Click to read LSE Open 2011 – Part 1
I had what was quite a comfortable lie-in Saturday morning, waking up at 8:00 was far more preferable to waking up at the usual AC time of 7:00. We grabbed a few bites from Sainsbury and despite all our hard work making sure we arrived on time, found that as is now customary of uni debating, nothing happens on time. Sitting in the back of the ‘Hong Kong Theatre’ (I still don’t know why it was named that way), we saw quite a few WSDC alumni: Ben Woolgar (England, WSDC 2007-8), Ahmed (UAE, WSDC 2010), Maria English (New Zealand, WSDC 2007-8) amongst others. There were also all the usual big names of University Debating that I had only heard of through other people or had seen their names in tabs and in best speaker lists. It created quite a mix of people, which made sense given the things I had heard about LSE Open being the biggest and the best competition in the calendar.
The draw for each round was announced through a powerpoint. Firstly, we were constantly reminder of the sponsor, at least… I remembered it at the time. I’ve forgotten the sponsor now. But the second thing that was interesting was the incorporation of graphs for every round, often related to debating. Although none of us were really involved in the UK university debating circuit, there were some things actually got like the graph equating changes of wining WUDC with having one brown and one white debater on your team (LSE A at WUDC Botswana) and the graph about proximity to London and the quality of the tournament.
The first round went quite well for me and David, we came in first that is. We anticipated that we’d get a really tough 2nd round given the quality of the teams involved, but little did we expect the madness of the 2nd round. Not only did we have to argue against supporting Arab democracies, as we later found out, we faced some of the best debaters in the country, people who had PhDs, won dozens of IVs and were now bidding for EUDC 2012. Unsurprisingly, we lost… but it did teach us quite a lot and I think it’s fair to say that at least we didn’t make a fool of ourselves! Round 3 was weird. The motion was tough, so tough that we actually spent prep time as CO trying to think of what OG would/should say. I thought we had a chance, but we sadly came in third which was disappointing but not too bad. R4 and R5 were both silent rounds which meant we had no idea how we ranked. It turned out we came 2nd in both which wasn’t too bad, but showed we still had room for improvement.
We had to leave quite early in order to catch the bus back to Cardiff, but we managed to watch Johnny and Sam Block (I am Debate) compete and win their quarter-final which was quite epic. I particularly liked the introduction of subpoints when Johnny said “This is bad in… 6 ways” before going through each of them at top speed. It was a high quality debate although I think closing sides suffered from having very comprehensive opening sides, it would later turn out that the opening sides both got through to the Grand Finals. We had to leave after that and I spent most of the bus back sleeping whilst David enjoyed The Great Debaters on my laptop. It was good that I slept on the way back because it meant I didn’t fall asleep on the way back foam Cardiff to AC. Luckily for me, I met Peace at Cardiff train station who managed to keep me awake despite my general tiredness throughout the journey back to AC.
P.S. It was quite weird, but when I walked into house meeting with big bag on my back, some people seemed to have assumed I had been in the library studying as opposed to having just returned to campus. Not true! 😀