College Policy Debate Forums

DISCUSSION => Open Topic -- Any issue => Topic started by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:33:10 PM



Title: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:33:10 PM
From: Marie A Dzuris

In times of loss, I both hate and love Facebook. I am still trying to process that the debate community at large and me personally have lost a great friend/coach in Chuck Ballingall. I love reading all the tributes from so many. I hate that it just highlights the magnitude of the loss. RIP my friend - you made a difference and will be missed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:35:37 PM
Jeffrey Wortman


I was scheduled to have dinner with my long time debate friends Byron Arthur and Chuck Ballingall just a few weeks ago, but Chuck cancelled because he was under the weather. At the time I remember thinking that it was no big deal that Chuck cancelled because we will have more opportunities down the road. Cherish every opportunity you have with your friends folks. In an instant, things can change. Chuck was one of the finest debate coaches I have known, but he was much more than that. He will be missed. Rest In Peace my friend.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:36:49 PM
David Glass


Terribly sorry to hear about Chuck Ballingall dying, a good friend since his early days coaching at Marlboro High School in New Jersey, and through all his decades at Damien. Condolences to his family, former students, and of course the whole debate community.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:37:13 PM
Andrea Alterman

Still finding it hard to believe. Was just trying to explain to my husband what kind of person Chuck was and I couldn't do him justice. I ended up with he was a guy that everyone wanted to know and be around. What a loss.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:41:06 PM
Andres Gannon‎

I regretfully pass along the sad news that Chuck Ballingall, the Director of Debate at Damien High School for the past 25+ years, passed away earlier today. Chuck coached many nationally competitive debate teams during his time at Damien and was a member of the CHSSA Hall of Fame as well as a 3 star National Forensic League coach. He will always be remembered for his outstanding sense of humor, sharp mind in and out of the classroom, and most impressively, managing a debate team full of adolescent boys. Our condolences go out to his family and the many friends whose lives he changed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 13, 2017, 04:41:26 PM
Toni Nielson

Sad to hear of Chuck's passing - he was a force for debate in Southern California and enriched the lives of many young people. RIP Chuck.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:27:28 AM
John Q. Barrett

 What a good guy, debater, teacher, coach, and person. What a terrible loss.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:27:57 AM
Bryon Gill

My first lab instructor, sorry to hear.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:28:26 AM
Lindsay Harrison

He was such a lovely person


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:28:53 AM
McClure Cronin

I don't know how to explain how I felt hearing this news... I never was a Damien debater, but the Love and support that Chuck gave me throughout my debate career is truly something I want to emulate. I hope he knows how great of an impact he had on our community and the hundreds of student (thousands? that he worked with.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:29:15 AM
Teja Vepa

Ballingall was a keystone of our community. I'm still in shock after hearing the news today. Chuck taught so much about debate, about coaching, and about life. He will be missed by so many.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:29:33 AM
Mike Shackelford

He was a mentor, a colleague, a rival coach, and a friend. If you've been involved in debate in any meaningful way, you know how devastating this loss is to the community. Chuck was the best. RIP.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:30:25 AM
Matthew Gomez

Mr B. was one of the nicest people I ever met and always seemed to love his job, his school and team, and enjoy his time at tournaments. I'll miss seeing him around the west coast.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:30:47 AM
Marissa Grayson

I'm so sorry to hear this. I saw Chuck for the first time in ages at NSDA in Birmingham a few weeks ago. It was as if time hadn't passed. While we only spoke for a few minutes, I was touched that he had kept up with what was going on in my life and was as friendly as ever.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:31:09 AM
Neil W. Blackmon

Lovely man. Terribly sad to hear this. Thinking of his loved ones and grateful for a life well lived


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:31:28 AM
John M. Bredehoft

I remember when he was a high school debater rather than coach. In all those years he never lost his sense of joy. I am so sad that I neglected to visit him. I simply am at a loss for words.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:31:59 AM
Andres Gannon

There is now a website set up for Chuck Ballingall where people can post stories that will be shared at his memorial on Tuesday http://ballingall.damien-hs.edu/. The debate community knew him so well and for so long, I am sure that his local Damien community would love to hear many of the stories you all have shared here and elsewhere. Please consider cross-posting your kind words, heart warming stories, and condolences to friends and family on that page


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:33:07 AM
From the Website set up for Chuck, http://ballingall.damien-hs.edu/

Friends of Damien:

It is with a great sense of loss that we share the sudden death of a Damien Spartan treasure, Mr. Chuck Ballingall. Chuck has served Damien for over 35 years, initially as head of the Debate Program. He has taught many Social Studies classes, most recently AP Economics and AP Human Geography. Blessed with a great “announcer’s voice” Chuck has served as the “Voice of the Spartans” in the basketball and baseball programs over many years as well.

