Totally new, marginally team-agnostic, and even more bilious than before. What's not to love?
(Latest update 4/21/17)
Google Calendar of Northeastern (and some other) debate:
4/29-30 NYSFL Finals @ Hofstra
NYSFL final tournament. How can I ever forget the many years in deepest Albany, with one Subway sandwich to feed all three LD divisions and their judges, or the judge we knew only as The Guy With the Hat (who warned debaters not to use obscure, jargon-ish words like "contention"), or that lone, lorn McDonalds on the way out of town (a way we could never find soon enough) where there was one guy working the whole place and everything was $5 and nothing got rung up? So why, you might ask, did I agree to help out this year? Kismet. Fate. Karma. Etc. In other words, beats me. You can't take the
boy old fart out of the tab room.
Menick Rating: At least it's not in New Jersey.
4/29-5/1 TOC, University of Kaintuck
You have to qualify for this one at tournaments that are designated as having TOC
quals. Congress, LD, PF, Policy. There may also be some speech but what do I know? There's even middle school events a couple of weeks later, but the idea is so bizarre to me ("let's send all our sixth graders to Kentucky" sounds vaguely Swiftian) that I'll leave you to sort that out on your own.
Menick Rating: It's a lost cause. I give up. You're going to go, or not, regardless of anything I say here.
Memorial Day Weekend -- CatNats in Louisville, KY
Offering all your favorite speech
and debate activities, and taking place every year over the Memorial Day holiday. You have to qualify for this at our local CFL Grands.
Menick Rating: Every year the Nats Cats congregate to once again ponder world domination, giving up early in the game to debate and speak and have done with it. I always enjoyed CatNats, back when I had a team, even though I don't know why. If it's ever back in NYC again I'll be happy to stuff envelopes and empty garbage cans, which is how I spent the last NYC event.
6/? -- NatNats in Birmingham, which is in Alabama, just in case you were wondering
I guess we should mention this one, just for completeness' sake. I qualified a number of people over the years, but never was able to go. The idea of a whole week off in some godforsaken midwest city never actually appealed, plus I sorta worked for a living at a non-debate day job. Meanwhile, sending competitors with a surrogate used to cost as much as a penthouse weekend in Dubai, but that's beside the point. More important was the fact that, to go to NatNats, a northeastern student had to forego either graduation or the prom or, sometimes, both. Not the greatest enticement, but not one anyone could do anything about, given that the rest of the country doesn't go to school in June like we do. Whatever. If the event had been more reasonably scheduled, I might have embraced it wholeheartedly. But it wasn't, I didn't, and there you are.
9/8-9 Byram Hills Invitational
The first local event of the season, offering Varsity in both PF and LD. (We tried Academy, but the numbers just weren't there, and, well, give the people what they want.) With housing, of course, for those who require it. This is envisioned as a prep for Greenhill/Yale. Why not? Yours truly will be back in the tab room, where he can cause the most damage. Probably kicking off with a Round Robin again in LD.
Menick Rating: This tournament at the new date finally seems to be getting traction. Good numbers in the Varsity divisions, good wireless access allowing e-ballots, but continued lack of cell access remains problematic for getting texts about rounds. I think we can safely say that the Bobcatters, or whatever they call themselves, have come in for a landing.
9/9 NYCFL Moderators Meeting
9:00 a.m. @ Iona, probably
What do you call a group of Catholics? A missal? A monstrance? Obviously, the answer is a host. In this case, a host of local Catholic coaches assembles every year to decide this year's plan to convert the rest of the forensic community to the True Faith.
Menick Rating: Having missed it for a couple of years, I've come to think that no one even notices that I'm not there. After all, most years I went sneaking off into the boys' room to escape the sound of moderators arguing about Congress rules. There's such a thing as Congress rules? Who knew? I have, however, found myself suspiciously drawn to the smell of incense all of a sudden. Hmmmm. Anyhow, no doubt I'll continue to pretend to be at Byram Hills. Although there's always a chance... Maybe I have the date wrong. Catholic Charlie hasn't updated the NYCFL site since the "Really Really I Mean It This Time Last—Yes LAST!—Chance (Until the Next One) Qualifier" back in the Spring. For all I know people are still trying to qualify for 2016 States. Good luck, everyone!
