Skip to main content
Create interactive lessons using any digital content including wikis with our free sister product
. Get it on the
Pages and Files
4 years at Parsons High School (Kansas). Debated at champ level, won medals and trophies, won a lot more rounds than lost. Qualified to NFL nationals in forensics. Was member of state champion teams in debate and forensics, and was quarterfinalist at nationals. I attended camp at Emporia State University and Fort Hays State University. I was coached by NFL hall of fame coaches and CEDA national champions.
Debated one year in college before realizing majoring in engineering and debating were going to be mutually exclusive (I now work as an engineer in Lawrence)
Have helped with camps at Kansas State University and The University of Kansas, and have assistant coached and sponsored for high school teams for coaches that I am friends with, including coaching two cx teams at NFL nationals in Kansas City in 2010 and 1st place finishes at state in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016.
Have judged at least one tournament in Kansas or Missouri every year since 1993, and have judged NFL nationals off and on since the late 90s whenever the tournament has been in the midwest.
Overuse of acronyms and abbreviations without defining them. Mispronouncing words. My skin crawls when students say "like", "I mean", "you know", "and stuff", "or something" and "or whatever." Don't say "I can see nothing but a (neg/aff) ballot." (Don't be cliché.)
Pet peeves that shouldn't even need to be said, but they happen so much that I feel obliged to actually put this in writing:
Do not shake my hand. Do not try to peek at the ballot. Do not take up time by asking each individual person in the room if they are ready at the beginning of your speech - if the judge doesn't look ready, ask, but nobody cares if your partner is ready. Neg team: do not noisily pack up your stuff during the 2AR. Do not talk loudly to your partner during your opponents' speeches. Do not steal prep time. Do not stand next to the person speaking and impatiently await the evidence they're reading. Don't stand behind the person speaking and read over their shoulder. No oral prompting during speeches please.
Be prepared: Bring a timer to the tournament. Have an extra PAPER copy of your case. Know how to correctly pronounce every word in your 1AC. Charge your laptop battery before the tournament. Bring flash drives. Bring extension cords. Use the restroom before the round.
Organized (signposting, numbering, line-by-line)
, real-world, smart, clever, unique, efficient, strategic arguments which showcase the debater's individual thought process. Strategic use of cross x. Partners working together on an effective strategy. Emotion, energy, personality, originality, humor. Overviews, weighing of arguments, concise and intelligent explanations. Intros, conclusions. EVERY SPEECH IN EVERY ROUND SHOULD HAVE AN INTRO AND A CONCLUSION. NO "with this I can see nothing but an affirmative/negative ballot" IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE CONCLUSION. (the Intro/Conclusion requirement applies more to open division and less so to champ division). If you're going to run long complicated arguments, it's best to explain them at the beginning and throughout rather than at the end so the judges aren't confused the entire time - the team that spends the least amount of time confusing the judges usually wins.
Thoughtless, disorganized, generic babble. Monotonic regurgitation. Lack of strategy. Lots of cards with no supplemental explanations or logic/reasoning/applying by the debater. Partners not working together. Inefficiency. Debates about debate (i.e. fighting over whether debate rules allow or disallow a particular type of argument. Spend your time arguing the merits of the argument, not whether the rules allow it or not.)
Haven't heard anyone yet who is so fast I can't flow them. However, don't try to speed if you're not good at it. Some of the best debaters I've heard have a slower conversational delivery. Hint: You can win many a round by giving a conversational 2AR to a judge who has heard nothing but speed all day - it can be an oasis of relief.
Don't run it if you plan on punting it (but don't be afraid to punt it if you're losing it). Don't run it for no reason. If you think you can win it, absolutely run it. Running topicality exponentially increases the chances of a neg ballot, because much of the time the aff loses, not because they wouldn't have been easily able to prove they were topical, but because they dismiss the topicality argument and don't give it the attention it deserves.
I may actually get ticked at you if you don't run it when the case is obviously non topical, or is quasi topical and could be easily beaten with a competent topicality argument. Topicality arguments must be structured with standards and warrants. Legal or contextual definitions are best for violations. I will accept regular dictionary definitions for counter interps.
Know what this is and run it. I see far too many cases in which the bulk of the plan and case is extra topical. This is an excellent tool for the 1NC toolkit.
