St. George’s Debate Team Experience yet Another Bittersweet Defeat

Saints Debaters preparing materials during the pre-tournament briefing (Jerry Xu).

The St. George’s Debate Club hosted the Crofton House Debate Club on Monday, the 23rd of October, for the first of a series of inter-school debate tournaments. Consisting of three moderated rounds, the tournament lasted for a total of 4 hours, at the end of which winners were declared, and awards were given.


Although the evening was a success for the Organizing Committee, a disappointing finish awaited the St. George’s club, whose members had been practicing intensively for the past three weeks. Out of the 5 teams that participated at the event, only 1 was able to place in the top ten, and only 3 of its members were ranked within the top 10.


Swing debater Jason Guo preparing his case (Jerry Xu).


However, the tournament was not without success, no matter what the statistics may indicate. As according to the coaches, the St. George’s Team performed exceptionally well, far exceeding the expectations and standards of performance usually seen at practice sessions.


“I think that our boys really outdid themselves” the head coach of the club, Allan Lee said afterwards. “Considering that our opponents are from the club that is often ranked 1st place in the entire province, the boys put on a pretty good fight, and had some awards to show for it.” He adds “of course, had there been more attendance and funding over the past year, we might have gotten more practice, and the boys could’ve gone in with some more experience…but what’s done is what’s done…so our focus now is what more we can do moving forward.”


The debate itself consisted of three moderated rounds, with two teams consisting of two people are assigned a pre-determined topic. These pairings are made after careful consideration of each debater’s experience, as well as their past achievements in various other tournaments. That way, the organizing committee hoped that contesting teams would be evenly matched and that the results would be based on the logical weight of their constructed case alone.  


Organizers gathering nervously for a photograph as they complete their final preparations (Jerry Xu).


“The primary responsibility of any debater is to evoke support for their side of the argument through logic and careful constructive case building,” Said the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, David Ni. “Oftentimes, there is a marked difference between debates of differing experience in delivery, which might either obfuscate judges or else intimidate the junior debaters into performing at a lower than customary level.”


When pressed to elaborate more on the Saints Debate Club, Mr. David Ni, who is also a coach, became more pensive. “I think…that while our performance is once again rather lacking, as compared to the Crofton Club, there is definitely much improvement that has occurred, even just over these past two months” He continues “the future of Saints debate; however, is looking quite bright, so there may come a time when we can claim our own place in the provincial rankings.”


The Saints Club departs, perhaps not in the highest of spirits, but certainly hopeful for the future (Jerry Xu).


It must be remarked that Saints Debate had been on the decline for the past few years due to decreased interest from new students and an overall lack of funding. It would be interesting to observe the performance of the club moving forward, as its ranks are replenished with more hopeful juniors.