In the first weekend of April, DKWien held trials for this year’s European Championship (EUDC) 2014 in Zagreb. Many DKWien debaters wanted to go. Hence, it was necessary to hold an internal tournament to find the best teams as well as the best adjudicators to represent DK Vienna in Zagreb at the EUDC in August 2014. 13 DK members were trying to get a slot in debating, and 6 of them also competed for an adjudication slot. DKWien can send max 3 teams and 2 adjudicators (at the time the article is written: 2 teams, 1 adjudicator), so a professional trial procedure was crucial. To make this possible, DK invited Anat Shapira and Charlie Morris as selectors. Both of them have a lot of debating experience and coach debating societies.
On Thursday before the “trials-weekend”, Charlie held a workshop for us. After the workshop, it took us some time to decide where to go for our social, but then the “Welt Café” in the centre of Vienna got our attention, because we thought food and drinks for a reasonable price are the perfect starting point for getting to know our judges Anat and Charlie. There, we had a lot of discussions about debating, debaters, Chennai Worlds, travelling etc.
After a workshop by Anat, the trials started on Friday afternoon with two individual rounds. In these rounds, everyone prepared on their own. As debaters are used to preparing with their team partners, this was a novel experience. As expected, these two rounds turned out to be a slightly messy, because no one knew the views of their partner about the particular motion, and so there was a lack of teamwork. Charlie and Anat were using these rounds to see how the participants of the trials can do on their own, what their strengths and weaknesses are. They used this knowledge on the next day to team up debaters, which they thought would fit well.
For the Friday social we managed (after a few phone calls) to find a typical Austrian restaurant where you can enjoy Austrian-style asparagus, as Charlie was looking forward to. This social was easy-going, since we still had a lot of debates ahead of us on the next day. So eating and discussing more or less debating related topics was the evening’s program.
On Saturday we had a full day of debating with four rounds, starting at 9 a.m. in the morning. During these four rounds Charlie and Anat were forming teams to figure out the best matches. Every round they assembled new teams, which allowed them to see a lot of different combinations. It was possible to get a partner you never had debated with before and it was really an experience to debate with so many different partners in such a short time. It was not always easy to use the preparation time carefully with an unknown partner.
It felt a little bit odd that we didn’t get a call or feedback after every round, but we were able to save time: The purpose was not to find a winner for the weekend but rather to find perfect contingent for EUDC.
Saturday’s social was Sabine’s birthday party at the same time. Sabine booked a nice place to celebrate, with lots of people, debaters and non-debaters. The evening was surrounded by a lot of drinks and music. By their nature debaters feel the need to compete all the time. As a consequence the evening was scene for intense matches of tabletop football.
The adjudication trials were held on Sunday. The participants had to watch a debate on a video screen and judge it, and after that they had to give a call and justify their decision.
After the adjudication trials, Charlie and Anat announced who they would sent to Zagreb this summer. Melanie Sindelar and Stefan Zweiker will lead the contingent as Vienna A, Madlen Stottmeyer and Mark Etzel form Vienna B and Andreas Villarreal and Christoph Jäger go as Vienna C, accompanied by Miri Muntean and Anne-Claire Sanna as adjudicators.
After the announcement, Charlie and Anat were giving us feedback for the whole weekend and told us about our strengths and weaknesses.
Charlie and Anat were amazing CAs and were really doing their best to find an amazing delegation. DKWien is really thankful that they helped us make a decision and we were really pleased to host them.
It was an exhausting but amazing weekend. Every participant got to know their strengths and weaknesses better, and learned what skills they should improve on. Furthermore it was a good possibility to find out who matches with whom really well, not just for EUDC, but generally for all tournaments.
DKWien is really proud to have found such a good delegation and wishes them all the best for Zagreb.
Katja Schager & Ingo Bandhauer / dpr