Here are the October 2014 judge anniversaries!
Carlos Alves from Caldas Rainha, Portugal
Shawn Doherty from Hockessin, United States
Shiou Obata from Sapporo-shi, Japan
Makoto Obayashi from Fukoka-shi, Japan
Brian Rogers from New Martinsville, United States
Takeki Uyama from Tokorozawa-shi, Japan
Pei Chiang from Chung Hwa, Taiwan, Province of China
Luis Ribeiro from Pontinha, Portugal
Jorge Rua from Mira, Portugal
Jason Peters from Lake Villa, United States
jean-baptiste Drouard from cergy, France
Facundo Heredia from Buenos Aires, Argentina
Giuliano Freiles from Cecchina, Italy
Fabio Boero from Imperia, Italy
Michael Lopez from Miami Lakes, United States
Jeremy McDonough from Algonquin, United States
Eddie Cheung from Markham, Canada
Victor Viguilla from Makati City, Philippines
Arthur Halavais from Santa Rosa, United States
Fu Hai Zhou from Singapore, Singapore
Andrew Westin from Wilmington, United States
Ryan Dobesh from Lincoln, United States
Connor Hays from New York, United States
Kenny Koornneef from Den Haag, Netherlands
Niko White from Cambridge, United States
Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!
This month’s featured judge is Michael Lopez from Florida. Level 4 judge Damian Hiller had this to say about Michael:“It seems like ages since the first time I heard Michael’s name and our first contact… In my first year as Regional Coordinator for the Latin American region and when we still had Nationals, getting in touch with TOs and judges to make sure we had appropriate staff for each event was no easy task but full of pleasure since I got to get in touch with judges I had never before.
Looking at Dominican Republic his named popped up. He replied professionally and showed care for his community. Even when he was leaving the country to settle in the US, he showed extreme care for his community by wanting to make sure that there would be at least one judge remaining before he left. And this was all as he was a L1! Fast forward a couple of years that we didn’t get to chat much, we finally met face to face in some PT I can’t recall (or was it a GP? Who knows…) and had some chats but mostly our ways turned apart until I got promoted to L4 and took care of the Conferences Sphere. There, Michael took ownership of the Content Project (which you can find here!) revitalizing it from a somewhat stuck status, giving it a new direction and energy. Even when he needed to take a step aside from the leadership position to grab the reins of other stuff, he remained a valuable member always giving constructive feedback and being a leader of it, even if not the one actually in charge, so it was an easy decision to ask him to step up to the front-line once we needed a new lead for the project. Justin will cover as well all the work he does in his region which is great, but I wanted to thank Michael for having been so awesome to his former Latin American community, for all the work he did and does to make conferences better each and every day and I really look forward to what another 10 years of him among us can do, because only greatness has come out of him. Congrats Mike!”
Regional coordinator Justin Turner had this to say:
“Michael Lopez has been around as a pillar of the SE for ages. He’s also traveled to the Dominican Republic to help with events there. He created most of what is currently the South Florida judge community. He’s an active leader of the leadership chats for the region and a dogged fantasy football rival! I always appreciate his candor and demeanor at events which is calm and assertive. I also always appreciate his random Spanish translations in his head judge announcements, the players get a kick out of it too! I always know that if anything needs to be done or needs to be fixed in a 250mi radius around Mike, that all I need to do is make him aware and consider it done. He also has the time to be a leader in the Conferences Sphere for Damian doing great work there! Thank you for everything you do Dominican Mike!”
