Monday, February 21, 2005

what a weekend.

two years ago my team, team north, went to joliet. it was a heartbreak. the judging was less than competent, and despite bringing our a-game, we got hosed. we got no bid. that year another squad, team east, did not get hosed. they brought it, they took down six and a half ballots, and they went to gold. there was a silver lining that year.

this year, we sent four squads to joliet. we brought it. and, again, the judging was less than competent. we dropped so many ballots we shouldn't have, so many ballots we didn't deserve to. as a coach, it was nerve-wracking. there was nothing i could do but watch the teams, encourage them, and tell them small things they could fix in the next round. most of the rounds i personally watched actually ended up alright...i saw war's first round against ISU, pestilence's second against St. Francis, and death's fourth against St. Ambrose.

but, i also saw famine's third against St. Ambrose, and there was little i could do not to cry. they did pretty much everything they had learned to do. they were so good. famine's kissner made me teary-eyed. their rebuttal was the best i'd ever seen their closer do. the other team, on the other hand, had witnesses with so much less character than ours, and were making objections that didn't exist.

after the round, one of the judges was a stock "oh, you all did such a good job..." guys, and then the presiding judge made it really clear that for her, style, subjective style, was substance. she ate up the other team's hand gestures for dinner, and thought our speakers moved around too much. no, they didn't move too much. they took a few steps when they were shifting major points. that was it. they did what i've been coaching them to do for months, and the judge slammed them for it. they dropped two ballots that round. by all rights, they should have dropped none.

and stuff like that happened, all weekend, for all four of our teams.

but, there was a silver lining this year, too. we did get two bids to silver flight, in kentucky, next month. team pestilence, when they found out they went 6-2, was so excited, so cute, so adorable. i love team pestilence. i gave them all hugs at the awards ceremony, and i want to give them all more hugs. team death is pulling together, changing flight reservations for spring break to go to kentucky. we've got a meeting tomorrow to figure out who's going to be on each team for that weekend, who's going to fill the spots of people who can't change their spring break flights or their friday finals. our team is pulling together, and our season is not over yet.

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