How much effort does an event require to be run smoothly? Not counting the mental aspect, let me show a few numbers about the physical activity you’ll do to perform your duties during events. During three very different events I wore a pedometer app, Runtastic, that has been tested to have a high accuracy in several PC magazine reviews.
Although in large events one might get lucky and stay seated waiting for players to enroll in 8-man events, you’ll probably do floor coverage, be on the Deck Check Team, or be a part of the dreaded Logistics Team where no job is too hard and no task too small. The roles are hard to define in terms of effort. The energy you’ll spend performing them will vary considerably based on the venue layout, number of players, size of the judging team and tasks performed.
Since this is hard to compute for every case, I’ll just present mine. I’m 1.83m tall and weight 79kg (that’s 6’0 and 175 pounds for the non-metric judge). To maintain weight I require approximately 2000 calories a day. I’ll also present the minimum energy I spent just standing up. This number alone will be sufficient to show you the importance of breaks and proper nourishment.
Small Store Event – PPTQ Amarelo Pólen in Olhão, Portugal
This tournament is the perfect example of baseline physical effort. It was a 9-player Standard PPTQ, meaning 5 rounds plus top 4. It’s the smallest possible constructed competitive event with swiss rounds. The venue was a medium-sized store that held 40-50 players comfortably. There was a large Commander community occupying half the store space alongside other games. The PPTQ itself was run in the 4 closest tables to the store’s PC. The information one can take from the pedometer is the number of steps, time and speed statistics, distance and calories spent. The “Standing” figure is calculated with a calculator from the Computing Comfort Initiative.
I started the clock as soon as I got to the store, so the duration may seem a bit off (although this tournament had a round that took only 24 minutes). The six hours of standing up already account for half the needed daily caloric intake.
Large store event – GOYF or Travel at Hobbit’s Land in Cascais, Portugal (with a PPTQ as a side event)
This was a Modern event with 89 players. Around 16:00 a PPTQ of 25 people started. I was a floor judge for both events and I oversaw paper and floor. This was a long day and many rounds went into extra time in the main event.
It’s common to have an hour lunch break and 1-2 small breaks during the day. It looks a lot but the TO gives keeps us supplied with coffee. As you can see, I spent almost 1.5 times the needed daily caloric intake and just standing is enough to go beyond that value. If you’re wondering, yes, I waited a minute or so to stop the watch at that specific time, blame my OCD.
Large… HUGE EVENT – GP Liverpool
GP Liverpool was one of the best events I’ve had the pleasure of taking part. I was only present Saturday and Sunday so there’s no data for Friday. Breaking down the days:
DAY 1: Main event Logistics team
This is almost the same as the previous event, per day. Issues can arise from accumulating this expenditure over many consecutive days, such as the upcoming 4-day GP Las Vegas for MM2015.
Day 2: Sunday Super Series (over 300 players)
In this event I was put in charge of the Deck Check Team and was fortunate enough to work with a team full of energetic people. This event was harder than in the previous day, as I was also taking down notes for reviews and overseeing a couple of newcomers to the GP circuit.
Breaking it down
Many a good judge have ended a GP complaining of several body parts. Knees are the main complaint and the trick is to keep them bent slightly, that way it’s the muscles taking the stress and not the joints.
These numbers are only as valid as the pedometer accuracy. If you happen to have such a device, please wear it in a GP, I’d love to compare stats.
What I hope you can take from these figures is the importance of resting and taking small breaks during events. Even if you didn’t read through all the numbers the main message is this: you’ll spend a lot of energy. You can spend over 1.5 times in a 10 hour shift what you’re used to in a single day. And the 1.5x figure of merit is just the minimum. You can well go over twice that value. Remember that’s for a single day.
Even if the only thing you’re doing is standing up, this activity alone takes a considerable amount of energy. If you do a 2- or 3-day event you may end up needing as much energy as you’d spend in a work week for a sedentary profession, not to mention the aches you’ll get from wrong posture or just from general physical activity such as posting pairings, collecting decks, etc. But that’s another subject.
- Take small breaks. Try to take a large break and two small breaks in a GP shift. Rest during these breaks, you’re needed with a clear head to give rulings. If you’re feeling tired, ask for a break.
- Drink lots of water. Dehydration is a real thing. Prevent it.
“If you’re feeling thirsty it’s already too late” – Dustin de Leeuw.
- Some events are multi-day marathons (of fun). Rest between days as much as possible.