MSHSL Section 4 Debate
2023 — Eagan, MN/US
Lincoln Douglas Paradigm ListAll Paradigms: Show Hide
I am the Head Coach at Lakeville North High School and Lakeville South High School in Minnesota. My debaters include multiple state champions as well as TOC and Nationals Qualifiers.
I am also a history teacher so know your evidence. This also means the value of education in debate is important to me.
I encourage you to speak at whatever speed allows you to clearly present your case. I do not mind speaking quickly, but spreading is not necessary. I will tell you to clear if you are speaking too quickly. One sure way to lose my vote is to disregard my request to slow down. I vote heavily on your ability to verbalize the links between your evidence and the resolution. If I cannot hear/understand what you are saying because you are speaking too quickly, I cannot vote for you.
Claim. Warrant. Impact. I expect you to not only explain the links, but also impact your argument. I am impressed by debaters who can explain why I should care about a few key pieces of important evidence rather than doing a card dump.
If you plan to run off case that's fine just make sure that you articulate and sign post it well. Don't use narratives or identity arguments unless you actually care about/identify with the issue.
Be respectful of your opponent and your judge. Please take the time to learn your opponent's preferred pronouns. I expect you to take your RFD graciously-the debate is over after the 2AR not after the disclosure.
Head coach, Rosemount, MN. Do both policy & LD, and I don’t approach them very differently.
I’m a chubby, gray-haired, middle-aged white dude, no ink, usually wearing a golf shirt or an Iron Maiden shirt. If that makes you think I’m kind of old-school and lean toward soft-left policy stuff rather than transgressive reimaginations of debate, you ain’t wrong. Also, I’m a lawyer, so I understand the background of legal topics and issues better than most debaters and judges. (And I can tell when you don’t, which is most of the time.)
I was a decent college debater in the last half of the 1980s (never a first-round, but cleared at NDT), and I’ve been coaching for over 25 years. So I’m not a lay judge, and I’m mostly down with a “circuit” style—speed doesn’t offend me, I focus on the flow and not on presentation, theory doesn’t automatically seem like cheating, etc. However, by paradigm, I'm an old-school policymaker. The round is a thought experiment about whether the plan is a good idea (or, in LD, whether the resolution is true).
I try to minimize intervention. I'm more likely to default to "theoretical" preferences (how arguments interact to produce a decision) than "substantive" or "ideological" preferences (the merits or “truth” of a position). I don't usually reject arguments as repugnant, but if you run white supremacist positions or crap like that, I might. I'm a lot less politically "lefty" than most circuit types (my real job is defending corporations in court, after all). I distrust conspiracy theories, nonscientific medicine, etc.
I detest the K. I don't understand most philosophy and don't much care to, so most K literature is unintelligible junk to me. (I think Sokal did the world a great service.) I'll listen and process (nonintervention, you know), but I can't guarantee that my understanding of it at the end of the round is going to match yours. I'm especially vulnerable to “no voter” arguments. I’m also predisposed to think that I should vote for an option that actually DOES something to solve a problem. Links are also critical, and “you’re roleplaying as the state” doesn’t seem like a link to me. (It’s a thought experiment, remember.) I’m profoundly uncomfortable with performance debates. I tend not to see how they force a decision. I'll listen, and perhaps be entertained, but need to know why I must vote for it.
T is cool and is usually a limitations issue. I don't require specific in-round abuse--an excessively broad resolution is inherently abusive to negs. K or performance affs are not excused from the burden of being topical. Moreover, why the case is topical probably needs to be explained in traditional debate language--I have a hard time understanding how a dance move or interpretive reading proves T. Ks of T start out at a disadvantage. Some K arguments might justify particular interpretations of the topic, but I have a harder time seeing why they would make T go away. You aren’t topical simply because you’ve identified some great injustice in the world.
Counterplans are cool. Competition is the most important element of the CP debate, and is virtually always an issue of net benefits. Perms are a good test of competition. I don't have really strong theoretical biases on most CP issues. I do prefer that CPs be nontopical, but am easily persuaded it doesn't matter. Perms probably don't need to be topical, and are usually just a test of competitiveness. I think PICs are seldom competitive and might be abusive. All of these things are highly debatable.
Some LD-specific stuff:
Framework is usually unimportant to me. If it needs to be important to you, it’s your burden to tell me how it affects my decision. The whole “philosophy is gibberish” thing still applies in LD. Dense, auto-voter frameworks usually lose me. If you argue some interpretation of the topic that says you automatically win, I’m very susceptible to the response that that makes it a stupid interp I should reject.
LD theory usually comes across as bastardized policy theory. It often doesn’t make sense to me in the context of LD. Disclosure theory seems to me like an elitist demand that the rest of the world conform to circuit norms.
I am more likely to be happy with a disad/counterplan type of LD debate than with an intensely philosophical or critical one. I’ll default to util if I can’t really comprehend how I’m supposed to operate in a different framework.
Feel free to ask about specific issues. I'm happy to provide further explanation of these things or talk about any issues not in this statement.