Debate, IEs, Parli, more Congress than you can shake a stick at. In other words, the vast smorgasbord of forensic delights, minus the herring. Then again, they do have a Shake Shack.
Yale is for many the traditional seasonal opener (although Byram Hills can help you get your debate cases into shape the prior week). Students get to put to good use everything they learned over the summer, unless they learned nothing over the summer, in which case they get to use that.
Menick Rating: Now only a vague recollection in my ever moldier brain, I look back at the Pups as an excuse to shepherd my own unwilling students through the art museums before the festivities began, trying unsuccessfully to explain Cy Twombly, and later shepherding hundreds of others out into the vast reaches of beautiful New Haven so that they would fall in love with the campus and spend the rest of their high school careers trying to get accepted into the university. It's that kind of campus, so quintessential a college campus that you can't imagine not going there. Unfortunately, however, you really probably aren't going to go there, and the sooner you come to this realization, the better. I mean, have you looked at your Grade Point Average lately?
9/30 NYCFL @ Regis
JV - X, V-X, JV Prose, V-Prose, Duo (Bindered — the material, not the students), DP, OO
"Academy Debate" events, i.e., LD, PF and Policy for sophomores and juniors, with seniors able to judge.
Menick Rating: XXX -- I have an undying fondness for our friends from the frigid north. And I remain a big supporter of Academy Debate, and I have no idea why everyone in the northeast isn't breaking down the door to get their younger students into these rounds. Unfortunately the Chinese restaurant with a corned beef and cabbage special is no longer there, but almost every other business on Main Street in Monticello is no longer there either, so it's in good company. On the other hand, I've heard tell of a new Dunkin Donuts right next to the Best Western. Fuel yourself up with some grande triple lattes and you're on your way!
Seniors can judge Dec.
Menick Rating: Pffft! - Normally I wouldn't rate a tournament with only Dec and Congress that I don't go to, but any tournament with only Dec and Congress just chills me to the core.
10/13-15 NYC Invitational, AKA Rather Large Bronx
Debate and speech. Debate starts on Friday at Bronx Science, Speech on Saturday somewhere else. All breaks on Sunday at Bronx Science.
Menick Rating: Worst parking situation in America, but the tournament is pretty good. The tournament is back in all its glory, relatively kink-free, except for the fact that 45-minute LD rounds now last a fortnight. Yours truly and all the usual suspects will be back for tab duty.
10/? NYCFL @ Regis
LD and PF, Nov, JV and Varsity divisions. Probably a lot of first timers in that novice division.
Menick Rating: God is on the side of this tournament. So is Grandma Julia. We will run 3 rounds because, well, we could do 4 rounds, but only by cutting off a few heads of newbies, young and old, who are overwhelmed by the whole idea of debate. By the way, pay no attention to the Black Mass in the basement. That's for alums only.
AKA The One Strip of Bacon Invitational, from the Home of the Albino Bagel. Semis bid in PF.
Menick Rating: Its official name is the He's Not Dead Yet Tim Averill Unmemorial. If that doesn't sum it up, I don't know what does.
10/28 NYCFL Sr. Raimonde Service Tournament @
Speech events: JVX,VX,OO, JV Poetry, V Poetry, Duo, Dec, DP, Congress
11/ CFL @ Fordham Prep
All speech and Congress.
Nov and Varsity PF and LD (with VLD judging NLD).
Given that the 10th is a holiday this year, presumably like 2016 the festivities will start earlier on the Friday, the benefit of which is—trumpet fanfare—getting out earlier Saturday night.
Menick Rating: There ain't no rest for the wicked The rounds just keep on coming, what with all those single flights of LD, plus the occasional single flight of PF. It's almost impossible to get in a nap of any decent length. Oh well. My personal goal is to create as many different judge pools as possible during the off moments just to annoy Marty Page. His goal is to not kill himself as the hours of listening to my iPod pile on without a single Killer Mike moment. Meanwhile Vaughan seems way too relaxed these days for a tournament director. He's getting spoiled. Wait till he sees some of my judge pools!
