Judges, welcome back! For this week’s rock star, we have one of the elder statesmen of the Judge Program, whose hard work has helped numerous stores in his region run PPTQs and other tournaments and whose feedback has helped give many a judge food for thought. Congratulations to Joshua Marin!
Name: Joshua Marin
Location: Maplewood, Minnesota
Judge start date: May 2009
Occupation: Software Tester
Favorite card: Overwhelming Forces – Great for EDH and my first copy was a gift from my son
Least favorite card: Insurrection – ends virtually any EDH game
Favorite format: Sealed
Commander General: Geth, Lord of the Vault
Favorite non-Magic Game: Sudoku (solitaire), King of Tokyo
Best tournament result: Top 8 at a 128 person PTQ
Random fact about yourself: Finally played in my first GP last year in Atlanta for my 55th birthday.
Why do you Judge?
I judge because I love the game. I enjoy the sense of community that comes from making events happen. I have made friends and family through judging.
Tell us your favorite Judge story.
Shortly after instructing a candidate about only answering the questions that were actually asked and not providing additional information, I was going from call to call during a 400 person event. When a player asked me if I could tell him where the bathroom was, I answered “Yes”, then started to move off before I realized what I had said to him and pointed out where the bathroom actually was.
What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Always look for a better/smoother/more efficient way to do things. I have taught many judges on effective distribution of slips and how to get them out faster. Share what you know how to do, and learn what they have to teach you. We are all experts, just with different knowledge bases.
What is that more efficient way to distribute slips?
Fan the slips first, spreading the slips over about an inch, and hold them in your left hand. Pick up the top two from the stack using the edge of the fanned slips (you can glance to look at the number on top if you are worried about getting more than two), lean in between every other pair of players and drop the slips on either side of the table tent. You lean in half as often, pick up slips from one hand to the other half as much. With a little practice, you can get to the point where you can drop the slips off about as fast as you can walk down the row of tables.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges (or after event story)?
I am known for bringing Gummy Bears to events. When I was at GP New Jersey, a judge whom I didn’t really know from another region walked into the judge room and exclaimed “Gummy Bears – Josh must be here.”
How did you get started bringing Gummy Bears to events?
Back when I first started judging, Misty Mountain North (now Legion Games) used to run monthly PTQs (yes, only one P). We would have several judges and people would get hungry and a little tired. I tried a couple of things and discovered that large bags of Gummy Bears were really well-received and easy to share with all of the judges. Before too long, it became a tradition with judges beginning to ask where the Gummy Bears were. I recently did a rough calculation (as I have not kept track) that I have now spent thousands of dollars on Gummies over the years.
Who have been some of your biggest mentors in the Judge Program, and what did they teach you?
Rob McKenzie, most definitely. I started judging at the Misty Mountain North store (run by Steve Port which later became Legion Games) and Rob created a remarkable environment for building a judge community (one of the first “judge factories”). Rob taught me the value of building a community and getting to outlying stores in particular. Steve Port, as well, as he taught me that the idea was not to get a bigger piece of the pie, but to make a bigger pie.
What positive aspects has the Judge Program contributed to your everyday life?
Beyond the fairly obvious widening of my social circle, it has helped me improve my interpersonal skills and interaction with others. It has also helped in giving me more confidence when needing to lead teams of people.
What’s the best part about your local Magic community?
My local community is quite large, and I enjoy the fact that people interact and begin to form non-Magic bonds.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
I went down to visit a woman I was dating, and her son (around 11) had just received several long boxes of Magic cards. We learned to play by studying the little rules pamphlets and interpreting them based on our competitive Yu-Gi-Oh! knowledge. I came back with cards that he had gifted to me, and introduced my son to it … and there was no really turning back…
What’s it like to be one of the older judges in the program?
I think it is a great opportunity. Too often I hear that Magic is for kids or twenty-somethings. I see it as an opportunity to be a living testament that Magic is not only for all ages but it can be multi-generational. I have talked to many parents who have seen me at events and encouraged them to play as well, that it is not just for kids.
Your son Julian is also a judge. What’s that like to have him also in the program, and how often do you work events together?
It has been tremendous for our relationship. We have been working events for about 8 years together. While Julian was attending college, we would find 1-2 GPs and spend the weekend together and get a nice chance to visit. He is working events much less now and so we have not worked an event together for a couple of years, though we now are playing in events together.
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
B. Traven – author. He has a remarkable and mysterious life story. Biographers are still trying to figure it out to this day. In addition, he is one of the most incredible story tellers I have ever encountered.
What was the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Pulling off the 2HG side event at GP Las Vegas. Myself and 6 others ran the second largest 2HG event ever. We effectively ran a small GP at 832 players.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I competed in the American Contract Bridge League National Competition.
- I competed in the Global Finals of the Association of Computing Machine Scholastic Program contest for two years.
- I competed in Day 2 of my first Grand Prix.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!