In his administrative roles, he has served as Curriculum Director and his recent summers have been given in building the school’s Master Schedule of classes. Ironically, he commented that this year’s challenge and results are his “best master schedule ever!” with the challenge of placing 940 students into classes that use every classroom each period of the day.

We will miss his humor, his love of statistics and ability to mine data to help our Curriculum leaders understand underlying patterns of our program, and especially his leadership that places the learning needs of our students first.

If you would like to leave your thoughts about Chuck and his impact on your life, please leave a message below.

On Tuesday, August 15th at 12:30 pm in the Damien Athletic Center we will offer our student body’s Opening School Mass as a memorial for Chuck and his family and friends. All are invited. Please be aware that parking may be at a premium as the school day will not conclude until 2:00 pm.
13 t


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:33:41 AM

Arthur Broadwater, Class of 98 says:   
August 10, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Coach, I speak for many when I say you believed in me and gave me a chance in life when no one else would. Growing up as a minority, raised by a single mother in a low income family, I was supposed to be a statistic. You opened the world to me, gave me the tools, opened the doors, and taught me the power of my voice and gave me confidence in my ability to change the world. Now, as a successful adult with a great career, I owe so much of who I am to you, your passion, your dedication, your love. I can only hope your family knows it’s an understatement to say you changed the world. Changed. The. World. You touch the lives of so so so many, and left the world a better place than you found it, a magnanimous inspiration to all those you touched. You will always be honored as one of the greats. Until we meet again old friend, all my love, all my respect, all my gratitude. Ya dun good kid. Godspeed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:34:10 AM

Liana and Barry Gannon says:   
August 10, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Mr. Ballingall was a great teacher, a great debate coach, and a great mentor. Because of Mr. Ballingall’s influence, our two sons went on to major in Social Studies at college, to debate at College, and then to teach debate after they graduated. Teaching was his true vocation and his true passion. We will be eternally grateful to Damien High School in general and to Mr. Ballingall in particular. Requiescat in pace.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:34:42 AM

Bryan St. Amant, Class of 79 says:   
August 11, 2017 at 12:38 am

As a Damien debater many years ago I had the pleasure of debating Chuck when he was a student at Fountain Grove High. Because debate made such a difference in my life, I volunteered to start a team in Northern California nearly 30 years later and quickly learned that Chuck not only represented my alma mater but had also become a debate coaching legend. The leadership he brought to the California High School Speech Association and the National Speech and Debate Association influenced a generation of coaches and helped pass along the gift of debate to thousands of students. As an active member of the coaching community, I can tell you the shock of this loss is felt well beyond the Damien family. My social media feeds are packed with heartfelt tributes from coaches & students he mentored across the country. His shoes can never be filled, but the legacy of his work will live on & the memory of a kind man who devoted his adult life to a noble cause will not be forgotten. It’s so hard to make sense of a loss like this. All I can figure is that God needed a great coach and inspiring leader in Heaven. RIP Coach Ballingall.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:35:04 AM

Michael Knish, Faculty 1985-1992 says:   
August 11, 2017 at 9:16 am

I am still in shock at the loss of my lifelong friend Chuck Ballingall. I had known Chuck in the early 80s when we debated against each other in college. He got me hired in 1985 as a teacher at Damien when I was in need of a job and what followed were 7 often tough but magical years as part of the Damien community. Chuck was in the center of my experience as we were neighbors in the 100 building basement and shared countless dinners [often with Jeff Coray and Sam Pearsall], trips, and debate tournaments. When I left in 1992, he continued on for another 25 years, immersing himself with joy into all aspects of his life at Damien–teaching, debate coaching, mock trial, basketball, administration, announcing. I was able to keep up with it all because our friendship endured up to the present. And what a great friend he has been. Always there when needed with advice or help. While he was hesitant to promote his own accomplishments, he always let it be known to the world whenever good things happened to me or any of his friends.
There was never any burnout with Chuck–he just kept going in his devotion to and love for the school. Equally strong were his efforts to maintain contact with so many friends through the years. When he travelled he would make it a point to visit all that he knew wherever he was going. His influence has been vast and lasting.
By any measure, Chuck was a great man. His legacy will endure. My life will not be the same without him.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 14, 2017, 08:35:23 AM

