Owning Up

While I have plenty to say on the topic of feedback, it’s always nice to get other people involved. This week’s guest is Kali Anderson, an L2 from Roanoke, Virginia, and one of my former coworkers in the StarCityGames machine. She’s now the Assistant Manager of the Organized Play Department there.

I reached out to Kali because I’ve been on the topic of getting reviewed, and people have asked how to get reviewed more. It could be said that Kali is an expert on the subject, with 51 reviews written of her in her short career, so I asked to write a guest spot on it. Hopefully, she will be a semi-regular feature here, so without further ado, take it away Kali! (When introducing Kali Anderson, exclamation points are a must!)

Kali Anderson!

Kali Anderson!

You’re on the floor at a Grand Prix. A hand goes up and the word “Judge” rings out. Turning toward the sound, you confidently step up to the table and the questions begin. Sweat begins to appear on your forehead. You feel like you know the answer but there’s a little nagging doubt on your shoulder. You end up falling for the second guess. You deliver the ruling as confidently as possible. The players nod, and continue. You walk away, feeling better that they didn’t appeal so you must have been right. It is in a few minutes that the horror begins to sweep over you – That was the incorrect ruling. You took that ball and punted it all to way to the 1-Yard line.

Then you remember that you asked your Team Lead to evaluate you at the beginning of the day. You’ve been doing a stellar job checking decks and even took a flawless call while your TL was shadowing you! Good thing they didn’t see you flat out get that one wrong…Right?


It is so easy to hide those mistakes when the person you asked to evaluate you didn’t observe them. When your evaluating judge only sees your strengths, it’s hard for them to write a review that will help you become a better judge. Now, I’m not saying that you need to purposely make incorrect rulings. However, if you are truly looking to become a better judge, you need to make sure those who are evaluating you have the full picture.

Don’t be embarrassed! We are only human, and we make mistakes all the time. In fact, being able to talk about your mistakes shows humility, which is an attribute that many people respect. It also shows that you are able to evaluate yourself and learn from those situations. Self-evaluation is just as important as evaluating others! You are looking to get better, right?

Remember: Every judge call is an opportunity to learn something and become a better judge. Just because another judge isn’t shadowing you doesn’t mean your experience can’t be used as a learning tool. In fact, discussing it with other judges can help you learn even more about how to avoid a similar mistake. So don’t be afraid to bring up the situation in your team meetings. A group discussion is a great place to talk about judge calls gone wrong!

This applies not only to situations when you have asked someone to review you; if you make a mistake, talk to other judges about it. Chances are, your mistakes can help them become better! And who knows, perhaps you’ll get a review based off that conversation.

Kali Anderson

L2 Judge

Roanoke, Virgina, United States

2 thoughts on “Owning Up

  1. Great article.

    One of my current weaknesses is that I tend to lean on judges around me. I’m probably a better judge when I’m on my own, just because I don’t have that opportunity to undermine my confidence. But, as you rightly point out, denying myself the opportunity to make a mistake in front of other judges is also damaging.

    Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!

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