Associated Press, aka Andy Backlund

September 20, 2004


MADISON – Whitman Debate circa 1994 Lays a Smack Down On Whitman Debate circa 2004


In what can only be described as some old timers reliving their glory years, members of the 1994 Whitman Debate Team trounced the 2004 Whitman Debate Team in this weekend’s tournament.  


The tournament was the brainchild of Andy “Molasses” Backlund who issued a challenge to debate coach Jim Hanson, Whitman’s current debate coach and coach of the 1994 team.  Andy allegedly boasted that team 1994 would “open a can of whoop ass and show these young whipper snappers a thing or two.”  Never one to back down, Hanson gladly accepted the challenge. 


The first order of business for “team 1994” was to decide how to partner up.  Since most everyone had partnered with everyone else in this incestuous crew, the decision was not as easy as you might think.  Add in the fact that six of the members are now married to each other and you could run into some problems. 


The team circa 1994. Andy is located in the front with blue shirt. Loan Lam is in the second row with a blue shirt. Jared is right next to her, followed by Jen and Char, Casie and Steve. You can spot Jim in a second. Rowland is right behind Jared next to Rowland. Behind Char’s head is Matt (barely showing) and Nicole. Steve Rowe is below Jim in the picture.


After considering re-pairing by married couples i.e. Andy Backlund and Jen Becker, Loan Lam and Jared Phillips and Nicole Matarelli-Levin and Matt Levin, leaving Char Smith-McClusky to partner with Rowland Hobbs.  It is also rumored that Jennifer Becker vetoed the idea saying, “If you think I’m pairing with that slow as molasses spouse of mine, you’ve got another thing coming.  I mean, chunky peanut butter spreads better than that guy.”  In the end, the teams decided to go with Char and Jen, Nicole and Rowland, Jared and Andy, and the best team that had better things to do after their sophomore years, Matt and Loan. 


The next order of business was coming up with a case and some evidence files.  Jen Becker came to the rescue after she pulled out her old files which she had meticulously kept organized the past 10 years through advanced color coding, cross referencing and subject alphabetization.  The team decided to go with the ever popular land mines case.  The case calls for the removal of landmines in Cambodia and is epitomized by the real life story of Stump and Crutch, two children who tragically lost limbs due to landmines. 


Team 1994 clearly had no idea what the current debate topic is, but that didn’t stop them.  As Jared and Andy stated, “you think we are actually going to research?  I mean, Steve Rowe wasn’t at this competition.  We had no choice but to rely on old files.”  Besides, as Rowland and Nicole stated, “Topicality, shmopicality… we can make any case topical.” 


Round one pitted Nicole and Rowland vs. Matt Schissler and Ross Richendrfer.  Matt and Ross took the straightforward strategy of debating topicality since land mines have absolutely nothing to do with the actual topic.  Rowland and Nicole set the tone for the entire tournament with their 132 point topicality brief.  As Rowland stated before his rebuttal, “please take out a separate sheet of paper for this argument,” onlookers knew the round was over.  Matt and Ross were overheard after the round complaining to Hanson, “I mean… good god… was response 113 something about a Russian Bank?”


Next up was Char and Jen debating Beth Schueler and Eric Suni.  In a stunning move, Char and Jen bamboozled their opponents by pulling out their tomahawk missile case at the last minute.  In 1AC, Jen stated that President Bush himself had assured her that these missiles only blew up guns, tanks and other machinery and that the people wo/manning such munitions were whisked away by his new tele-ma-porter machine just prior to impact.  Clearly taken by surprise, Beth and Eric struggled to come up with a disadvantage to these “deathless smart weapons” that purportedly would rid the world of Al Qaeda and lead to world peace.


Description: policy team

The team circa 2004. Jim, Ben, Beth, Jeff, Matt, Eric, Joe, and in front Meghan and Ross. Dana not pictured.


The next round pitted Matt and Loan vs. Ben Meiches and Jeff Buntin.  Matt got off to a bumpy start when he started his 1AC with, “I can’t believe I let Nicole talk me in to this stupid tournament… was I even on the team in 1994…  and what the hell is our criteria anyway?”  Things calmed down as he cleanly read through his case that he had cleverly pasted onto note cards instead of those clunky long sheets of paper.  Not wanting to repeat the topicality debacle of teammates Matt and Ross, Ben and Jeff tried to out debate Matt and Loan on land mine Lacanian theory through rebuttals.  In the end, Loan’s chilling rendition of Stump and Crutch was simply too much for the youngsters.


The last round featured Jared and Andy vs. Dana Randall and Meghan Hughes.  This round also got off to a bumpy start as Andy struggled to finish the 1AC within the time limits and skipped various cards to finally make it through.  Dana came back with a skillful 1NC bringing up various well researched disadvantages.  Unfortunately for Dana and Meghan, these disadvantages were written for the actual topic and were clearly inapplicable to land mines.  Once Jared began his 2AC with his infamous catch phrase, “Dana’s disadvantages are fascinating… but irrelevant,” the writing was on the wall.  If Andy simply managed to keep up in 1AR, Jared and Andy were a lock.  The 1AR was not without its tribulations, but Andy managed to make it through and Dana and Meghan lost a close battle.  Meghan did take home a small victory, however, when Andy ran away crying after she made him admit in CX that he still didn’t know who Japan’s Prime Minister was. 


Throughout Whitman circa 2004’s thorough thrashing at the hands of Whitman circa 1994, Jim Hanson could be heard in the background yelling at the top of his lungs, “Do something… zingies… I said more zingies… that’s not a zingy!!!”  Emboldened by her earlier victory (and a couple of shots of Southern Comfort with Mountain Dew chasers) Jen Becker finally lashed out, “I got your zingy and your mama’s zingy over here.”


Whitman circa 2004 clearly has talent, but they proved to be no match for Whitman circa 1994 and their clever bag of tricks.  All in all it was a great tournament and a true victory for “old fogies trying to relive their youth” everywhere