Bill Crawford, Class of '89 says:   
August 11, 2017 at 10:29 am

Being a member of Damien debate for four years provide me with many of my fondest and longest lasting memories and life lessons. Whether it was countless hours of preparation, the memorable trips, or just hanging out in the “dungeon” discussing the pertinent topics of the day, the lessons learned still shape my life today. My relationship with Mr. Balling all might not have always been the smoothest( being the recipient of many well deserved raised eyebrows), but I will always remember the conversation before my senior year when I told him I would not be returning to the team. I had a myriad of reasons and excuses which I laid out in a concise and well reasoned argument. He listened patiently and responded that the choice was mine but that I was a valuable member of the team and regardless of how much time I had to devote to it they really needed me. Looking back I was probably the weaker member of the 8th team that year, but what Coach knew that day and I only realized years later, was not that the team needed me but how much I needed them. Thanks, Coach.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:42:08 PM
Marie A Dzuris‎
to
 Chuck Ballingall
2 hrs ·

Chuck, I heard it was a beautiful service. I am so sorry I could not be there. I have thought of you all day today. I hope you knew, when you were on this earth, how many people cared about you. I know that Toby has greeted you and is showing you around. Hug him for me.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:42:46 PM
Matt Bell‎


The value of Mr. Ballingall's role in my life is hard to put into words. In my four years of speech and debate at Damien (1985-1989), he taught me the foundational skills to succeed in a debate round--and it's turned out that those skills have become for me professional skills and life skills. In that program, I learned critical thinking, argument-construction, and improvisation. Most of all: I learned to use my voice, a priceless lesson. He was also my US History teacher, my mentor, and an all-around good guy. I'm very sorry to hear that he's gone.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:43:19 PM
Nate Derby‎


My sincere condolences to Chuck Ballingall's family as well as the extended Damien High School family. The positive impact he left on this community is clearly evident and inspiring.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:43:51 PM
Chris Baumann‎


I am deeply saddened by the passing of my high school teacher, debate coach, and friend - Chuck Ballingall.

I feel really lucky and blessed that he came to visit me and my family in Georgia about a month ago. We had not seen each other in 28 years since I graduated but he took the time to reach out to me for a visit. He stayed for a few hours and I was able to take him out to dinner. We reminisced about the old days and he updated me on the paths my classmates and former teachers had taken in life. I know he was proud of all of us and cared about what happened to us beyond his classroom.

During his visit, we laughed a lot and commiserated on the politics of today since we shared the same views. It was a true gift for me that he saw my life 28 years later and knew he made a big impact on my life and I was glad to be able to tell him that in person. I know I spoke for all my classmates too.

I feel privileged that I get to represent educators like Coach everyday in my role at the Georgia Association of Educators. Mr. Ballingall was not a rich man in terms of material positions but he lived a rich life and he shaped many many leaders of the future. When we parted, I did not know we were saying our final good-bye but I know that he was happy and followed his path in life. We all have teachers and friends that impacted us like he did me. Let's all raise a glass to my teacher, coach, and friend - Chuck Ballingall!! God Bless you and thank you! You will be truly missed but never forgotten.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:44:25 PM
Aurelio Torre‎


A sad goodbye to the best debate coach, teacher, and mentor a kid could ever have. I owe so much to him, and I've got a lot of company there. RIP


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:44:49 PM
Jorge Javier Nieva‎


Dear Coach, Thank you for teaching me how to talk to an audience, to reason through an argument, and to be organized and precise in my thinking. Thank you for the way you loved your students. You really had a wonderful life.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:45:14 PM
Demetrius Lambrinos‎

I just saw this sad news. Chuck was always supportive of me in debate from my high school travels through my time in Redlands. I will miss you, Chuck. D


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:45:53 PM
Donna Hernandez O'Mahony‎


The loss to the Damien Family and this entire nation's Debate Community really can't be measured. Thank you Chuck and bless you for your important influence in shaping my son and countless others into confident men who will make a real difference. Debate parents, the whole of Damien and so many other young men and women you lifted up throughout your lifetime will be forever grateful to you. Rest well Mr B


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:46:27 PM
Andy Conway‎


Coach Ballingall meant a lot to so many. I know today he is remembered fondly across the country and especially at home at Damien.

