The Spiderman Review

EDBI’m not sure how many of you out there have been called a superhero. For those of you who haven’t, let me tell you: It definitely gets your attention.  A little over a year ago I received a review from Riki Hayashi that I refer to as the “Spiderman Review.”  This review was eye opening; it helped me realize that I had been living the “great power, great responsibility” mantra Spidey has become known for. The scope of the work I was doing at events and back home in Richmond was above the expectations of my level. It was time to look upward.  

Did you know that Riki Hayashi is from the future? It’s true. He told me:


As though he pulled them from some kind of 2015-2016 sports almanac, in this review Riki was able to accurately predict (read: encourage) a lot of the things I had my hands in over this past year.

At the time of reading this review, the area PPTQ staffing situation was worn pretty thin, with me working the bulk of events every season for six stores. Since then, local L2 James Kerr and I have been able to keep growing our community. Working with the stores in the Greater Richmond Area, we meet quarterly, schedule events to prevent conflicts, and staff those events. Richmond now boasts a healthy six Level 2 or higher judges, with 3 L1s right on their heels looking to advance. Riki also suggested I start spreading our PPTQ scheduling system as a best practice, including writing about it. I spent a lot of time at GPs in 2015 discussing this very thing with judges from around the country and world. Earlier this year I wrote about it on my blog and watched it get its share of shares on social media.

In early 2015 I was lending my efforts beyond Richmond. The stores in Lynchburg (about three hours west) were suffering from cancelled PPTQs and struggling to find judges to work the events.  I was able to accurately spot some talent in Charlottesville-based judges Dave Tosto and Matthew At Lee, both L1 at the time. Since the Spiderman Review, Matt and Dave have advanced to L2 and started developing another promising judge community in Central Virginia. The Charlottesville judges have taken the Lynchburg stores under their wing for scheduling and staffing, ensuring no event out that way ends up cancelled.

The big reveal of course is that 8 months after submitting this review, Riki submitted another review of me: a Recommendation for Level 3.  The timeline took a little longer than we had hoped, with a second quarter panel in 2016 instead of first quarter, but overall I think he was pretty spot on in his predictions and advice.

So what did it feel like for me to get called “Spiderman” by a judge I looked up to in the program? It felt a lot like Captain America recruiting me to be a part of the Avengers.

It happened. I promise.

I spent years in the program not feeling like I had a focus. To be honest, I actually spent years in the program just not being a very good judge.  In 2014-15 something changed, something in my life shifted and changed my outlook on the program. Events stopped being work and started being fun again. I was hungry to spread knowledge and certify new judges. I wanted to be better, and I wanted everyone around to be better with me.  The conversation Riki and I shared after the Baltimore Open made me feel like all that effort was being noticed. When the review hit my inbox later that year, it helped push me forward.  It made me feel like all that effort was doing some good. Riki helped me to realize that I had been taking on more responsibility because I was wielding more power.

One conversation. One review. One Exemplar recognition. Sometimes one push is all someone needs to start a chain reaction of events that helps them realize they’re Spiderman.

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