Judge hard. Play hard.
That could be the motto of our latest rock star, George Gavrilita. He’s received praise for creating tireless joy, both during and after tournaments. Read on to get a glimpse of his adventures in and outside of judging!
Name: George Gavrilita
Location: Torino, Italy
Judge start date: June 27th, 2010
Why did you become a Judge? Always been a Melvin.
Occupation: Political Science Student
Favourite format: 2HG, and probably Team Sealed when I get to try it.
Favourite non-Magic Game: Dixit, and recently Spaceteam
Best tournament result: Day 2 at my first GP Florence 2011
Random fact about yourself: I sleep without alarms. When I have to get up early for something, I try to go to bed at 8 or 9 the day before, so I wake up without having to set an alarm. As a consequence I’m very rested on a normal day, and it helps when I can’t do that during GPs. Rather than having sleep debt, I have sleep reserves!
What is your favorite “after event” conversation?
Many senior judges like Kevin Desprez L5, Carlos Ho L4, and Daniel Kitachewsky L4 point out that what makes them continue judging after all these years is not necessarily the task drill or the logistical challenges, but the community moments shared with people that have become friends. During GP Shizuoka 2015 and GP Kyoto 2015 I think I experienced a kind of transition from being a reckless judgeling to becoming a big fan of after-event talks. After Shizuoka Kevin, Gerard Trpin L2, and Khanh Le Thien L3 shared a lot of laughs and ice cream with me, and after Kyoto Daniel, Simon “Fry” Freiberg L3, and me listened to Carlos for hours as characters of the Judge Program and their adventures were described and enshrined in the program’s unofficial, but not less important, lore. As Richard Garfield succeeded to create a game bigger than the box, judges succeeded to create a lifestyle bigger than the tournament.
You were named in the first wave of honorees for the Exemplar Program by Cristiana Dionisio, Ricardo Tessitori and Ivan Petkovic. Among other compliments, they described you as having tireless joy and being inspirational. How do you remain inspirational?
I try to block out stuff that has nothing to do with the event before I wear my shirt. Exams, work, deadlines, the evening before a tournament I go through my calendar and to-do lists and just postpone everything to after the weekend. I know that there is stuff I have to deal with, but I know I won’t forget it because it’s somewhere safe, and I can’t do anything about it anyway during the tournament, so why worry about it? Furthermore, you never know when Sashi “Loco” Kumar Balakrishnan L2 knows a DJ in Tokyo on a Thursday night, or Ellis Gyongyos L2 wants to SPA at 2 a.m. on Sunday after the tournament, Luca Romano L2 finds last minute tickets for the Swan Lake in Moscow, or David Gutesa L2 gives you a lift from Greece to Macedonia after a Conference. All lost opportunities if you plan to do stuff during the days of the event. Without anything to worry about, it’s easy to see the rest in a positive light and seize opportunities, and this translates to how I coordinate with team members, meet new judges, give feedback, answer a ruling, and enjoy what happens after the event. A smile goes a long way 🙂
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life? What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
It has taught me to seek optimization in all aspects of life, and not just continue doing something the old way out of habit. It has made me more familiar with the feedback culture our society would need so much. As a professional experience, it played a big part in my application to university in France, so that I could live there for a couple of years and be adopted by the French Judge Community. The GP schedule is probably THE most important series of events that shapes my calendar. Last but not least, traveling, with its pros and cons, is a lesson I’m so happy to have learned so young.
What motivates you to continue being a Judge?
During the years I have been in many sometimes ungrateful positions that tried to improve something for the community. High-School yearbook, journal, student body, University student council, so much behind-the-scenes work and not only lack of recognition, but sometimes outright lack of respect. This was very frustrating. The Judge Program however always found ways to listen to me or say thank you, and from different directions. For example, Edwin Zhang L3, my RC at the moment, is always thankful for the suggestions I give, but it means a lot to me that someone can simply actively listen for hours and really care. It’s hard to find people like this in other fields, and even if Edwin is really special in this sense, it tells a lot that he’s not unique in the program!
What is one tip you have for other Judges?
It’s very easy to lose motivation while doing something, but it’s very hard for that to happen in the Judge Program. If that happens to you, as always, keep calm, and call a(nother) judge. The problem is rarely you being a Judge in itself, but it’s a lack of alignment between you and your time, goals, energy, or period of your life. Sometimes we lack the necessary clarity of vision and distance between ourselves and everything else, or don’t have the means to do proper soulsearching, as Ivan Petkovic L3 calls it. Share sorrow now, and you’ll be able to share joy later.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I can handle rulings in seven languages; Romanian, French, English, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Japanese.
- I took my L1 test in the dark. I was in another room and there was a blackout, I just continued using my phone as light.
- I have taken over twenty intercontinental flights in my life.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!