Here are the June 2015 judge anniversaries!
Joel Heath from Austin, United States
Randy Peterson from Clarksville, United States
Jose Nazareno from Realico – La Pampa, Argentina
Jaroslav Karban from Praha 10, Czech Republic
Jeremy Behunin from Ogden, United States
Derrick Sheets from Soddy Daisy, United States
Jackie Ang from Singapore, Singapore
William Carrig from United States
Eric Sullivan from Lexington Park, United States
Victor Antonio Padilla Prado from Lima, Peru
Teruyoshi Takahashi from Ichinoseki-shi, Japan
Jordi Bordera from Bellpuig, Spain
Ron Edward Joson from Quezon City, Philippines
Christos Sdralis from Larissa, Greece
Jeph Foster from Norfolk, United States
Valentin Hauser from Vienna, Austria
Zhaoben Xu from Hongkou, China
Joseph Wong from Kitchener, Canada
Hendrik Robisch from Essen, Germany
Alejandro Gonzalez Hernandez from Mostoles, Spain
Jesse Abrahamson from Roseville, United States
Kevin Daly from Waterbury, United States
Paulo Martinello from Sudoeste – Brasilia – DF, Brazil
Diego Reynaldo from Recife, Brazil
Congratulations, and thank you for all your hard work!
This month we are featuring two judges! First, we have Jose Nazareno from Argentina. Regional Coordinator Adrian Estoup had this to say about Jose:“It is incredible for me to get to see Jose’s 10th anniversary. He has always been a reference in the local community and a great partner in many events, inside and outside Argentina.
It is not a secret that we say the Magic Community outside Buenos Aires has Jose as a great reference as a Judge and as a TO, providing a nice place for judges and players to enjoy the game we all love. During all of these years, he was the certification leader of many cities like Cordoba, San Luis and many other states in the country. This activity was the reason why many judges are now growing inside the program. Jose has been an example of hard work, tenacity and overall a great friend.
Jose, congratulations for this anniversary and thank you for your excellent work!”
Next, we have Regional Coordinator Jeremy Behunin from the United States. Fellow Regional Coordinator David Zimet did a brief interview and blurb about Jeremy:“We’re here at GP Vegas and I asked Billy San Juan for a few words about Jeremy Behunin, whose 10 year anniversary we are celebrating this month!
‘Jeremy Behunin is a pillar of leadership. His calm yet efficient demeanor – the visage that he emanates… the visage…. (audible snoring)’
Okay, so we just finished our day over here and Billy is a little tired – let’s just go with the interview I did with Jeremy, who is also here at the event:
Zimet: Let’s start at the beginning – how did you get involved in Judging – what got you interested in it, who was your mentor starting out, and how did you end up getting involved – what type of events, and what was the current set when you got started?
Behunin: So when I returned to playing Magic I really couldn’t afford much in the way of cards/packs/drafts. I think I was 24 or 25? My kids would have been six or seven at the time and I was still working tech support jobs – my wife moved from New York out to Utah. So as a way to subsidize this I looked into judging the large prerelease events. I’d already been helping my shop run events. Mostly because they’d forget to sanction every other month and we missed some cool FNM foils as a result. The local L2 in Utah at the time was the guy who tested me for level one, though honestly the majority of his mentoring came in the form of: ‘Go run some events and take some practice tests, then come see me.’
I believe the current block when I officially joined the program was Kamigawa (pretty close to the first GP SLC), but really it was the Mirrodin block that had made me jump ship so to speak.
Zimet: So once you got started what TO did you work with?
Behunin: Mostly I was working at my local shop, just doing FNMs – then when the big Prereleases came around, I worked those with Chris for a while, and then after Tim and Cascade took over, I started working with him for the Prereleases. The first event he ran, Tim brought Carter down, who really showed us what a bigger world there was out there. Cascade pretty much took over Utah, which was great – we got some bigger events, and they started running the PTQs…
Zimet: Was Carter one of your mentors early on, then?
