Lil' Sophists

by by David Scofield

This one goes out to all you local sports fans. This weekend, the two hardest-hitting high school debate organizations in the nation came together in an epic battle of wits. That's right, the Rhode Island Urban Debate League and the Boston Debate League went head-to-head. After a few rounds of rhetorical jumping jacks on Friday, the students debated for over 12 hours on Saturday. "My students are creating a network of arguments more brilliant than the American highway system," said Gene Robinson, coaching assistant for Woonsocket High School.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="576" caption="See that jacket? He doesn't need notes."][/caption]

The competition format was simple. School teams split up into pairs and spoke against other schools. In each match, one pair supported the affirmative position for a specific case within a general resolution, and the other pair supported the negative. The resolution for this season was that NASA should expand exploration beyond the mesophere. Cases within the resolution included mars colonization, lasers to zap asteroids, and funding for the search for extra terrestrial intelligence.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="538" caption="Mars? Yea, that's pretty cool."][/caption]

There was room for both high-flown ideology and blunt ultimatums during these debates. "Expansion beyond the mesophere is just the new fixation for the Western frontier mentality," said one debater. "If you don't vote for the affirmative, you're killing everyone," said another. In the varsity championship, a team from Boston won on the case of deploying satellites to protect the earth from asteroids. Giandra Rivas, a JV debater from Paul Cuffee High School, said after watching the varsity match, "I can speak that fast, too. But I don't think I am ever gonna talk about Mars again after this year."

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="512" caption="More like buffet-ers"][/caption]