Skip to main content

A day in the life of a judge in the Illinois LD Circuit

5:05 AM - Wake up, shower, get dressed, pack laptop and books.

5:26 AM - Head out to the nearest bus stop.

5:49 AM - Bus arrives, ride for several miles and neighborhoods until 55th and California streets.

6:13 AM - Get off Bus #1 (the 55), start walking towards 44th street along the 94 Bus route.

6:20 AM - Catch Bus #2 (the 94) until Thomas Kelly High School

6:30 AM - Arrive in time at Thomas Kelly High School. Stand outside in 4 degree weather waiting for Bus #3.

7:00 AM - Bus #3 shows up 30 minutes late, leave Thomas Kelly for second high school.

7:15 AM - Bus stops at Farragut High School to pick up second team, leaves for Barrington High School.

8:25 AM - Bus arrives at Barrington High School, dropping teams off at the wrong entrance. Become struck by how much Barrington is like Montville High School in New Jersey.

9:00 AM - Pairings are released. Curse the fact that the first round to be judged is a novice round.

9:05 AM - After picking up ballot, round one degenerates into an affirmative that lacks sufficient arguments (2:34 AC out of 6:00) versus a negative case that says all US actions are unjust because the United States is illegitimate and proposes an alternative of anarchism.

9:35 AM - Because of round's shortness, heavy critique and disclosure. Speaker points are written, as is the ballot heavily to make sure triplicate copies will be readable.

9:45 AM - Round 2 has begun, this time another novice round. Confusion of the concept of "independence" makes round not fun to adjudicate. Speaker points are written in terms of algebraic functions.

10:30 AM - Round 3 begins, this time varsity. Expectations of higher quality barely pan out, as the affirmative manages to make the only clear extension of the day that leads to easiest decision of the day. The result is that I awarded a win to a debater who forfeited his last round. The concepts of "ad-hoc" and "international" are found not to be mutually exclusive.

11:30 AM - Pairings for round 4 released. At this point fall asleep.

11:45 AM - Awaken to realize that round 4 schematics include another novice round to judge. Handed ballot by Barrington debater converted into temporary lackey.

12:00 PM - Round 4 creates 4 hypothetical scenarios, all of which are impossible (destruction of relations with China, Europe opposing America at every turn, Mexico suing America for deporting illegal immigrants, the Taliban suing the United States for war crimes). Failure to understand basic geography, demographics, and facts forces intervention.

1:00 PM - Find out judges' lounge has been dismantled. Disappointed by lack of lunch.

2:45 PM - After wait, awards are finished. Paid $40 for services previously rendered.

4:15 PM - Return to Thomas Kelly High School after long bus ride. Receive additional $40 for services previously rendered.

5:15 PM - Return to dorm room.