Totally new, marginally team-agnostic, and even more bilious than before. What's not to love?

(Latest update 3/7/18)

Access a Google Calendar of Northeastern (and some other) debate:

Google Calendar


3/17 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.

4/14-16 NDCA Finals @ Marist (GA)

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.

4/28-29 NYSFL Finals @ Hofstra

NYSFL final tournament. This won me over last year, as the place for people who can't afford to fly away every weekend and/or shouldn't bother, i.e., all frosh and sophs and most varsity, to have a good, viable final event where they have a chance to shine. Who doesn't want to be a State Champion? Some of the rules aren't what some debaters are used to? Get over it.

Menick Rating: Yes, it's old-fashioned debating to random judges, but if you can't adapt here, I'm sorry, but you're really not developing a whole important skill set that forensics is supposed to encourage.

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 that 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. There are also now also-ran divisions, or at least one also-ran division for PF. It's nice to know that not qualifying for TOC no longer prevents you from qualifying for TOC...

Menick Rating: It's a lost cause. I give up. You're going to go, or not, regardless of anything I say here. It's your money; you're free to spend it as you wish.

Memorial Day Weekend -- CatNats in Washington, DC

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.

June -- NatNats in Somewhere, Out There, Not Here (Actually, Ft Lauderdale)

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. At least this year it's in Florida, which, in June, is 110 degrees with humidity at 110% and daily monsoons. Then again, you can drive up to Orlando and be there in maybe 4 hours and enjoy WDW in June, where it's also 110 degrees with humidity at 110% with daily monsoons, but also with Mickey Mouse and "it's a small world." Field trip!

2018-19 Season

9/7-8 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.) This is envisioned as a prep for Greenhill/Yale. Why not? Probably kicking off with a Round Robin again in LD.

Menick Rating: Now a regular on the local circuit. 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.

9/8 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: Where's the sacred monkeys? 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 2009 States. Good luck, everyone!

9/15-17 Yale

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, Yale has no difficulty imagining you not going there, and the sooner you come to this realization, the better. I mean, have you looked at your Grade Point Average lately?

9/29 NYCFL @ Regis

JV - X, V-X, JV Prose, V-Prose, Duo (Bindered — the material, not the students), DP, OO

10/5-6 Monticello

"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, the new Dunkin Donuts right next to the Best Western is a real breakthrough. Fuel yourself up with some grande triple lattes and you're on your way!

10/6 NYCFL @ Stuyvesant

Dec, Congress

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.

10/12-14 Rather Large Bronx, AKA The NYC Invitational

Debate and speech. Debate starts on Friday at Bronx Science, Speech on Saturday somewhere else. All breaks on Sunday at Bronx Science.

Menick Rating: 4 Bronx Cheers! Worst parking situation in America, but the tournament has its moments, especially if you're on the bid hunt. Yours truly and all the usual suspects will no doubt be back for tab duty, but only because Mr. Softee always shows up on Sunday. If a Big Bronx ever happens without Mr. S, all bets are off.

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.

10/26-7 Manchester

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.

10/27 NYCFL Sr. Raimonde Service Tournament @ Xavier

Speech events: JVX,VX,OO, JV Poetry, V Poetry, Duo, Dec, DP, Congress

11/3 CFL @ Fordham Prep

All speech and Congress.

11/? Scarsdale

Nov and Varsity PF and LD (with VLD judging NLD).

Veterans' Day weekend, perhaps starting on Saturday. Stay tuned.

As always, upperclass students judge the novice divisions, which for many of those upperclass folks is one of their few opportunities to see a round from the back of the room.

Menick Rating: There ain't no rest for the wicked The rounds just keep on coming, what with all those single flights of LD and 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!

11/17 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 2017 every Luddite in Massachusetts embraced the e-ballot. Hallelujah! You don't like tournaments that run on time or early? Then skip this one.

11/17-18 Villiger

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 proverbial plague ever since. Rumor has it that Catholic Charlie and Jeff K have grabbed this tournament by the short and curlies and actually got it to run well (also for the first time since the Coolidge Administration). Sounds good to me.

11/19 Bronx Science Kinda MHL?

LD, PF, and Policy, Novice and JV divisions. Four rounds, the good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

Menick Rating: Why not? Your young students need rounds, and guess what? Here's rounds. Send them over, even if you're personally going glory hunting elsewhere. It's not about your brightest stars, it's about brightening the whole galaxy.

11/30-12/2 Princeton

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 was PF. The revolution is over.

12/1 CFL @ Ursuline

JV - X, OO, JV-OI, V-OI, Dec. Seniors can judge JV divisions.

12/7-8 Ridge

N and V PF, LD and Policy.

Menick Rating: 3.5 Ys: Just try to get to Whippany at rush hour. Just try! They'll get you, my pretty. And your little dog too! 2017 was the return of the devious Ridge Blizzard, the second time in recent memory that the weather gods have turned their backs on this otherwise great regional tournament, forcing everyone to leave early. What will 2018 bring?
(Once upon a time, this was the Bump weekend. Any wonder I grabbed NFA's November weekend at the first opportunity?)

12/15 The KFL Kristmas Klassik AKA The CFL Christmas Chlassich @ Regis

LD and PF, 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: 1 Our Father, 5 Hail Marys, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree: 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. Maybe I'll get the Paginator back in for tabbing help and dinner...


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.

1/19-21 Bigle X

Big, worthy event, with TOC bids up the proverbial wazoo. V and Nov LD and PF, plus 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. Some debate at the HS, some at the MS. They're nowhere near one another, and either one is colder than some really cold thing [provide your own metaphor] if you venture even an inch out the door. Nevertheless, this remains one of the great tournaments in the northeast, and if you don't go to it, you're missing out on some very good debating.

NYCFL CFL Fr Rippon Memorial @ Regis/Loyola

All speech, congress.

1/25-27 Columbia

V LD and PF (starting Friday), all Speech (starting Saturday).

Menick Rating: Wait a minute! It's 50 degrees outside? For a college this is a relatively local event, but there are a few folks from across the continent, and 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.

1/25-27 Emory

Never been, never gonna go. This year up against Columbia. Pick your poison.

CFL @ Convent of the Sacred Heart (Greenwich)

All Speech and Congress.

2/2 Malcolm A. Bump Memorial Tournament @ Hen Hud

Our Favorite Weekend

Baby Bump: the biggest little tournament east of the Rockies. Tabbed by the greatest 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."

2/8-10 UPenn

All speech and debate in beautiful downtown Philadelphia.

Menick Rating: Now firmly (and very popularly) on its new weekend. All speech events, congress, plus two divisions of LD and PF and one division of Policy. All debate events are totally e-ballots.

Menick Rating: 4 Cheesesteaks The Penn students do a good 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.

2/16 Delbarton JV Tournament

Speech and debate.

Let's see. You can pay $10 a head for the day, or give up your firstborn and all their earnings for life and register a few JVers (or, heaven forbid, novices) at Harvard. Tough choice? Then you're out of your mind. I'll probably be joining Mr. Page in tab again this year, and with any uck we won't get a snowstorm so he'll be forced to buy me a nice dinner.

2/16-18 Harvard

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.

3/1-3 Lakeland

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: Hieronymous Bosch Meets Debate Last year we ran the tournament following a devastating bomb cyclone on one day, without wireless or electricity or, at times, food. It didn't seem much different from the usual Lakeland, to tell you the truth.

3/2 Districts/Regionals @ ?

Get a full qual for Regionals in one swell foop. Or qualify for NSDA Finals. The bind moggles.

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.

?/?/19 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.)