Welcome to another installment of Judge of the Week! Meet Meg Baum, a leader not just in her local community but also across the nation and farther. Join us as she discusses that journeys are sometimes difficult but always worth it.
Name: Meg Baum
Location: Detroit, MI / Chicago, IL
Judge Start Date: May 19, 2012
Occupation: Decontamination Technician
Favorite card: Collected Company 🙂
Least favorite card: Winter Orb
Commander General: Currently Edgar Markov
Favorite non-Magic Game: New World of Darkness
Best tournament result: 10th at a PTQ
Random fact about yourself: I LOVE to read.
Why did you become a Judge?
I decided I wanted to help at a PTQ and walked up to Steven Briggs, took the pairings out of his hands and said “I’m posting these” (don’t do that) because my boyfriend at the time took my deck I was going to play in the event.
What are some tips you have for other Judges?
Be yourself. The Judge Program needs all sorts of folks in it, it’s one of the things that make us great. Everyone brings their own little flavor to judging. Everyone has a unique perspective, and unique life to bring to judging. Walk your own path, some paths are rougher than others but know that every step you take is your own.
What is your favorite non-judging moment that happened with other Judges?
There was a PTQ that John Temple, Jeremy Toma-Cooper and David Rapaport, and I were driving home from and we passed a carnival on the side of the road. We had to pull over for gas at right around the same time. We got out of the car and could smell the funnel cakes, cotton candy, popcorn, see the flashing lights and hear all the fun sounds coming from this big carnival. We all looked at each other and said “Surprise Carnival?” We all piled into the car chanting CARNIVAL CARNIVAL CARNIVAL and went and rode rides, ate food that was horrible for us, won prizes at games, and in general had a fantastic time. It was so random and just very us. It was great.
What challenges have you faced or are you facing to become a better judge, and how have you worked to overcome them?
I was the first lady judge in my state. I was one of the first in my entire region. It was hard being so alone at first. I had only ever seen one other lady judge before I tested for L1 at a Grand Prix I attended as a player. It was Cristiana Dionisio (Who I wouldn’t meet in real life again until earlier this year!) and she was the head judge. I wouldn’t see another lady for a few years and then I had the pleasure to work with Ingrid Lind-Jahn and Charlotte Sable. It was tough and it took players a long time to get used to me. I just didn’t let it keep me down. I knew that every path I forged for myself would make the path easier for ladies who came after me, I knew that every glass ceiling I shattered would mean that she didn’t have to. The path bruised and the glass cut but it was worth it, it continues to be worth it. Every time I see a new lady at her first event, every time I see discussions on Collected Company and every time someone comes to tell me how they look up to me my heart soars with joy. The last time my RC checked the numbers my region percentage wise has the most lady judges of any region.
My journey was rough, but it was mine and it was worth every step.
How has being a Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
I am stubborn, judging has taught me when to hold my ground and when to let it go. I am passionate, judging has taught me to focus that passion and use it to do anything I can dream of. I am someone who always wants to do the right thing and fix it, judging has taught me to pick my battles. I started judging when I was 18 years old, judging (and time) have taught me maturity.
What is your favorite non-Magic hobby?
I love to cook. Dinner parties, holiday parties, judge conferences, I love to make food people enjoy. It’s how I show I care.
How did you get involved in Magic in the first place?
This is actually a funny story, I was in about grade 7 and there was a cute boy who liked to play Magic at lunch. I started playing so I could hang out with him. Plus I had always loved D&D, the fantasy genre and puzzles, this was like both in one. He turned out to be completely wrong for me (as 7th grade crushes are want to be!) but I did fall in love with Magic. Been playing ever since. At this point I’ve been playing Magic for more of my life than not!
If you could chat with one person, real or fictional, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I LOVE to read, honestly characters from books have shaped large portions of my personality. If I could pick one person to talk to it would be Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. He as a character really speaks to me. His struggles to do the right thing even when its hard, how he fails sometimes but never lets it stop him, the temptation to take the easy way but resisting because he knows its wrong, always giving his absolute everything and always being there whenever his loved ones need him. I HIGHLY recommend reading the series. (Don’t watch the television show, its… disappointing.)
If you were a Planeswalker what would be your ultimate?
-10: Draw 3 cards, lose 5 life, deal 7 damage to each opponent and each creature you don’t control. (Can you tell what my colors are?)
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
Honestly the day I got Level 3. I walked into the room, Bears announced that I was the newest L3 in the program and I was completely drowned in cheering, hugs, tears and love. I have never felt more part of my judging family as when I had all of those people around me hugging me tight, and cheering all for me.
What would you be doing now if Magic no longer existed?
I would be a professional chef or a cake decorator. I have always wanted to own a restaurant or a bakery that makes the big fancy cakes with the beautiful decoration, but with a nerdy twist. Buttercream flowers around modeling chocolate dragons, a menu that specifically has a section for 11sies. I still might…
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I love judging. Its a huge part of my life. I’ve met so many of my dearest friends, my family and done so much that I would have never met or been able to do if I hadn’t decided to help that one day. All of the trials and tribulations, all of the hardships, i wouldn’t change it for anything. Ever.
Two Truths and a Lie
Two of the following statements are true and one is false. Figure out which!
- I taught the lead singer of the band My Chemical Romance, Gerard Way, how to play magic.
- My dog’s name is Sorin Barkov.
- I have broken 3 bones in my life.
If there is a judge who is also doing something exemplary, please nominate a judge TODAY!