I rarely see cases that are blatantly effects topical, but it has happened. You have to really be in serious violation of taking too many steps for me to consider this argument. More often than not the negative runs this by inventing steps (first the house has to vote on it, then the senate, then the president has to sign it, then someone has to make a phone call, then they have to transfer the money, then they have to....etc etc) Every plan has these steps, this does not make it effects topical. Rarely is a plan in violation, but on the rare occasion that it is, the neg would be wise to run this.
New diads in the 2NC or having the 1N run disads and the 2N take case:
All of this is fine, I grew up with case in the 1NC and disads in the 2NC, but the neg can do it however they see fit as long as the strategy is smart and makes sense. Presenting a disad shell in the 1N and expanding it in the 2N is fine too.
Disads that are created in the round and specifically tailored to the case are my favorite. Seems like no one does this anymore. Generic politics disads are discouraged, however a politics disad that is case-specific, unique and has good timely evidence can be great.
When I was a debater, I ran conditional arguments, so I'm open to hearing them. However they must be run well. Don't use conditionality as an excuse to run a bunch of random arguments that don't work at all together or make any sense (the throw a bunch of crap against the wall and see what sticks approach), and expect me to accept them because I'm saying here that I am open to conditionality. Be smart. Use conditionality as part of your toolkit to defeat an affirmative case, but don't abuse it. I'll give you leeway, but for instance if you run a critique that has a moral imperative voter on it, and you are emphatic about how this voter is the most important issue in the round, and then you (or your partner) turn around and run five disads which specifically contradict said voter - then I'm going to have trouble taking you seriously and I'm going to be very sympathetic to the aff when in their next speech they accuse you of being insincere about both your disads and your critique voter. Conditionality is acceptable to a point, but overall as a judge what I'd like to see a neg team do is present an intelligent consistent strategy against the case. Conditional arguments can be part of this strategy (i.e. to set up dilemmas), but don't run diametrically opposing arguments unless it makes sense to do so. Just because two arguments can theoretically link to a case doesn't mean you should run them both. Stop and think first if it makes sense. As far as conditionality in terms of the neg being able to kick out of any position at any time without being penalized - yes, I believe in this. However, I'm not too sympathetic to teams who run bad arguments as a time suck and then punt them. I'd rather see a team spend their time running good arguments. It is completely okay to go for the arguments you have the best chances of winning at the end and punt ones that are lost causes.
Counterplans, Plan Inclusive Counterplans, Critiques, Critical Aff's, Goals-Criteria & Plan-Meet-Need Cases, and other miscellany:
I'm open to just about anything as long as it's run competently as part of a thoughtful strategy. Run a critique because the case calls for it. Do not run a critique as a way to avoid case debate. Don't run something if you don't understand it. Don't run something if your only motive is to confuse the other team - you'll probably end up confusing yourself and the judges as well. Critical aff's, counterplans, critiques, philosophical arguments and policy debates which end up sounding like LD rounds can make debate more fun and interesting.
If your counterplan is plan-inclusive, it's a good idea to run topicality against the aff, or run extratopicality against yourself so your counterplan remains non-topical. Counterplans must be nontopical - I'm not going to budge on that. Multiple counterplans are okay, again as long as it makes sense.
Tag team cross X is okay unless the tournament rules forbid it, but don't abuse this.
I prefer the person who gives the 1AC give the 1AR, the 2AC the 2AR, the 1NC the 1NR and the 2NC the 2NR, mostly because this keeps speaker points simple. You should only really switch if you think it is absolutely necessary to do so to win the round. If you do switch, make sure you tell me before you do it.
What is probably most enjoyable to me is watching the student's mind work - seeing a good 1NC rip a case to shreds with their own individual analysis is worth more to me than a spread of cards that the student didn't even research themselves.
I confess I probably put more emphasis on speaking skills than most flow judges (although I think most judges do, they just don't admit it or realize it). I've often found myself using skills as a speaker point tie breaker when the arguments were moot.
One good succinct original thought that tears through an opponent's argument can win a round or score a student a better speaker point.
The team with the smarter arguments and the smarter strategy is going to win my ballot.
p.s. After writing all this, I realize it may appear that I have a neg bias. I don't. I'm quite a liberal person and generally like to see change to the status quo as long as the proposal is a good one. I want to see positive change, but I don't want to pass bad plans. Run a good case and argue it well and you have a good chance of winning.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"