11/18 Wee Sma' Lex
Novice and V in LD, PF and Policy.
This is the sort of tournament everybody should be attending. One day, 4 rounds (or more in single-flighted PF), no fuss, no muss. You want to win the TOC in three years? Start getting experience for your debaters today.
Menick Rating: Dinner with Kaz the night before: 4 Stars. The tournament itself? Forget it, Jake: It's Lexington. In 2016 tabroom took an unscheduled vacation, but we managed to keep things pretty much on time and I actually managed to leave early. You don't like tournaments that run on time or early? Then skip this one.
The NYCFL's annual cloning in Pennsylvania.
Menick Rating: I caught the Villiger Flu the last time I attended, which I think was during the Coolidge Administration, and I have avoided it like the personal plague that it is ever since. My opinion about the place, in other words, is worthless. Top debaters should look to Glenbrooks this weekend. Non-top debaters should look to Little Lex or Ho-Man. Debaters with dominant speech teams should simply bite the Villiger bullet and try to find a cheese steak at some point over the weekend.
11/18 Horace Mann PF Tournament
Nov and JV PF. While I remain committed to Little Lex, locals might want to check this out. It's a great venue, accessible by NYC public transit.
PF, Nov and V LD, all speech events and Congress.
Menick Rating: Life of Riley Award for Special Achievement. In 2016 we introduced e-ballots to the widespread LD eventers. In 2017, it will be PF. There will be blood.
12/2 CFL @ Ursuline
JV - X, OO,
JV-OI, V-OI, Dec. Seniors can judge JV divisions.
12/8-9 Ridge N and V PF, LD and Policy. Housed.
Menick Rating: 3.5 Ys: 2016 was the year of the Revolt of the Judges. All the PF people who were linked unlinked themselves with glee and said, in unison, "We spit on tabroom. Pfui!"
What will they do in 2017?
12/16 The CFL Kristmas Klassik AKA The CFL Christmas Chlassich
Regis was at Stuyvesant last year. God only (literally) knows where it will be in 2017.
There is room at the inn, regardless of where it is, for all debate events, Novice, Intermediate and Varsity (if we have the numbers), three rounds. They also have Congress, which needless to say, is where I spend all my time.
Menick Rating: 4 Say Whats: It's either this or Blake, AKA The "Frozen" Tournament That Refuses to Let it Go. From my house to NYC is way shorter than from my house to wherever the hell Blake is. Tough choice? I don't think so.
PF and LD, Nov and Varsity (NLD entirely judged by Newark students, meaning you only need to provide Varsity judges in that division). (There's Policy too, but you don't care about that, you spalpeen!)
Menick Rating: Happy New Year! One of my old favorites, now in other tabbing hands. One of the first tournaments I ever tabbed, and a solid entry on the Northeast calendar. Why wouldn't you go?
All speech events.
Long Island faces off with NYC, and maybe Jersey a little bit. Archdioceses as archenemies, which is as the Pope intended it to be.
1/12-14 Bigle X
Big, worthy event, with muchos TOCos bidoddos. V LD and PF, Nov LD, various Policy divisions.
The Lexwegians seem to have settled in to their new Sat-Sunday schedule. (Policy goes to Monday, if you're of that persuasion.)
Menick Rating: 6 Stars, or maybe 9 Stars, or maybe Ordinals this year Light Saturday, tres busy Sunday. LD in the Middle School, specifically the Middle of Nowhere School. PF and Policy in the high school, where if it's not too cold (yeah, that's going to happen in Lexington in January), you can walk into beautiful downtown Lexwegia and pay homage to the Minuteman while having a nice ice cream cone. In any case, this remains one of the great tournaments in the northeast, and if you don't go to it, you're really missing out on some very good debating.
1/13 NYCFL CFL Fr Rippon Memorial @ Regis/Loyola
All speech, congress.
V LD and PF (starting Friday), all Speech (starting Saturday).
Menick Rating: Wait a minute! It's 50 degrees out? Our first stab at e-ballots for both PF and LD across the vast distances worked well in 2017. Maybe someday speech will also get all twenty-first century on us. Or maybe not. Anyhow, for a college this is a relatively local event, but it probably has the strongest tab staff in the US, or at least, no other is better. On the minus side, the French restaurant isn't what it used to be.