This month, we celebrate another Level 3 anniversary. Ten years ago, Alfonso Bueno, Regional Coordinator for Spain and Portugal, certified for Level 3. We asked Level 4 judge Carlos Ho to gather some thoughts about Alfonso. He shared his own thoughts and the thoughts of other judges in the community:“Although I had met him previously, I started to work with Alfonso on a regular basis when I moved to Spain in late 2005. He was studying to become a government official, and that took most of his time, so we barely saw him at events, and he didn’t participate much in building a community. For a while, I saw Alfonso as a tournament specialist who wasn’t as “green” (community-centered) as I was, even though he was always trying to get better judging conditions for everyone in Spain, be it at PTQs or Nationals. And then he became Spain’s and Portugal’s RC, and everything changed. We currently have quite a good amount of judges, with plenty of projects being run by judges of all levels, and I don’t think the community has ever been healthier than now. I still remember what the community was when I arrived in 2005, and I see how it was when I left in 2013, and it’s quite surprising how much it has grown. A big part of this success is Alfonso’s commitment to improving this community and empowering others to help as well.”
Other judges in the region have similar memories:
Raül Rabionet, former L3 from Barcelona and RC, told me: “The time I first met Alfonso was a bit awkward. It was my first large event. I was about to meet the most experienced judges in the country, since I was so lucky that the Spanish Nationals 2005 were taking place in Barcelona and I was in the team. Then I met this guy with his hair dyed red and a piercing through his underlip. When I said I wanted to become L2 he stared at me and said “I don’t even know who you are”. That was 9 years ago. After an underwhelming start, I have grown to know the guy, and we have become good friends, even though we have very different points of view in so many things. He helped me a lot throughout my career in the judge program, and I would like to believe I also had the chance to help him a little bit to approach community issues with an open view. I am completely sure that the Spanish and Portuguese judge community would not be as healthy and active without his involvement, and I hope he will continue to help everybody for many years to come.”
Nico Glik, L3 from Alicante, said the following: “At Spanish Nationals in 2003, I called a L2 judge that, from the distance, looked a bit unfriendly, serious, aggressive… I mean, he even had some piercings and part of his hair dyed red. (That color changed at each tournament.) But when he answered my question, he was very good and so helpful! So, he wasn’t as mean as he looked like. The year after that, he got promoted to L3 and took over the the Spanish Judge Community, and built the foundations of it. He didn’t gave me birth as a judge, but he was there to look after my L2 and my L3, and pretty much the same with all of the current judges in the Spanish Community. I know that without him, many of us wouldn’t have continued and the community wouldn’t be as strong as it is right now. To anyone that started judging later, Sito has always been a community guy. That’s impressive,considering that it was not his preferred part of the judge program.
For example, Sergio Perez, L3 from Madrid, said to me: “Sito” is a great leader, always looking and working for the community needs; a perfectionist judge at tournaments, trying to find ways to make them smoother and easier for players and judges; an active mentor, taking care of many people needs and thinking on their continuous development; and a true confidant RC, hearing people concerns and keeping the confidential things only for the involved parts.”
Jorge Requesens, L3 from Zaragoza, shared similar thoughts: “Alfonso has dedicated more than half of his life to judge, and during this time, he has developed almost every inch of our region. From a bunch of judges to a big community, helping them to grow. For example, when he knew me, he worked with me in order to reach L2 and then he encouraged me to get to L3. He’s also been very diplomatic and a good negotiator, taking care of relationships with TOs, achieving good outcomes both judges and TOs.”
Besides that, everyone I talked to about Alfonso’s 10th L3 Anniversary agreed on something: he’s been a great friend. I can say that some of the funniest evenings I’ve spent in a wide array of cities around the globe with the most incredible stories have happened when hanging out with him. It was with great happiness that I received the news that he was getting married this year, and there are few people for whom I’d cross the Atlantic just to attend a wedding. Thanks for everything you’ve done as RC, as a friend, and congratulations on your recent marriage, my friend!
Nico: Thank you for your everything you’ve done for us. Player nine, draft. 🙂
Peke: I can’t remember or imagine a Spanish community without you, Sito, so let’s hope to celebrate together your next judge anniversary too, whatever it is! 😀
Reke: Thanks for being there, Alfonso!
Raül: 10 years as a L3 – achievement unlocked! Congratulations ;)”