Behunin: Carter was the first one, but they also brought down James Lee, Mike Goodman (who was still judging at the time). I also worked with Jason Ness the first time at Denver; he tested me for L2.
Zimet: How’d that go?
Behunin: He failed me. That was good though, I wasn’t ready, though I didn’t know it at the time.
Zimet: It was close though, right?
Behunin: Yeah, and I still say that question was wrong… *grins* So, between James, Carter, and Mike – those were the introduction to the bigger picture. B Tucker (Brandon Tucker) was my biggest mentor up to that point. He was a level two from Denver that moved out to Salt Lake as well as Aaron Herget – the three of us started running everything for Cascade out in Salt Lake.
Zimet: Is that how you ended up starting to travel for GPs?
Behunin: Yeah, it was because of B, largely.
Neither of those guys are still with the program, but we’re all still good friends. Aaron drifted away, and B finished college and got a job as a DBA that he kinda disappeared into. Riki Hayashi, Justin Turner, Nathan Brewer, Ben McDole, John Alderfer, John Carter and Adam Shaw – those are the folks I still work with and look up to.
Zimet: Do you still play magic?
Zimet: *laughs* (editorial note: RC world problems) Ok, well, what’s your favorite card?
Behunin: My favorite card is a specific card – it’s a Dark Confidant that Sean Catanese had all the other level three judges sign that he gave to me when I advanced to level three.
Zimet: Where was that?
Behunin: GP San Diego – the Modern one.
Zimet: How did that all go for you?
Behunin: I did my re-panel with Toby first thing in the morning. They had to clear everything with Kevin Deprez and Damian, so I didn’t hear anything all day, and I figured it was just not going to happen that day. I was side events lead, and it got kinda late, and my scorekeepers left, so I just jumped in and was entering results for Two-Headed Giant – when suddenly Jared gets on the main stage – on the microphone – and says ‘attention players – I’d like to welcome Jeremy Behunin to level three’ – and in the meantime all the level threes and basically just everyone had come up on stage behind me waiting for that announcement, except for Dan Stephens who was standing in front of me who was the only one that saw my initial reaction.
Zimet: I seem to recall you turning bright red.
Behunin: Yes. Yes that did happen.
Jeremy is a good friend of mine as well as a fellow regional coordinator, and has taken over the reins from Riki and done amazing work in the northwest. My thanks to him for taking the time for this interview, and congratulations to him for ten years of service to the judge program!”
Finally, we are also celebrating a Level 3 Advancement anniversary! This month, we have only one Level 3 anniversary. John Shannon certified for Level 3 in June 2000 at U.S. Nationals in Orlando, Florida. Shawn Doherty, Regional Coordinator for Northeast US, had this to say about John:“John has had one of the more interesting paths in the judge program during his 15+ years . John started judging back in 1998 as a Level 2 judge. At that time, you could test into different levels, so he never had to be a Level 1 judge (though he may have had to pay to take his Judge test). Only a couple years later, John was advanced to Level 3. A handful of years later, John was promoted to Level 4. As a Level 4, John was able to head judge a number of Pro Tours and Grand Prix events. Also during this time, John was involved with the other high-level judges in molding the policy and judge program into something that would be more recognizable to today’s judges. He also had the chance to work and mentor some of the people that would go on to lead the program today.
In 2007, John stepped down from Level 4 to Level 3 in order to spend more time with family. Since then, he hasn’t had a high-profile role in the judge program, but he has been a consistent member of the Level 3 community and whatever local community he was living in. When I became Regional Coordinator a few years ago, I reached out to John. He was teaching at West Point in New York. Although he was busy with work and family, he became a valuable resource for the judges in Eastern New York area. He’s judged at a variety of stores in the area and been a mentor to a great number of judges in that region.
I’m sure that John has done something similar in all of the places that he’s called his “local area”, from Texas to the Ohio Valley to New Mexico to Florida to the Northeast US. I don’t expect to have the privilege of having John in my region forever, but I am grateful for the time that he has been here. And wherever he calls home next, the local judge community will gain a great asset. Congratulations John on 15 years as a Level 3(+) judge!”