Guten Tag, Judges! This week, Regional Coordinators special features of JotW interviews its second ever judge from Germany, the RC for all German speaking countries- L3, Michael Wiese! Michael is from Bonn, Germany, and became a judge in October 2003 originally! This brings us close to his 10 year anniversary!
Why did you become a Judge?
GP Amsterdam in 2001 was my first GP as a player (finished in around 390.) I had seen many judges in action. Seeing them organizing and running the tournament smoothly (as far as I remember) made me think that I wanted to help too. That weekend I first thought that I would want to become a judge at some point.
Due to normal studies and moving; it took me two years to take the test. I passed the old A1 test and I was really happy about it. Yes, this was before DCIX even existed and really everything was on paper and much more complicated then nowadays.
What advice would you give to members of your region?
Have fun while judging and don‘t take [things] outside of tournaments too seriously.
What advice would you give to a Judge growing up through the program?
If you have any questions, concerns or you need help? Just ask for it, that’s the way I grow in the program and the whole program itself works this way. If you don’t know who to ask, your RC is always a good choice.
Could you recognize a few outstanding members of your region?
Where should i start ? There are now or have been plenty of outstanding members. Some of them are retired and some of them still active.
First are the L3s in my region. Philip, Stefan and Christian in Austria; Joel and Jeremie in Switzerland and last but not least Jens in Germany. They are all valuable members of my region.
There are plenty of L2s and L1s. Sebastian, Martin, Philip(s), Miguel (who was the first judge of the week from my region) and a lot more.
What’s the coolest event you ever been to?
If i really have to chose one, I would go for US Nationals ’07 in Baltimore (yes, in those days they sponsored one or two judges from Europe to judge US Nats).
Not only because I made L3 there; but, because the whole event was just a lot of fun for me and hopefully for others too. (Eli and the subway story 😀 )
What’s the farthest you have ever traveled for a Magic event?
I guess that was the second PT Honolulu [Hawaii], right after PT Yokohama. To get to both events it took ages, for the first I traveled from door to [event] for around 30 hours.
Does your family travel with you?
Unfortunately they don’t, my wife prefers to stay at home.
How do you not lose your mind as a RC?
Who says that I haven’t already lost it? 😉
Just kidding. As an RC its always good to keep calm and to think in advance. Additionally, you really need help as an RC, because you can’t do it alone. (If you do it alone, you’re doing it wrong).
What do you feel needs to be improved in the Judge program?
More judges 😉 (stating the obvious). At the moment I don’t feel that anything really needs to be improved within our program. Of course it’s not perfect, but it works very well.
What has been your best experience in the Judge Program?
The best? Hard to say. My promotion to L3 and the L3 panel I took were very good experiences.
What motivates you to continue being a judge?
Everyday there is a little challenge to master. It can be a little rules questions from an inexperienced player or it can be two judges having an argument and you have to help them solve it. Every tournament I judge is something that motivates me. That’s why I became a judge back in the day.
What has been your favorite magic event that you’ve judged?
US Nationals ’07, Worlds in Rome, PT Yokohoma ’07. They were the first three that came to my mind. There are many others that I really enjoyed.
What hobbies do you have outside of Magic?
I love to ride my bike, go swimming or to a sauna, watch movies in a cinema or just meet friends. The first three things I normally do with my lovely wife.
How often do you Travel for Magic?
Define travel? If that that means more then 200 km, then at least once a month. If that means taking a plane/train/whatever to another country then not so much at the moment. Maybe around five to six times a year. (This year has been two times to the Netherlands and one time to the US. Down the pipe is GP Hong Kong and GP Vienna.)
What are some of your Regional Goals?
Connecting the smaller communities in my region better and connecting judges and players better.
What’s one thing in your region which makes playing magic special?
Uhm, maybe the German laws. Maybe you’ve see that Germany doesn’t have a GP this year and won’t have a GP next year. There are some other issues with the German law here and that makes it special.
How has being a Magic Judge influenced your non-Magic life?
Before becoming a Magic Judge, my English really sucked (and its even now not that good), but still I have improved my skills here a lot.
I am much more organized then I was before.
Who are your role models within the Judge Program? What are the qualities that drew you to them?
Frank Wareman, because he was and is always so organized and you can get always good feedback from him.
Sheldon Menery, because of his presence at tournaments. When he was present as a Judge/ Head Judge everything worked even better at that tournament.
How do you have fun during events?
Just having a good time with other judges makes it fun to me. Talking to others and making little jokes with them helps me get the fun I need.
What is the proudest moment of your Judge life?
My promotion to L3.
What is your favorite “after event” story?
I already mentioned Eli and the Subway story above and here is what happened:
Eli and I went for our lunch break during US Nationals to Subway. I ordered first and because of my English skills the guy behind the desk recognized me as not being from the U.S. He asks me where I am from. I answered “from Europe, Germany.” He was very excited about that for no real reason.
Then it was Eli’s time to place his order. Of course the Subway guy asks Eli where he is from too. Eli replied “from Arizona”. The guy looks at him and asks seriously “Oh cool, where in Europe is that?” Eli replied “ehm from Arizona, U.S.”. The subway guy responds: “Ok, where is that in Europe?” After that we took our sandwiches and just had to laugh all the way back to the venue.
What is the worst tournament you have judged?
There was this kind of 2HG Tournament in Amsterdam which could be known as 2HG GP Amsterdam. 😉
Any additional questions or comment you would like to have on the interview?
Whenever you meet me take the time for a little chat. I have heard that sometimes I look scary. If you get to know me, you’ll see that I am not scary, but I’m a friendly person.
Thank you Michael, for your time and work in the program!
[editor’s note: fun fact about Michael: He’s one of the only L3 judges to have judged at both World Magic Cup Events, 2012 and 2013!]