involved with judging or coaching debate since the mid 1980's. I have judged a LOT of debate over the years. I've judged a fair number of rounds on this topic, both at tournament and in my classroom. I will do my very best to evaluate the round that happens in front of me as fairly as possible.

Paradigm-I will default to policy making if debaters don't specifically give me another way to evaluate the debate. I tend to default to truth over tech. I want debaters to clash with each other's arguments. I have come to dislike debates where both sides read pre-prepared blocks through the 1AR, and the arguments never actually interact.

You should probably watch me for feedback. I don't hide reactions very well...

I really want the 2NR and 2AR to tell me their stories. If you choose not to do that, I will absolutely sort the debate out for you, but then you should not complain about the decision. It's your job to frame the round for me. If you don't, you force me to intervene.

Speed- I like a quick debate, but I don't get to see those as much as I used to, so if you are incredibly fast, you may want to watch me a bit to see if I'm keeping up. You'll be able to tell. I also find that I can flow much faster rate if you are making tonal differences between tags and evidence. It also helps if your tags are not a full paragraph in length...

I will sometimes ask for a flash of the 1AC and 1NC after the speeches to fill in my flow. I only do this if I need it because I missed things.

Style- I suspect that even adding this section makes me sound old, but these things matter to me:

I still think that persuasiveness matters- especially in CX and rebuttals. It's still a communication activity.

Professionalism also matters to me. I will (and have) intervened in a round and used the ballot to help a debater or a team understand that there are boundaries to the way you should interact with your opponents. This includes abusive or personally attacking language, attitude and tone. At minimum, it will cost you speaker ranks and points. To quote paraphrase a friend, I'll use my "educator pen" to help teach professionalism.

When everyone is in the room, I want to start the debate. I am not fan of everyone arriving, asking me some clarifying questions, disclosing arguments to each other, and then taking another 10-20 minutes before we begin.

Prep time/Flash time- I kind of despise prep time thieves, and I think that flashing evidence has allowed that practice to explode. If you say "I'm up", and then continue typing, that's prep. I will be reasonable about flash time, in terms of moving the files between teams, but sharing it with your partner is part of your prep. You need to be reasonable, here, too. Again, this will affect speaker points and ranks.

CX- open CX is fine. In fact, I think it often makes for a better debate. That being said, if one partner does all the asking and answering, that debater is sending a pretty important, negative message to me about how much his/her colleague is valued.

Disadvantages- Like I said, I'm a policy maker. I vote on the way that advantages and disadvantages interact more than I vote on anything else. I don't mind generic DAs, but I prefer that Neg take the time to articulate a specific link. I'm also a big fan of turns from the affirmative (or from the negative on advantages). I really enjoy a case specific DA, but they just don't happen very often. I like buried 1NC links that blow up into impacts in the block. I like impact extension/blow up in the block. I am not a fan of brand new full offensive positions in the 2NC.

Critical arguments- I don't mind a critical debate, but I think that needs to be more than "Aff links, so they lose". Critiques need to have a real, evidenced, articulated justification for my vote- either a clear alternative, or some other reason that the argument is enough to win the debate. I am willing to entertain both real world and policy level implications of the criticism. It is really important that you give me the framing for these arguments, and, specifically explain why the argument warrants my ballot. I am not well read in very much of the critical literature, so it will be important for you to explain things pretty clearly. As with other arguments, I'm pretty willing to listen to turns on these arguments.

In terms of critical affs, I believe that aff should have a plan text, and that plan text should be topical. It's a big hurdle for the affirmative if they don't start there. That being said, I am perfectly ok with critical advantage stories. Again- framing matters.

Counterplans- I'm a policy maker. I'm fine with a CP. I'm not a big fan of the theory that often gets run against a CP. I just don't find it very persuasive.

T- I will vote on T, and I don't think 2NR has to go all in in the 2NR to win it. I believe topicality is, first and foremost, an argument about fairness, and I think that it's an important mechanism for narrowing the topic. Again, I'm a truth over tech person, so I'm not very likely to vote on T simply because someone dropped the 4th answer to some specific standard. I'm not a fan of "resolved" or ":" T.

Narratives/Performance/etc- I'm just not a fan. I specifically do not like any argument that attacks anyone in the room in a personal way. I would refer you to my notes about professionalism. As for the arguments themselves, I just feel like I'm not your best judge for evaluating this style of debate, but that might be because I have never really seen a well debated round in this style.

Full Judging Record
Tournament Lv Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
KSHSAA 6A 2 Speaker State Championship HS 2022-01-14 6A Doub 22 Binshtok & Vargheese 4 Pickering & Hiebl Aff Aff 2-1
Blue and Gold Showdown HS 2021-11-02 JV R2 104 114 Neg
Blue and Gold Showdown HS 2021-11-02 JV R1 111 131 Aff
Blue Valley North Invitational HS 2021-10-15 VAR R1 Blue Valley Southwest Patel & Toman Blue Valley North Challa & Hunnicutt Aff
Wichita Southeast Buff Debate Invitational HS 2021-09-24 DCI R5 OlaNor McKeever & Wellman Sabarish Ravi Aff
National Speech and Debate Tournament HS 2021-06-07 CX Final 270 145 Neg Aff 8-5
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational HS 2020-09-18 Open Round Hayden MP Lansing KK AFF
Washburn Rural Debate Invitational HS 2020-09-18 Open R3 Pittsburg JS Blue Valley Northwest AD AFF
Panther Debate Tournament HS 2019-11-15 NOV Finals Wichita East Fowler & Mansoor Aff
Panther Debate Tournament HS 2018-11-09 JV R4 Kapaun Mount Carmel Wemhoff & Olson Hutchinson Owens & Fleming Aff
Buhler HS 2018-10-19 DCI R4 Salina South VD Blue Valley Wes DV Neg
J Matt Hill Invitational at Topeka High HS 2017-11-17 DCI R3 Derby SN Sumner MF Aff
J Matt Hill Invitational at Topeka High HS 2017-11-17 DCI R1 Shawnee Mission West EC Wichita East RN Aff
Buhler HS Crusader Classic HS 2017-10-20 DCI QF 5 BJ 12 HP Neg Neg 3-0
Buhler HS Crusader Classic HS 2017-10-20 DCI R5 20 AK 17 RT Neg
Buhler HS Crusader Classic HS 2017-10-20 DCI R4 25 RM 5 HS Aff
Judge Certifications
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