Debate past graduation
January 24, 2012 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Are there ways to continue to do college-style competitive debate after college?

My college debate career is done. There aren't any more tournaments this year I'll be able to or eligible to compete in, and I'm graduating this year.

However, I enjoyed the activity (intercollegiate policy debate) very much, and wish there were some way I could continue being a participant in competitive policy-style debate. The part of the activity that I enjoyed the most was something that couldn't be done in most venues of discourse - the ability to introduce a completely off-the-wall concept into discussion and be able to have an earnest discussion on it, knowing that you would be engaged (in the case of intercollegiate policy debate, you will almost definitely lose a round if you refuse to engage an opponent on a line of argumentation.)

Do such opportunities even exist?
posted by LSK to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It's called a law career. Or politics.
posted by Murray M at 8:19 PM on January 24, 2012

The only thing I can think of that's even in the ballpark (though will watch this thread with interest!) is Toastmasters.
posted by librarylis at 8:48 PM on January 24, 2012

I know some graduate students who coach college and high school debate.
posted by kickingthecrap at 9:04 PM on January 24, 2012

kickingthecrap: While coaching is nice, I'm not remotely skilled enough to coach. I absolutely want to be a debater.

I gave this some further thought, and wonder: Would it be even remotely feasible to organize an annual or biannual debate tournament open to the public? Possibly for charity?
posted by LSK at 9:15 PM on January 24, 2012

Concur with Murray M -- it's called politics.
posted by summerstorm at 9:42 PM on January 24, 2012

Heh. Try as I might, this is going to be me here pretty soon. 7 years in, this next one will be my last. Near as I've been able to find, there's only a few options:

A. Politics (Though this really isn't similar in most ways, it's about as close as you'll get for 'practical' terms)
B. Coaching (Find somewhere that doesn't have a team, and make one. You don't have to be great to get people started)
C. Coaching or assisting a high school team (This is doubly valuable as many schools are losing their programs, if they had one to begin with.)
D. Doing something else for a while and coming back to school for another degree. (I'm not sure how plausible this one is, but my coaches have joked/brought up being eligible again after being out for a certain amount of terms, so there might be something to it.)

Best of luck to you, though. There's nothing like it, I know.
posted by CrystalDave at 1:53 AM on January 25, 2012

Go international. In Europe the debate never stops! However, their style of debate is pretty different. But it's something to look in to and a great excuse for a fun trip abroad.
posted by prefpara at 5:06 AM on January 25, 2012

I suggest you just start a club. You are certainly not the only one who would want this and in fact I see there are already many debate meetups for adults. You could use to create a debate group in your own area and perhaps set up competitions with others. The World Debating website has a Q&A about adult debating. The International Debate Education Association discussess setting up clubs - the focus is on students but it also mentions community centers, etc, so perhaps it's not exclusive to youth.

I wish you luck and think it would be fun. Debate is a structured competitive activity, not the same as law, politics, or plain arguing, so to replicate the experience you need to do something that, well, replicates the experience. It looks like many adults are interested in continuing with debate and perhaps some more Googling and looking for resources via these websites will start you off toward finding some like-minded people.
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on January 25, 2012

Oops, International Debate Ed. Assoc.
posted by Miko at 6:25 AM on January 25, 2012

It's called a law career. Or politics.

No, it's really, really not. I'm a lawyer and a former debater from both high school and college. I love being a lawyer, but do not go to law school for this reason. Trust me on this.
posted by gd779 at 4:25 PM on January 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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