State of Maryland Speech and Debate Association Championship CA
** UPDATE 5/9 **
The State of Maryland Speech and Debate Association Championship will unfortunately be cancelled this year. While the advisory committee applauds TOC and NSDA for trying to make the best of a bad situation, a virtual state tournament is not the direction that we wish to pursue.
Even if the needed technical expertise could be learned or mustered to the point that we were confident in the smoothness of the platform, hurdles remain that a virtual platform can’t overcome. For the speech and congress events in particular (which make up 12 of the 15 events offered at the tournament) the online environment denudes the competition of a most essential component -- command of and interaction with a live audience. This fundamentally changes the nature of the events themselves, and is liable to generate results that are based merely on technical considerations. One colleague who judged at a recent online tournament mentioned that it “was like watching NBA players in a tournament of ‘Horse’; it had elements of novelty, and it required skill and virtuosity, but it was nothing like basketball”.
While we recognize that PF, LD, and policy debaters are far less reliant upon playing to an audience, virtual rounds are still a very different experience from what we are all used to. And, there is far more interaction and learning that happen at a tournament than just in the competition rounds themselves.
Since a virtual tournament can't replicate event authenticity and the overall shared experience, we choose to remain in-person, live, face-to-face.
We congratulate our seniors on all of the work that they have put into this activity over the course of their careers. We hope that they can use the lessons learned in speech and debate to help them in whatever area they may pursue.
Stay healthy and we look forward to hosting your team in 2021.
SMDSDA President & Tournament Host