After an exciting, but tiring, first day, I bring you the first update on the Dutch delegation at Worlds. Starting with a quick recap of what happened today: we woke up at 6:30, ate breakfast and took a shower in Debater Town Kijkduin. We travelled with buses to the Haagse Hoge School, where all the debates would take place. After some briefings and fun announcements led by Senna and Tomas, it was finally debating time.
The motions today were:
Round 1: This House believes that post-genocidal regimes should destroy all places of extermination (for example, death camps)
Round 2: This House would allow members of the armed forces to form labour unions
Round 3: This House believes that sports leagues should significantly tax and redistribute from wealthier teams to poorer teams
The Dutch delegation ranks as follows:
Leiden C finished at 8 points.
Leiden B on 7.
Leiden A on 5.
Maastricht A on 5.
Maastricht B on 4.
Leiden D on 3.
Utrecht A on 3.
Bonaparte A on 3.
Wageningen A on 3.
But of course, I have not only debated the motions, I also conducted various interviews. I’m glad to tell you the interviews have gained some status in the Dutch delegation today, which allowed me to interview of the most promising teams at this competition: Leiden D. After round 2, these two Leiden youngsters were in a euphoric mood as they just won their first debate at a World Championships. Even though Tom and Louis are only student-debaters for a couple of months, they have extensive experience as debaters from when they were high-schoolers. Unfortunately, they took a 4th in the first round, but they were able to beat the other teams in their second room quite easily. They thought the motions were pretty decent and enjoyed the tournament so far. Asked about their goals, Leiden D told me they would not worry too much about the break and see where their journey would end. However, something tells me we should watch Leiden D closely the coming few days, as they showed the capacity to win rooms at WUDC and have a serious chance at breaking ESL.
Another team I interviewed today was Maastricht B. Alwin Bakker was dissatisfied with their third place in the first round, but this was not because of the call. He thought they had a winning case, but did not explain that well enough to the judges. I can confirm not explaining winning cases is an obstacle often faced when trying to win rooms. However, Alwin remained optimistic and down to earth about the coming rounds. At night, he is planning on playing videogames which allow him to be a dictator and ‘commit genocide if it is in his interest’. The enthusiasm he showed when telling me this might explain why he was not able to sway to judges in his first round of his winning case! In all seriousness, Maastricht B is a team that is often too modest about their debating skills and should be considered another Dutch force to be reckoned with.
Not only the debaters stressed out and performed to the best of their capabilities, today was another day for the volunteers in which they proved their importance for the tournament. I talked to Thomas, a volunteer that debates in Utrecht since August. His job today mainly consisted of delivering paper where necessary and obtaining the results from rooms. In his opinion an ‘easy, but important and rewarding task.’ Thomas is definitely having fun, mostly due to the people he gets to know from all around the world. ‘The volunteering is going well and I meet many different people. I talked to people from Harvard, Tel Aviv and Oxford, amongst others. Students from those universities are not ones I often encounter in Utrecht and make this experience extra enjoyable. The diversity in cultures and backgrounds people have here allows for some unique memories and fun times!’ Thomas, like most volunteers, sleeps little. Five hours last night to be precise. Nonetheless, Thomas is hanging in there and says ‘staying awake is a lot easier than I thought. Because you are constantly busy, there is no time for getting tired. Once you sit down though, tiredness can suddenly hit you in the face.’ The organization was too busy today to sit down for one of the interviews, but again huge thanks to all their efforts!
All in all, today brought some mixed feelings. Some teams are not quite satisfied with their performance quite yet (Utrecht A included) but the in-rounds are far from over. Everything is still possible and it now key for teams to start tomorrow with a fresh and positive mindset. The Dutch teams doing well obviously hope to continue their successful streak. For now, it is time to party for some and to sleep for others.
PS: Dutch Worlds has reached the national news! NOS visited the tournament. Link: http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2150653-geef-drie-redenen-waarom-een-concentratiekamp-moet-worden-afgebroken.html