Rest in peace, Chuck. I will never forget you.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:46:52 PM
Matthew Sheasby‎

Mr. Ballingall was a gift to thousands of young men. His guidance and care and commitment was integral in making me the man I am today. I am deeply saddened by his loss, and deeply saddened that my son, a new freshman, and many young men will not be given the gift of knowing him. Mr. Ballingall, thank you for all you have done for us. You will forever be remembered in the reverberations of the lives that you have touched.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:47:10 PM
Allan Louden‎


There are not that many who truly change the coaching profession. Chuck was one who did, profoundly. Good people, good work, a life worth living. Rest well.
in June Chuck visited Winston-Salem on his east coast trip. Honored he stopped by to see his debater David Munoz, and we too caught up. Such fun. — with Chuck Ballingall.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:47:39 PM
Tony Vena‎


You were life giving. The countless time I got to spend with you over 4 years of high school - from debate trip after debate trip to the debate camp at Georgetown in the summer of 1989 - was inspiring and transformative. But most of all I will remember your support and affirmation - always building your students up. And a great sense of humor. Our last conversation was 2 months ago strolling down memory lane after you had just got done leading my son's Kairos in May. You are missed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:48:16 PM
Greg Varley

Chuck loved debate, sports, Damien, family and friends. And, he loved history. Joy and I were visiting Mystic, Connecticut with our parents (just after NFL Nationals), and amazingly ran into Chuck visiting Mystic with his. He was surrounded by family, friends, a debate connection, and history. His smile was infectious...it is a memory that I will always cherish.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:49:04 PM
Jim Gaynor‎

You were the reason I tried this class called speech and debate. My freshman year at dhs was your first year. I have learned a great deal since 1982 but a heck of a lot of it was because you told me I should try this debate thing. Life came full circle you were my teacher and coach, my advocate, my boss, my colleague. Yet through it all and even back in 1982, you were my friend. "Lunch on me" was my last text to you. It's still going to happen but it just won't be the same to sit there without you. God speed bud and love from me and the rest of the Gaynor 6.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:49:36 PM
John P Frantz‎


Chuck was an amazing coach, teacher, mentor, and friend. No person outside of my family had a greater influence on the course of my life, and I can say without question that I would not be who I am today without his inspiration, guidance, and friendship.

On my first Kairos, when I was a junior and about as lost as I have been, he wrote me this amazing letter that I still keep. On my second, when I was a senior, he wrote that Tony Vena and I were "an extension of him" and that he was "proud that people know that I'm your coach."

We are all an extension of him indeed, and I was proud to be part of his team. What an amazing legacy to have touched so many so deeply over his career at Damien, which was both long and at the same time way too short.

We love you coach. You will be deeply missed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:50:49 PM
Renee Manes‎


Chuck is gone? Chuck is gone. How can I express how I feel? I am probably one of the friends on here who has known Chuck the longest -- having met him in 1975 when I entered Fountain Valley High School as a freshman. He was a sophmore, and clearly one of the best debate prospects out of our high school. He was partnered with a Senior, Phillip Oxhorn, but when Phil left after graduation, they looked around for a partner for Chuck, and found ... me! I was his partner when he was a junior/senior, and I was a sophomore/junior. I was vaguely articulate, moderately presentable, and they thought I was semi-intelligent. And mainly trainable. They (Mr. C and Chuck) thought I was trainable. And I guess I was. I was really "learnable" -- I was much brighter than they recognized, and I understood the opportunity I was being offered, so I took it. I remember our first major final -- Loyola? Redlands? that I can't remember. Anyway, we were debating Sklansky (David, now a law professor at Stanford [you want to be a criminal law professor, be in the trenches for 25 years and then talk to me about criminal law]) and Tweed. Sklansky got to cross-examine me, and I remember Chuck and Mr. C telling me that he was far brighter than me, and would definitely try to trip me up, and I needed to make sure I understood what he was asking before I answered. So David asked his first question, I repeated it, David said yes, and I answered. David asked his second question, I repeated it, David said yes, and I answered. David's third question was "Are you going to repeat everything I ask?" My response was: "Am I going to repeat everything you ask? Hmmm.
Yes, David, I think there is a very high probability that I will do so." The audience roared. David was not amused, but Chuck was happy with me. I don't think we beat Sklansky & Tweed that time, we did beat them at the Orange County state qualifying tournament -- we won 9 of 9 ballots in the round robin and qualified first for the state tournament from Orange County. I say we, but it was Chuck, dragging me with him.

