Hello Judges! Here we are featuring another Regional Coordinator. We travel to Greece today to find Level 3 George Trichopoulos.
Where are you from?
Several parts of Greece.
When did you become a Judge?
Why did you become a Judge?
It was the summer of 2005 and I was trying to persuade the good players in my play club to become judges because we had rules and policy issues. After some months, I decided to step up and I took the steps to become a judge.
What advice would you give to members of your region?
Hang out with other judges outside of events. You will perform better in events and you will discover that you have a lot of things in common. Don’t book anything for next July! You are all invited to our conference in Greece.
What advice would you give to a Judge growing up through the program?
Start slow and explore our wonderful world. You will find your place, whether that is being a rules guru in your local store or being a regular at the GP-PT circuit. Did I mention that you will make new friends along the way?
How do you not lose your mind as a RC?
That’s easy: don’t be the first RC in your region! Phillipp Daferner, up until July of this year, was our RC and he has established a pretty good system. You look at Eastern Europe an you see more than ten countries and more than six different languages. Phillipp had appointed one judge in every country to be his eyes and ears there. This system worked pretty well, so I only need to keep up with what my country coordinators are doing. And thanks to those guys, you are the best!
What do you feel needs to be improved in the Judge program?
Judge compensation in lesser events, such as GPTs and below. Since the vision of Wizards is to have a judge at every core level store, the organizers need to give judges some incentives. Achieving this is difficult. We can’t ask the Mothership to provide the compensation since it will lead to phantom judges and/or phantom events. We can’t as to raise the quality of L1 requirements because that would require increasing the bar for getting to L1. That would result in fewer candidates, which would ultimately mean that we will never achieve the vision of Wizards.
One solution is to advertise ourselves better. Spread the message to tournament organizers that if they have a judge present, it will increase their expenses for a short period of time but, it will increase the player base and the players’ enjoyment in the long run. If you have other ideas, share them!
What has been your best experience in the Judge Program?
It was around April of 2008 and I was in my obligatory one year of army service. GPRS internet, no free time, etc. For some reason, I persuaded Wizards not only to accept me in PT Hollywood, but also to pay for my travel expenses.
Obviously, that made me happy, but I had to persuade my superiors to let me go travel abroad while I still had access to classified documents. What’s more, I receive an e-mail from Spanish L3 Raul Rabionet bullying me into participating in a road trip along with a Panamanian, a Belgian, and a Czech judge. Since at the time I was seeing myself as an inexperienced L2, getting to be with some of my role models in the program seemed unreal, especially since they actually wanted me to go with them!
Long story short, we visited the Hoover Dam, Monument Valley, Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, the Sequoias, and Las Vegas. There were lots of stories, most of which have already been told and at the end of it, those four people took a special place in my heart because who cares about sightseeing when you have these guys messing with you?
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
Being good at what you do is something that keeps me going – so much for being modest. I was always goal oriented. I became L1 to help my community. I became L2 to Team Lead at a GP (older times). I became L3 to Head Judge Greek Nationals (Nationals stopped six months after my certification, so I never judged one). And I became RC because I have a soft spot for my local community. Nowadays, I have discovered leading projects. So, as long as I have goals and the Greek crisis permits me to have free time, I will stay around.
What has been your favorite magic event that you have judged?
Public events of GP Strasbourg ’07. It was one of the worst managed public events and it is the place where I learned to appreciate Christian Unpronouncablewicz‘s experience. This is where I fell in love with public events with the tense atmosphere that surround them and the reactiveness that they always need. Most of us are taught that being proactive is the way to go, and they are right most of the time. There are cases where no matter how prepared you are, something will go wrong, and that is where you need to have some reactive skills as well.
How often do you Travel for Magic?
Usually once every two months, although I would love to start traveling for PTQs inside my region.
What are some of your Regional Goals?
The easy one is to get more L3s. The obvious one is to get L1s to places there are none and to get L2s to every advanced store. The ambitious one is to drink a beer (or two, or three) with everyone!
What’s one thing in your region which makes playing Magic special?
Apart from the aforementioned ten countries with more than six different languages? The political tension that comes along with that. Some of these nations were at war less than two decades ago and there is a country that I can’t even name in public without creating enemies in both camps. At the end, we blame politicians and the educational system and we try to laugh about it.
Who are your role models within the Judge Program? What are the qualities that drew you to them?
There are lots of people that helped me at the beginning of my judge career mentoring me or just putting up with my questions and my general behavior. That said, I was fortuante enough to know George Michelogiannakis. Yes, he was the person who certified me. Yes, he was the person who certified me to L2. Yes, he was the person who pushed my L3 candidacy. But that’s what any role model would do! George changed me, changed the way I approached life in general, and he taught me to approach an argument from both sides, not to jump to conclusions, be positive and much, much more. Did I mention that he did all of these things while being younger than me?
Thank you George for an insightful look into a very unique Region. We’ll see you all back here next week!