I got to catch up with David at SCG: LA just recently, and had a chance to sit down and talk with him. This quickly turned into both of us taking judge calls and getting questions in randomly while finishing end of round procedures! David started judging in 2009 at Grand Prix Los Angeles, is from San Marcos, California, and is the newest Regional Coordinator!
I hope you enjoy!
Why did you become a judge?
I used to go to the large prereleases in San Diego, which Miki Urban used to run at the convention center, and one of my friends started volunteering to help with those, which sounded fun. I decided to step up and really get involved after a ruling in a Two-Headed Giant tournament – a judge ruled that our opponents could destroy one of my creatures that had been “dealt damage” by a creature with negative power using Witch’s Mist – it was overturned on appeal, but we were refused a time extension, and the game ended in a draw the turn before we could attack for lethal. I already knew that judging was something that could make or break a player’s day, but after that tournament I felt pretty sure that it was something I could be doing better.
Engage with the community, have fun at events, and learn! When you’re at an event as a judge, for many players you’re going to be seen as a representative for Magic, and maybe even for Wizards itself. Judges are who the players see when they come to tournaments, and we can effectively be the face of organized play. Participating in events is a great way to put yourself out there in the community and be part of something bigger, but also learn and have fun with Magic.
Could you recognize a few outstanding members of your region?
I’d rather not point people out specifically, but there are a lot of great judges in the region doing great things! There are many who are going unrecognized right now, they’re doing good work, training other judges and helping with the community, so there are just too many to name right now.
What’s the coolest event you’ve ever been to?
The last public Pro Tour – the vibe and feeling of large side events, crazy prizes, tons of judges, and huge professional tourneys was incredible.
Does your family travel with you?
Occasionally – we all traveled to Portland. (Slightly Nightmarish!)
How do you not lose your mind as an RC?
I actually really enjoy it. I have a big fondness for helping people find ways to enjoy events or help other people learn and improve in the program. If I can help people find their place in the community, then I’m really doing a great job and enjoying it!
What do you feel needs to be improved in the Judge Program?
Currently, we have conferences as our only recognized, formal mechanism for education. And while conferences are great ways for judges to learn and judges to share their knowledge, it shouldn’t be the only one. There should be a way to recognize smaller local education and training programs!
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
Obviously Witch’s Mist. You’ve read the story now, and it continues to show up – I just got a pile of them from the staff of yesterday’s (SCG Open, LA, 2013 Fall) event, signed by all of them… I think one of my judges may have bought out Star City’s entire stock.
What are some of your Regional Goals?
Arizona and Nevada are both growth areas, and I’m looking to support program development there, and to expand relationships between judging in CA and the judge communities in those states. Building relationships in the judging community is important in that it lets you network to find opportunities, and share expertise.
Nothing! Just kidding. We have large competitive successful teams, ChannelFireball and things like Stoneforge, which has drawn a large number of game designers in the area, which is nice too. If stores want to have a gunslinger at their event, we have some huge names that also happen to be very down to earth, nice people, like Pat Sullivan and Hall of Famer Brian Kibler right nearby, which is a cool thing for this area!
Who are your role models within the Judge Program?
What is your favorite ‘after event’ story?
At Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze in San Diego, there was a trip to the beach after the event, and I went in the ocean in my judge pants. That turned out to not work so well for body surfing, as it turns out that slacks have more drag than a bathing suit. I suspect that the salt and hard use wasn’t good for them either, because at the next event I wore those, I knelt to pick something up and triggered the classic “judge pants burst apart at the butt seams.” Thankfully, I had ‘emergency’ judge pants with me as usual, so it wasn’t a complete disaster!
Also: I was also the only one who managed to figure out how to get down the elevator at the hotel at GP LA 2009. That elevator had a special feature, where it would (automatically) go up to the unfinished penthouse floor of the hotel, with the doors opening to a construction zone.
The elevator’s doors would just stay open and you were stuck there. I figured out that if you pressed the up button (outside), the doors would close, and the elevator would switch into down mode, and if you pressed the down button at that point, the doors would open, and it would take you back down. So far as I know, no one else figured that out, including Wizards employees, and everyone ended up having to take the dozen flights of stairs back down to the venue. Yeah, bad times…
Thank you David, for this interview! It was great to work with you in LA, and I hope the readers enjoy this time getting to hear from the newest RC!