Getting Ready For The Big Day: The first report of the Dutch Delegation attending Dutch Worlds

Dutch Worlds has started and the delegation from the Netherlands has made an excessive effort in travelling from all provinces and small towns to attend. Normally Daan takes care of these updates, but the next couple of days I, Jelte, will keep everyone interested up to date. For the non-debaters amongst you (hi mom), a quick recap of what a WUDC is.
There will be 9 in-rounds in which everyone will participate. Debaters can break to the out-rounds in three different categories: English as Primary Language (EPL), English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL). The out-rounds are the finals that will determine who will be champion in their language category. All Dutch debaters qualify as ESL and will therefore be eligible to break in two categories: the Open-category, containing all teams participating, and in the ESL-category, containing all ESL and EFL teams. Your performance as a team in the first 9 rounds will determine whether you can debate in the out-rounds. The break will be announced at the start of the new year, around 00:00.

Starting tomorrow, we will thus have three days with three in-rounds each. The Dutch delegation obviously does not only consist of the debaters (who have been introduced by Daan in this article: http://www.debatbond.nl/2016/12/26/voorbeschouwing-het-wk-debatteren-in-nederland/), as there are judges, volunteers and organising members as well. In these reports, I’ll give updates about what the Dutch delegation have achieved, how they feel and what their goals are in the rest of the tournament.

My interviews have unfortunately not reached a notorious status (yet), but I found someone willing to take part in it. I was lucky Jos – a former member of the organization and now here to help as a volunteer – made time for my questions. Jos describes his task as: ‘answering all the stupid questions you actually do not want to answer when participants cannot go to anyone of the organization. In all seriousness, we are helping debaters and judges with all relevant questions at the Helpdesk. It is a very satisfying job, as you get to help lots of people.’ Jos is exemplary for the overall volunteer-crew at Dutch Worlds. It is often underestimated what volunteers have to deal with if debaters are frustrated, tired and hungry. Volunteers such as Jos are here to help out. ‘If I have already encountered a bad experience? There was one debater who was unreasonably angry at us because his credit card didn’t work. He expected us to solve everything, but contrary to common belief, volunteers cannot magically solve ALL your problems. But he was the only one, so overall the debaters have been genuinely nice to us. It makes me feel valued and I think it is one of the best aspects of the debating community: the genuine interest in everyone.’ After being awake for 21 hours, Jos managed to sleep for seven hours, which he thought was probably his biggest accomplishment so far at Dutch Worlds. Keep rocking Jos (and all the other volunteers)!

While the volunteers are incredibly busy, the debaters and judges are now waiting for the battle to start tomorrow. They are chilling in their houses, attending meetings and doing other random things. I interviewed Utrecht A to get a better understanding of all the emotions and thoughts they are experiencing right now. The informed reader might have already noticed I am myself part of Utrecht A, we could not find any other team at the moment. Utrecht A said they prepared in the following ways: (Pieter) ‘We debated at Leiden a couple of times.’ (Jelte): ‘Pieter means we got slaughtered a couple of times at Leiden. But what doesn’t kill you make you stronger right? (Pieter – continuing while ignoring Jelte who is interviewing himself) ‘In addition, I have read the Economist. Jelte probably mostly thought about what he could do in order to prep, without actually doing a thing because he is lazy.’
On their goals for the tournament: Utrecht A hopes to break in the ESL category but is rather pessimistic of the likelihood of that actually happening. (Pieter) ‘We just want to have fun. If we do well, we can always become nervous and then choke, just like we did at EUDC (The European Championships red.).’ Pieter is a bit nervous. In a healthy way he claims. He does feel the pressure to perform after the disastrous ending of the EUDC last summer. When I asked the question if Utrecht A wanted to say something to their parents, Pieter respectfully declined and Jelte said: ‘I want to use this moment to congratulate my father who turned 50 today. Unfortunately, I could not be there, but I’m sure he had a great day!’

In the next few days, I’ll interview more Dutch teams and see what their view is on their performances etc. In addition to the debaters, there are also quite some Dutch adjudicators who will be participating in the debates the coming few days. I arranged a conversation with one of the upcoming Dutch debaters/judges: Marike Breed from Bonaparte Amsterdam. Marike is planning on making Dutch Worlds ‘incredibly fun. I am planning to judge some good rooms and go hard at the socials.’ She is not really focused on breaking as a judge, but might try to approach Michael Dunn (one of the CA’s red.) in order to persuade him in some unconventional ways. It has to be noted Tom Pouw, her boyfriend, is starting to throw some uncomfortable looks in Marike’s way at this point in the conversations. Marike continues without paying attention to Tom and names quite some other well-known debaters. When asked if she prefers chairing the bin, or winging the top-room, Marike chose a position as wing without hesitation, but stressed she meant ‘no disrespect to lower-ranking teams.’

All in all, the Dutch delegation is incredibly excited for the tournament. The orgcom was very busy today, but did an incredible job so far in making the tournament run very smoothly. I hope to be able to bring you good results every day, stay tuned for more!

Jelte Schievels

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