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The Poison Ivy League Part 40-Promise at Smith and Wesleyan

May 3, 2011

Kimel and Jason broke as the top seed at Smith, winning all five of their preliminary rounds. They advanced to semi-finals and ran Jason’s case, Opp choice, whether sweat-shops were beneficial or detrimental to the economy of a developing nation, losing on a painfully close decision to Piso from Maryland and his partner Statius. This Statius was the last vestige of competence on the NYU team but rather like a poor man’s version of Vergil. When not hybriding with Piso, who’d lost Plancinus to overseas study, his only recourse for a partner was an aggressive Eastern European woman.

In the final round, Kimel, Sulla A, and Jason contrived a hilarious floor speech in favor of Petronius and Josephus. The round involved whether sporting events like the Olympics should be held in nations with human rights abuses. Kimel imitated the nation of Libya most memorably in his part of the skit; Josephus and Petronius went on to win the tournament thanks, according to the tie-breaking judge, to the hilarity of the floor speech. For his part, Kimel regretted not having advanced to finals, but his first showing with Jason was strong enough to prolong their partnership for at least another week.

This floor speech at Smith was a comedic highlight on par with Germanicus’s famous speech at MIT in 2003 involving Santa Claus. As humorous as it was, however, it paled in comparison to side-splitting scenarios Kimel had encountered in individual rounds over the course of his career. By far the funniest situation was when he and Sulla B hit the case that if a hypothetical boyfriend went out with a girl who’d gained ten pounds over the course of their long relationship since high school, he should not tell her she was fat. Specifically, Sulla B and Kimel were compelled to defend the scenario that “the first word out of the boyfriend’s mouth should be ‘yes’ ” if accosted by his lover about whether she were overweight. This was simply absurd, particularly since ten pounds since high school hardly seemed like a drastic change. Kimel suggested that he should say, “Yes, like I would ever call you fat.” Other ridiculous rounds at various tournaments regarded whether ketchup should be the “national condiment” (Kimel countered with salsa), whether red should be eliminated from the American flag because it was the color of blood, and a case about refusing to speak to an ex-girlfriend in a tight-link round at Yale on the topic “this House would not negotiate with terrorists.”

At the following week’s Wesleyan tournament, Kimel and Jason again won all five of their in-rounds, again advancing to semi-finals and again losing on a close decision, this time to Lepidus and Antony. Harvard had only just defeated Johns Hopkins during in-rounds, and it was frustrating for Kimel to give way to those he’d just beaten. They were a formidable pair, however, and Kimel respected their case-book as the only one on the circuit that approached his own in off-beat thematic content. Their final-round case involved whether an individual should wish to be born with an “aesthetic” or “rational” will. This was a fascinating question which Kimel would have been happy to have explored; he certainly would have done a better job of it than Hirtius from Yale, who lost the round on an 8-3 decision. That year’s APDA President, the subject matter was not his forte.

Kimel and Jason performed well together, as expected, but had no specific conquest to their name to cement their alliance. Petronius and Josephus and Sulla A and B had already qualified for Nationals together by this point. A great deal would depend on how they fared at Columbia, which was coming up in two weeks. In the meanwhile, the time had come for the annual Harvard tournament. With 157 teams registered to attend, it was to be among the largest on the circuit in recent memory. Smith, which was a relatively populous tournament, had about half as many competitors, for comparison’s sake.

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