Chuck has stated to me (and on here) that he was a lousy debate partner. He was judgmental, perhaps he did not provide me with any overt support and respect, and he could be cruel. But I recognized the heart that was in him, and I knew he would go on to be a great teacher. And I know that he taught me so much. Mainly he taught me that I was capable, and that I should never be afraid. And I haven't been afraid. I was not afraid at Northwestern University, I was not afraid at Harvard Law School, and I have not been afraid in 25 years of being an Assistant Federal Public Defender, most of which time was spent representing capitally sentenced clients in their federal habeas corpus proceedings. I am not afraid before any United States District Court judge, and I am not afraid before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I am not afraid because I know what Chuck taught me -- I am vaguely articulate, moderately presentable, and semi-intelligent.

I was lucky to reconnect with Chuck, both in person and on Facebook, and follow his life, 42 years now after our time together. I will miss you Chuck. And I will always be your first student.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:51:17 PM
Brian Smith‎


Rest In Peace, Chuck. You were an amazing teacher and debate coach, and you did so much for Damien over the years. You will truly be missed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:51:41 PM
Ruben Mark Serrato‎

Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for who you were and for what you did. It is not possible for me to imagine my life without the program you dedicated your life to building. A mentor of grand intellect and even greater class and decency. I was honored to call you a friend. You dedicated yourself to helping create generations of capable and thoughtful young people. Across the country your loss is broadly and deeply felt and your impact will endure as long as we do. Thank you, Mr. B.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:53:14 PM
Chris Nolan‎


The debate team kept high school fun for me, Mr. B. So many memories and friends I still know thanks to your hard work. Damien won't be the same without you.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:54:09 PM
Ron Kincaid

Ah dammit Chuck. Here's to that first time you posted about being the stadium announcer for the (hated) Dodgers. As an old-timer like yourself, you know I loved the Reds-Dodgers rivalry from the days when pitchin' was pitchin' when Tommy John was throwing, not a surgery, and Hal King was hitting a game tying grand salami for my Reds. You were a class act in a debate round and a class act as a human being. At least, the next game in heaven, the fans will take their seats and hear, "And on the mound, number 53, Don Dry---sdale!" Godspeed.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:56:34 PM
J Lane Bearden‎


Oh no! What a loss! Chuck was a friend and competitor when he was at Fountain Valley HS, and we were teammates at U of R. He was one of the first ones to welcome me back to the activity after my hiatus of 20+ years. What a great career coach - how many thousands of students did he help over the years?


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 08:59:21 PM
Dan Shalmon
August 10 at 3:21am ·

Sad to hear we lost Chuck Ballingall today. This was a surprise, not a shock, but it feels like having a rug pulled out from under my life nonetheless. He taught me lessons that became increasingly important as I grew up, became a coach, a cancer patient, survivor and father.
He stood out in a community full of loud, aggressive personalities by speaking quietly. Chuck was a steady, stubborn, competent presence who could end a raucous argument with a softly-voiced opinion backed by the big stick of a formidable mind. He quieted loud mouths because he was a thoughtful listener with good ideas he would not deign to scream.
I can't count the number of times I saw him react to an awe-inspiring tirade--my coach was notorious for them--with a pause, a smile, a disarming quip, and a viable solution. It was like watching a great jiu-jitsu fighter. In one fluid gesture, he could deflect, redirect and resolve a threat. As I have mellowed in my old age, I try to fight more like Chuck and less like (old) me.
I think that this might be why the Glenbrook North Debate family was so close with Chuck and Damien Debate. Our directors were like two sides of the sort of coin they should flip to determine sides in a Debate Olympics--forceful and brash on the one side, quietly, stubbornly determined on the other but hardworking and brilliant throughout.
For a variety of reasons, our social time at tournaments was restricted--but exceptions were made for Chuck and Damien. Dozens--if not hundreds--of GBN students were routed into his summer programs for decades. Chuck was family.
He was a quiet, kind and supportive presence in my life for more than 20 years. We met when I was 14; well before I was 'somebody' in debate. He was friendly, helpful and supportive on general principle. He was so accessible and personable to novice me that I took a good long time to realize that Chuck was a great* debate coach with a very crowded dance card--in addition to his own team, he ran huge tournaments (for zero $), summer debate institutes, and coached sports teams.