Never been, never gonna go. However, the idea that this is the tournament that Palmer goes ballistic at, running LD tab with flames coming out of his ears, does make it worth following on Facebook.
1/27 CFL Convent of the Sacred Heart (Greenwich)
All Speech and Congress.
2/3 Malcolm A. Bump Memorial Tournament @ Hen Hud
Baby Bump: the biggest little tournament east of the Rockies. Tabbed by the toughest tab team since Chris Palmer dined alone at the White House. Featuring Novice and Academy divisions of LD and PF.
Pope Francis Rating: "Plenary indulgences for all the folks behind Bump! This is the one debate tournament I wouldn't miss, if I didn't miss debate tournaments."
All speech and debate in beautiful downtown Philadelphia.
Menick Rating: Last year Penn switched to the weekend before Harvard, and sold out. So much for the critics who said it couldn't be done. All speech events, congress, plus two divisions of LD and PF and one division of Policy. All debate events are totally e-ballots, this being the first tournament we tried it full-bore over vast distances.
Menick Rating: 4 Cheesesteaks The Penn students do a great job of making this a strong and fun tournament. Plus the venue is great, if for no other reason than that the teams have a wonderful building with comfy chairs to hang out in, plus close access to all the usual food venues. One of the high points of the season, if you ask me.
All speech and debate.
Probably the most expensive tournament on the circuit, with the least likelihood of doing well because of sheer numbers. If you choose to go here, shut up and don't complain about it. It's your own damned fault.
Debate events for the late of season, with a semis bid in Policy and a finals bid in PF.
Novice and Varsity in all debate events, plus JV in PF, plus some MS stuff thrown in for seasoning.
Menick Rating: I Got it Bad and that Ain't Good Duke Ellington used to refer to people as "beyond category." Ella Fitzgerald, for instance, was beyond category. If Ellington had been a debate coach, he probably would have considered Lakeland also beyond category, which is not to say that Lakeland is anything like Ella Fitzgerald, or that Ellington would have made a good debate coach, but I think you get my drift. If this description alludes you, check out some Hieronymous Bosch paintings for a realistic depiction.
3/? Districts/Regionals @ Pelham
Get a full qual for Regionals in one swell foop. Or qualify for NSDA Finals in Birmingham, Alabama. Finally, a chance to visit Birmingham, Alabama.
If you get a qual here, you go to States. Only one Regional qual and you're in. But if you already had a qual in that event, by debating at Regionals and not qualifying, you lose it.
You cannot attempt to get a qual at Regionals in a second event if you are already qual'd in another event. You forfeit that qual if you so let your greed run away with you.
(NFL Districts also run, or at least crawl, here simultaneously.)
Menick Rating: Please hand me that 10-foot pole so I'll have something I wouldn't touch it with. Then again, Pelham students are encouraged to backchannel me what they really think of Mr. Beck.
Last Chance NYSFL Speech @ Somewhere
I don't follow this closely, but if you do, you know exactly where it is and what it is about. The definition of "last chance" according to the NYSFL: Regionals is the last chance.
Except for the Iona Last Chance, which is actually the "Last Last Chance."
The day after this, the Last Last Chance, is the Mickey Cullen at Regis, which is the "Really Last Last Chance This Time We Really Mean it Last Chance."
Except for Mini-Stuy concurrent with CFL Grands, which, I gather is, pretty much, the "Drop Dead Super Serious There's No Turning Back Now Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here Last Chance."
(Unless they decide to have another tournament the following week, tentatively named the NYSFL Overkill. I wouldn't put it past them.)
3/? CFL Grands @ Stuyvesant
Qualify for CatNats in toutes les divisions, or tous les divisions, depending on your bad French. 3 entries allowed in each division, speech and debate. Single-entry only. Lots of judges needed: 1-1 in PF and LD, 1-3 in speech.
Mini-Stuy also available for interested parties.
Menick Rating: You'll feel holy just thinking about it. I know I do.
Debate finals for teams that qualify.
Menick Rating: This tournament just doesn't get the respect it deserves in LD and PF, but it's one worth supporting. The venue changes every year.