But It's A Tradition

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There are several rules -- both written and unwritten -- for every district in speech and debate. As we’ve seen in some of the discussions here at ForensicsCommunity about the standard operating procedures for duo, rules differ drastically by region – but is this true for other events and areas of competition as well?

In my old district, competitors had to follow several traditions: waiting outside of the room until the judge arrived, thanking the judge before leaving a round, applauding after each competitor’s performance, et cetera. If you were cross-entered (competing in more than one event per round), you were supposed to notify the judge after your performance that you were cross-entered, and ask to be excused. And before erasing a competitor’s name, piece and author from the blackboard, competitors were supposed to ask, “Does the judge have all of the information?”

Why do we do these things?

None of these customs have any impact on the content of our speeches or the quality of our performances. Looking back, some of these rules seem unnecessary.

But patiently waiting for results to be posted after rounds and listening to the speeches at awards ceremonies play a part in the way forensics becomes part of our lives. The traditions are part of what create structure and grace in forensics competitions. Without them, a tournament would lose its ceremonial appeal.

I'm curious to find out more about the rules in other districts. Do you always write on the board before performing? What do you write? Are debaters expected to always shake the judge’s hand after a round? How do speech and debate rules and traditions affect the tournaments you attend?

You guys have to shake your judge's hand? Nope. Not something we do.

In the suburbs of Chicago, if you were double entered, after completing your piece you asked to be excused to go to your next round. Then you waited outside of that door (not by the window to avoid being seen) to hear applause before you entered. Also, filling out the top part of critique sheets with your necessary information was something we always did before the rounds even started so we didn't have to worry about it later.

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