A pub, a castle, a beach – This was the Masters’ Cup 2010

Datum: Sep 29th, 2010
By
Category: DDG, Turniere

Eisenach is neither very big nor is it very exciting. Out-of-towners attract attention. A bewildered taxi driver asks a party-hungry debater whether he has arrived today. He has not. He has arrived here the day before. What for? To do the same thing, the Deutsche Debattiergesellschaft  (DDG), the German alumni association of former student debaters, has done every year in this small but lovely Thuringian town: Convene its Masters’ Cup.

Die neu eingeführten Manschettenknöpfe mit DDG-Vereinsabzeichen. Daneben gibt es auch Pins fürs Revers und Magnetpins. (Foto: Oliver Hörtensteiner)

All DDG members are allowed to compete, all others are invited to come and judge. The tournament has become famous for being an entertaining and laid back event – probably its main reason for never short of participants. This time 35 speakers and 20 judges have come from all over Germany, the youngest are almost 20, the oldest way past their thirties. The Masters’ Cup has become an occasion to witness remarkable battles: Former team partners become opponents, old adversaries ally with each other, sometimes old team mates are reunited: It’s all a matter of destiny as for each round new team constellation are drawn. As Marcus Ewald and Torsten Rössing, German National Champions of 2008, are forced to speak against each other, Lukas Haffert and Sebastian Berg, winners of the ZEIT DEBATTE in Göttingen, 2008 team up again to fight a randomly drawn opposition.

The judges – used to tight schedules and more complex debating formats from the ZEIT DEBATTEN series – are grateful for this rather special style the Masters’ Cup uses. Its rules fit onto a single page; its amusing debates don’t last longer than 28 minutes and feature performances of former and current top debaters. That’s also the reason why not all DDG members take up the opportunity to speak. A 25-year-old, who came to judge, admits: “I rather enjoy the debates from a judging perspective then being ripped apart rhetorically by those competing debating stars.”

Hannes Budelmann, DDG-Vorstandsmitglied seit 2007, nimmt seinen Hut. (Foto: Oliver Hörtensteiner)

But it’s not fame and glory that brings speakers to Eisenach – it’s the opportunity to meet and catch up. And to take a look at the new DDG emblem, which is now available on pins, magnet pins and cuff links. The evening activities at – by now  traditional – locations offer the opportunity to chat. After Friday evening’s round one (This house would found a party right of the Christian Democrats) the crowd crawls to the city’s Irish Pub. While the 60 participants are observed by the locals, their full attention is occupied with the association’s newly designed annual look book, which is distributed by outgoing president Hannes Budelmann. The book is larger than in previous years – a direct consequence of the new bachelor degrees, which allows more under 25s to join the DDG. (If you hold a university degree you can enter under the age of 25). At the same time the DDG matures. More weddings, more pregnancies, more job changes are announced. Those not able to join the party at least gave notice of their current status through the year book.

Jan Lüken haut in die Tasten. (Foto: Oliver Hörtensteiner)

Day two traditionally starts out early – also because the hostel has no mercy when it comes to breakfast time. Rather surprisingly the eve’s Guinness has not stopped the debaters from showing up quite on time. Early birds are welcomed with life music: VDCH-president Jan Lüken sits at the piano and impresses his audience.

The following prelims featured debates on the reimplementation of pillories and the question of whether “This house should go offline”.  The semifinal motion was “This house would allow general strikes” – so far forbidden in Germany. While the proposition argued that general strikes improved the level of political participation and would give workers a strong tool to fight for their political goals, the opposition stated that general strikes were undemocratic as it gave more voting power to those working and was nothing short of blackmailing the political system.

What’s next? The weekend’s official highlight: The final evening on the Wartburg, the castle on which Martin Luther was kept in exile and translated the bible. After a tasty buffet the final starts: Sebastian Berg and Patrick Ehmann form the proposition on the motion that “This house would convene the Loveparade 2011”. On opposition are Lukas Haffert and Jens Fischer, arguing that individual grief is not possible if the event is brought back to life. Eventually Jens Fischer wins – he is the Master of Masters 2010! Well deserved, one could argue, as it’s been his fourth participation in a final in a row.

The official highlight was followed by the clandestine highlight: the party at Eisenach’s very own nightclub “The Beach”. Surrounded by artificial palm trees and fine sand the debaters conquered the dance floor, the very motivated ones even the podium. The local population seems astound, maybe for a reason: It remains amazing what “90s music” can do to thirty-something ex-debaters when they are left by themselves.

Der neu gewählte DDG-Vorstand 2010/2011, v.l.: Gudrun, Isabelle, Stefan und Oliver. (Foto: Anna Hörtensteiner)

Sunday morning: while the night’s traces are very visible on most faces it is time for business. The DDG holds its annual general assembly to find a new board. After three years the association’s president Hannes Buddelmann is stopping down, leaving his office for a successor. And also here two former team mates compete for the new presidency. Former German National Champions Marietta Gädeke and Gudrun Lux have both decided to run for president. Gudrun wins the election. She will be supported by new vice-presidents Stefan Hübner, Isabelle Loewe and Oliver Hörtensteiner.

The time has finally come: it’s time to say goodbye. And for once the group agrees: Eisenach is very exciting – at least when the debaters come to town.

Since 2004 the Masters’ Cup is the DDG’s annual tournament. Since 2005 it is convened in Eisenach, its final takes place in the festival hall on the Wartburg. The tournament has its own style, the Masters Format, in which team mates change randomly each round. DDG members are eligible to compete as well as the winners of the DDG-Novice medal. Younger debaters are invited to come and judge, the CA team is traditionally formed by both a member of the DDG and a member of the VDCH. A list of motions and former winners can be found here.

Sarah Kempf and Anja Pfeffermann

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1 Kommentare zu “A pub, a castle, a beach – This was the Masters’ Cup 2010”

  1. Verena Gräf says:

    Klingt nach einem ereignisreichen und unvergesslichen Wochenende! Wie gern wär ich auch dabei gewesen 🙂 Ich hätt den armen Eisenachern auf Thüringisch versichert, dass ihr alle handzahm seid 😉

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