I spent the weekend at my first APDA tournament since Nationals 2007. In my new role as coach of the Rutgers team, I was ensuring that the team could get there (they have significant transportation challenges) and getting an early gauge on the lay of the land.
Returning to a regular APDA tournament (Nats just feels different, especially if one is in the tab room as I was in ’07) was pretty surreal, though I adjusted fairly quickly. I was surprised at how many people I did know and recognize, most of them freshly minted dinos who are many years my junior. Of course, there were also a slew of people who became three-dimensional for the first time – people I knew pretty well from APDA Forum Werewolf games that I’d never met or seen in person.
The tourney was at Hopkins and I had a chance to see Freez and his (relatively) new place, which is pretty swanky. The original 1904 hardwood flooring definitely being the highlight there. The entire weekend featured buckets of rain, including visibility-limiting sheets on the drive down, which probably aided our getting lost and almost mistakenly heading to Washington DC. Though after this summer’s cross-country trip and some more recent events, I’m seriously starting to doubt the quality and veracity of Internet driving directions.
Surreality aside, I really love APDA and being back in the thick of the community. I enjoy judging, though close calls give me a sensation approximating what I imagine an ulcer feels like. I enjoy the quality of the discourse and the intellectual caliber of the people, something rarely assembled so consistently and thoroughly in any other environment. I’m not going to go so far as to say that APDA is wasted on the young (I certainly appreciated it at the time, as do many of its participants), but maybe it’s more to say that APDA ages incredibly well. Even after college, it’s time well spent. It horrifies me even now to think how close I was to not joining when at Brandeis and how fervently my high school advisers told me there were better things for debaters to do in college than debate.
The Rutgers team did well, going 3-2 with losses only to break teams, and speaking impressively. It’s an auspicious start to what looks to be a breakthrough year. We have no fewer than four (4) meetings this week, serving as an intense week of novice training to prepare for the Swarthmore Novice Tournament in two weeks, so the intensity will not ramp down for some time.
Last night, I had a classic school anxiety dream, mostly about going into my senior year at Brandeis. I had my own place that was nicer and larger than I had reason to think it should be and a slightly different course schedule than made sense. But I spent a lot of time thinking about how not to waste the year, how to appreciate it, and how to make sure to get my diploma.
I woke up, quickly realizing where I was in real chronological time. More importantly, I realized that these dreams will be back in force for the next two years.