Sunday, April 26, 2009

Read that, I think Mark has figured out what I was trying to figure out but couldn't because I couldn't get over myself. He has some really good thoughts.


  1. I attempted to read that at 1:30 last night. I got halfway through and skimmed the rest.

    At the time only five or so people had responded, and I shared their sentiments. The whole thing had a "melodramatic missive" feel to it - what was he really saying? I'm still not really sure. What did he want to do about it? I don't have the faintest inkling. I can't tell if it's a critique on the attitude of competitors towards winning or of the league for promoting winning.

    My mom thinks that because NCFCA has been growing and doing some great things in the past couple years, Satan's working harder to tear it down, spiritual warfare and that stuff. And I don't know what I think about that, but I do think these politics with the league are stupid. This isn't healthy conflict, people need to get over what they think about the rules (whether that be anti-rules or pro-rules) and remember NCFCA's mission statement. This stuff isn't worth compromising the unity of the league, IMHO. The conflict is making me sad and I have shrinking sympathies for anything contributing to the conflict.

    Mark's heart seems like it's in the right place, but I'm not certain his thoughts were concise or gathered enough for what he was saying to be beneficial, I'm afraid it just might make things worse.

  2. I echo what Hayley is saying, that his point and proposed solution is unclear. It seems to me that he's fighting the current policies or supposed bureaucracy merely for the sake of exposing the league's weaknesses.

    It is a competitive arena, so in a "free market" of sorts, the most effective communicators will succeed. I understand his point about the judging paradigm, he's afraid that Truth and integrity will be sacrificed because students will do whatever it takes to win. But, hmm...if winning doesn't matter, why do we have to add more rules to attempt to reward those students who aren't competing to win?

    The whole post made me confused, perhaps I've not been in the league long enough to see all the politicking. =/

    I wish he had identified clearly what exactly is the problem, and what can be done. *sigh*

  3. Hmmm, I guess when I read it I didn't notice the vague melodramatic tone because I just read into it what I felt was wrong with the league. I think that his concerns for the league become plainer when reading his other posts, that the overemphasis on competition is to blame, and not the people. But he doesn't have a clear solution, there I can agree.

    I know that in my home, the politics of the league have been topics of frequent disgruntled conversation. Perhaps because I just don't like rules, or because I don't like change, I'm opposed to pretty much all of the rule changes.

    And maybe just because I've been inconvenienced by the rules, like wearing nametags all the time, or not rolling up my sleeves, or having such a painful time trying to get my scripts approved.

    But I think that Mark is coming from the right place. He's gotten past the competition, and from there he's spoken up about how stupid the competition really is. In a way, the whole system wouldn't work without the competition, but just because something is necessary doesn't mean we should place so much emphasis on it.

  4. As for the emphasis on winning, I'm not sure that's the fault of NCFCA leadership, and it's certainly something I haven't experienced first-hand. Ultimately, though, the rules can't be blamed for the mindsets of /people./ The case could be made that the rule change has drawn more attention towards "winning" but it doesn't matter. So some people care about winning. Their loss. It's not the responsibility of the league to stop that.

    The rules have been a hot topic in our house, too. I hate having to hold my breath in the massive script submission line, or watch my friends get DQ'd for silly reasons, or try and make pieces work without transitions, but what is comes down to is - this is the league and those are the rules, and if I really don't like them I can leave. Sure, I wish things were different and I miss the good old days, but the changes aren't worth crucifying the unity of the league. I love NCFCA for what it's taught me, the friends it's brought me, and the cred it's given to my transcript (:P) and so it kills me to go to tournaments and see people crying or arguing. The conflict isn't worth it.

  5. And here we see the classic Feeling/Thinking dichotomy, as a feeler, Hayley would rather avoid conflict, and as a thinker, Micah would like to avoid pointless and pedantic rules. [/braintype commentary]

    "The overemphasis on competition is to blame, and not the people." Where is this emphasis coming from? Are you saying that the league's rules are somehow catering to the competitive spirit of its participants? If we decry the rules as unjust, it seems we will be committing the same error that inspired the restrictive rules in the first place.

    If winning isn't a priority, can't we just function within the rules that NCFCA gives us?

  6. I think that the rules are doing a good job making the competition fair. They help to ensure that nobody wins without deserving it, and so the challenge of speaking comes from finding and presenting a piece without transitions, smoothly incorporating source citations, staying in the competition by wearing your nametag all the time (:P)

    But all the rules have done is furthered justice. And I feel they have done so at the expense of communication. Ultimately, the rules have made the competition a better one, but it shouldn't have been about the competition in the first place.

    I think that the rules do cater to the people who care about winning. They cater to the people who complain, and the people who complain are probably the ones who care about winning.

    I just think that if we were united in focusing on building communication skills (and I think that all of us want to do that, but that it might not be our highest priority) than we wouldn't be quibbling over script submissions.

    Example, my duo script had the title appear twice, because that's how I format my documents (with the title at the top of the page). That appearance had no effect whatsoever on my performance, but the rules said it had to go. It inconvenienced me, the people in line behind me, and the people processing my script... and for what?

  7. I think there's a fine line between striving for excellence in every area and completely missing the point. It's true, the rules are there to help make the competition fair and allow the league to function with less conflict, but they often cause more problems than they solve.

    Yes, we should work hard to create the best environment in which we can focus on developing our communication skills, but we shouldn't flip out if the rules don't go our way. If winning really isn't everything, we shouldn't care too much about the rules. If we're competing to improve our skills, we should want to follow the rules so that we can compete. Thus, even when our heart is in the right place, a want to compete should create a want to follow the rules.

    In short: yes, the rules do cater to the people who care about winning, but they cater equally to the people who care about improving. They're created by people who care for people who care. It's up to us to get our priorities straight.