Some lessons learned c/o the man we lovingly called 'Chuckles'--largely through thoughtless imitation rather than deliberate practice:

(1) Kindness is free, and appreciated by all non-sociopaths--and even total bastards can learn the benefits of reciprocity. Friendships have to start somewhere, and that place is always one defined by mutual understanding and kindness. Kindness should not be conditioned on shared ideology or social status. My wife and I are very different people from very dissimilar debate backgrounds who met Chuck at different times--and we both found him to be kind and supportive.
Everyone needs mentors and friends as they make their way in the world, so when you have an opportunity to provide a helping hand, do so. Sometimes the kindness of mentorship is reciprocated over time and these benefits advance our selfish individual interests. But that doesn't always happen, and that doesn't matter--we should help on principle as members of a community. It's a thing good people do.

(2) When volume, aggression or intensity won't get you the attention or influence you seek, play a long, quiet game.
Be patient.
Listen. Understand your audience.
Be competent. Prove your voice and judgment indispensable.
If, after unmistakably establishing your bona fides, you don't get the ears you deserve, you know you're dealing with the wrong people. Jerks. If you can't prove yourself, be humble and gain skills--then, try again.

(3) Sometimes caring for others is easier than self-care.
We live in a world where narcissism and naked self-interest are ubiquitous. So many of us--especially those with power and resources--could stand to think long and hard about Others. But for some of us, it's easier to work with others, to serve a community or an organization than it is to care for ourselves.
By 'self care,' I do not mean 'self-indulgence.' I mean 'work on the self.' Chuck--and I--would probably consider any kind of education enjoyable self-improvement (indulgence). Exercise, on the other hand, not so much.
Chuck faced difficult decisions about his lifestyle and habits and could not bring himself to make costly changes. We all face such choices, and we struggle with them to varying degrees of success. Ever since I began chemotherapy, I've had to think carefully about the risks and benefits in my diet, lifestyle, activities, career, etc., and I think of watching Chuck as an object lesson in humility and coping.
A) Humility: Chuck was a brilliant man. He could not think his way through his health problems, and that is not a failure of the intellect. It is a psychological, emotional, and social war, and there is no shame in losing battles from time to time--even the very best and smartest strategists do so.
B) Coping: minds live in bodies, and when bodies change or weaken, minds must adapt.
[Anecdote commences]

Chuck was a great* administrator of complex tournaments and events. Not good, great.
I, on the other hand, approach such events as a force of destruction--quintessential incompetence lying in wait to wreak maximal havoc. When I worked with Chuck at my first Glenbrooks tournament, I was given the minimally-demanding assignment of stapling together the pages of little booklets that would go into the folders teams received upon confirming their registration.
Rather than stapling the folded pages together at the 'spine'--turning 'paper' into 'booklets,' I stapled them shut. In my defense, I was just told to "staple these," which I did. And I did the work thoroughly: using two staples at the top and bottom of each booklet (as directed), and did it hundreds of times.
When I was almost 'done,' I watched someone attempt to read one, get confused, rip it open, and then have it separate into badly-torn, incoherently-ordered pages.
Chuck said some kind words to me after the well-deserved tirade that inevitably followed the report of my incompetence to our director. The most complimentary thing he called me that day was 'f---ing worthless.'
You can imagine that I was pretty reluctant to mess with the administration of a Glenbrooks ever after, and would only do so via Chuck.
Fast forward 4 years: I was a year out of high school and coaching. I noticed that a good team from Caddo Magnet HS that won 5 of 7 debates was not scheduled to debate in elimination rounds (or rather, I noticed that Nermin Ghali was really* upset about this and wondered what was going on).
I came to see Chuck, pretty much assuming that a mistake had occurred literally anywhere else in the chain of command. He immediately sent people to confirm and identify the mistake. Turns out, it was on him.
He didn't waste time on self-recrimination--he realized it had ripple effects on many debates and had me(!) run to stop the announcement of results and pairings for the first elimination debates.
I failed--I caught our director after said announcement just* as he was about to dismiss his (large, anxious) audience. I was so panicked that I didn't realize I was asking him to disrupt the entire competition on the basis of a sketchy report from a proven nincompoop with no actual role in running the damn thing until he gave me my second Glenbrooks Fuckup Death Stare. At least this time there was no tirade.
For Chuck, the self-recrimination began immediately after he fixed the glitch. He checked lots of other results, but he couldn't be sure he didn't mess up others earlier in the day. The man had to enter literally hundreds of results into a computer and he messed one up. It just happened to be an important one.
[Anecdote ends]

