By Michelle Xu

Weekends are a good time to sleep in, relax, and catch up on homework, but on the weekend of November 8th to 10th, it was a time for debaters of all kinds to compete in the Damus Hollywood Debate Invitational. Held at Notre Dame High School, the Damus tournament was a TOC bid tournament. TOC stands for Tournament of Champions, a national high school debate tournament and is the most prestigious tournament a debater can compete at. In order to qualify for a TOC tournament, you must get two “bids” at qualifying tournaments. The Damus tournament gave bids at the quarterfinals stage, which meant that the top 8 competitors would get a bid. Some of the best teams in the nation were at this tournament, making it a challenge, even for varsity debaters!

As if the tournament wasn’t challenging enough already, a bunch of teams came to debate at this tournament. In the category of Policy debate alone, there were 90 Open Policy entries and 30 Novice Policy entries, adding up to 120 teams!

The Damus tournament as a three-day tournament, with preliminary rounds on Saturday and Sunday, and elimination rounds on Monday. There were 4 rounds the first day and 2 rounds the second. If you made it to the elimination rounds, you would go to octofinals, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals respectively.

To keep themselves in tip-top shape for such a challenging tournament, teams used all the free time they got to prep. If they weren’t debating, teams were in cafeterias and empty classrooms revising cases and reviewing evidence on their laptops.

Sure, the Damus Hollywood Debate Invitational tournament may be tough and time consuming, but it may just be one of the most valuable experiences a debater will get.