Welcome back to the Judge of the Week! Our latest rock star has developed a reputation for calmly handling even the toughest situations and for giving great advice. Time to get to know Gerard Trpin!
Name: Gerard Trpin
Location: Saint-Raphaël, France
Judge start date: Circa 2011.
Why did you become a Judge? Helping out players in a more direct way.
Occupation: Chargé de mission (diplomatic envoy)
Favourite card: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.
Least favourite card: Every card with absurd wincons.
Favourite format: Draft and As If. But I don’t play it as often as I’d like.
Commander General: Guillaume Beuzelin. Pheldagriff.
Favourite non-Magic Game: Europa Universalis IV, Pinball.
Best tournament result: Uhh, yeah, sure.
Two of your Exemplar recognitions pertain to your skills in mentoring. How did you develop your skills as a mentor and what tips do you have for people who want to be better at it?
Observation and understanding are my two pillars.
Observation because you need to pinpoint things quickly. You usually work with a judge you have never worked with before (especially if you travel internationally), and you have to get a reasonable understanding of her or his professional competencies, in just half a day. Let’s say that, even with a lot of interactions , you’ll need to be observant about details, including those that seem irrelevant on the spot.
Understanding because some aspects outside of just judging often come into account. The other person might be shy, not prone to discussing things. It might be a first-timer on a tournament who’ll need advice on a lot of judging topics or a full-fledged, grizzled veteran who has very precise things to improve. If you are going to mentor a lot, you’ll often have to be the girl or the guy who adapts.
What are the keys to giving good feedback?
“Gnothi seauton” (know thyself). Mentoring is a double-edged sword you’ll have to learn to use. If you don’t identify your weaknesses and strengths, you won’t be able to see others’, much like giving them pointers to improve efficiently. Identify what seems could be corrected, interact with the other judge to know what might affect this person’s choices or way of doing things. Advise people on the spot, not only by the means of written reviews, but by talking and debriefing right now with an informal post-event chat, while everything is fresh in your memory. It’s about taking your time, even if we’re all tired by a long day’s work, to give information and also receive it.
Start up conversations, and find the points you’d like to develop with the other judges. You’ll end up finding some “silver bullets” (I shamelessly borrowed the term from that dear Niels Viaene) – which you can make use for the greater good to guide the person you interact with.
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Meeting a lot of interesting people, traveling a bit more than I usually do. I also acquired some logistical competencies on the way.
What motivates you to continue being a Judge?
Last time in Nagoya, I was with Guillaume Beuzelin and David Guteša, and we were going back for some food after the GP. Obviously, we carried some heavy luggage with us (which probably made us more recognizable), and while getting off our train, someone said “Are you judges ?”. We said “Yup”, and this gentleman said “Thanks for everything you did today.” Nothing more than this, we thanked them and kept on going.
It was nothing other than simple gratitude for the work done this day.
I think that, as long as there will be small things like this, I’ll be motivated enough to judge.
What is one tip you have for other Judges?
Treat every fellow judge as… a fellow judge. You never feel as much as part of a community as when people treat you like the person you are, not as some number, random interchangeable judge, or cannon fodder. I would recommend a lot of people to talk to Kevin Desprez or Riccardo Tessitori to see how they genuinely care about players and judges. I learned a lot from simple interactions with these two gentlemen. This seems a simple tip, but I’ll assure it can be the grounds for a lot of things, from mutual trust in your team, to long-lasting friendships instead of simple working relations.
Oh, and SMILE. Please! I can understand everyone can’t do that 100 % of the time, but try to settle for half the time at least. Good service for players, and judges will come and interact with you more often.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
Probably that a lot of them know how much work it is for a judge to do his job properly, and are being supportive and understanding. Some also have the refreshing ability to ask you questions that make you think about weird corners of the MTR you hadn’t thought about before.
What has been your favourite Magic event that you’ve judged?
A lot of them. Player’s Championship in Nice, my first GP in Japan… Still it’s corny, but the best event you’ll judge is the next one.
How do you have fun during events?
I’m pretty happy just to be here helping players and interacting with judges, but when something unexpected or new comes up and you have to find answers on the spot .. that’s probably what I enjoy the most.
If you were a creature, what would be your creature type?
What are the areas you feel like you would most like to work on?
More adaptability I guess. It’s very hard to interact with people who are your polar opposite. But I want to keep on trying, nonetheless.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Since you don’t have the opportunity to be in this fine page that often I’d like to shout-out to judges who count in my personal judging sphere. Besides those I already quote, I’ll add Khanh Le Thien, the other half of the Japanese-French combo, my fellow area captains (especially Julien “Captain du matin” Laronde and Mathieu “Supplément Ketchup” André, Lamberto “mangia mangia” Franco, Sergio Perez, Alfonso Bueno, Jon Goud, Hans “Hippopotame” Wang, and Philippe “Traidor” Monlevade, and a whole lot of others. The list is constantly growing!
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I have over 1200 friends on Facebook (1253 and counting !) but all of these are “real” friends, not just some people I add on a whim.
- Due to my line of work, I speak some languages I can’t openly tell about, and that I will probably deny speaking or understanding at all.
- I became quite good at Japanese karaoke in less than a year due to some weird interactions on a New Year’s Eve, and a matter of saving my pride.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!