Chuck made a mistake because his health was failing. It happens. His focus wavered from a demanding task momentarily. It wasn't really his fault. He was heartbroken anyway.
Some years later, it was my turn to find my body in the way of my will and mind. My dexterity, memory, stamina and strength--all suddenly slipping away. Like Chuck, I was losing the capacity to do things that make me a capable, competent community member. Things that make me me. It was devastating. It is* devastating.
When thinking about coping, I consider the way Chuck did tournaments thereafter. He didn't run quite as many (at first), and he paid more attention to his body while working. He modified his processes to manage risk. He used technology strategically--electronic ballots FTW. He took the hit to his ego and accepted some losses. He was sad too--which gave me some permission to be sad as well.
Being a thoughtful and competent guy, he competently managed his disability. On that basis, he kept doing what he loved for the next 17 years. He didn't make all the 'smart' calls about his health--but he did the best he could and coped with the consequences.
Being somewhat less thoughtful and much less competent, that's an example I'll struggle to build on and learn from for the rest of my life.

When my wife Lesley and I consider a trek out to a tournament, we weigh costs--in time, effort and health (hundreds of teenagers in a confined space--not sanitary)--against seeing an ever-shrinking number of old friends.
Chuck was one of our few remaining links to high school debate. Even after we moved far away, seeing him was a compelling argument for a journey out to the Chicago suburbs for a Glenbrooks now and again. So many of my mentors and friends are gone now. Many retired, by far too many died on their feet in a game that can burn up the body to fuel the mind and voice.
He was a good, sweet man, a great teacher, mentor and friend, and he will be sorely missed. We were lucky to have him, and lost him too soon.
RIP, Chuck.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 15, 2017, 09:31:57 PM
San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Chuck Ballingall, longtime voice of Damien High sports, died after collapsing at school
Chuck Ballingall, longtime voice of Damien sports, died suddenly on Wednesday.
Chuck Ballingall, longtime voice of Damien sports, died suddenly on Wednesday.

By Aram Tolegian, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Posted: 08/10/17, 2:37 PM PDT | Updated: 4 days ago
0 Comments

Chuck Ballingall, the longtime voice of Damien High School baseball and basketball, and veteran teacher at the school, died Wednesday after collapsing at the school. No age was given.

Ballingall’s voice was very familiar to those who attended Spartans basketball games in the winter and baseball games in the spring. He was entering his 36th year as a teacher at the school and also produced the school’s master schedule. Ballingall taught advanced placement statistics and geography.

“He was very involved in everything,” Damien principal Dr. Merritt Hemenway said. “I called him a Damien treasure. He had a great sense of humor. He and I shared a love of statistics and every morning we talked about the Dodgers.

“It’s a huge blow. We have a very veteran faculty. Many of them have worked with him for 25 years. And those who are the younger ones who haven’t, we have 50 percent alumni teaching here, they were all taught by him. So, he’s just well-known and the fabric of this school.”

In addition to calling Damien sports events, Hemenway said that Ballingall was a back-up announcer for the Los Angeles Clippers and USC baseball team. Ballingall also was formerly the public address announcer at CIF Southern Section basketball finals.

“It is with profound sadness to learn of Chuck’s passing,” CIF assistant commissioner Thom Simmons said Thursday. “Chuck served as the longtime public address voice of CIF Southern Section basketball and will be truly missed.

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Chuck’s immediate family, and his Damien family as well.”

Hemenway said the school plans to host the funeral on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 12:30 p.m. Fittingly, it will take place in the athletic center.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on August 16, 2017, 09:05:57 AM
Tim Alderete

A beautiful service today to say goodbye to Chuck Ballingall, surrounded by thousands of Damien alums, students, colleagues and families, as well as debate coaches from all over the country. In the homily, the Father recognized that, when faced with the death of a loved one, it is sometimes difficult to understand God's plan. But then he said "Look around this room - all of the people's lives who he has touched. That is God's plan - God's plan for Chuck." I found that very comforting. Rest in Peace.


Title: Re: Chuck Ballingall
Post by: SherryHall on September 07, 2017, 11:04:04 AM
School's website tribute to Chuck:

https://sites.google.com/damien-hs.edu/thedigitallaconianvol2issue1/home