Exemplar Wave 5 Highlights – Stress and Conflict Management

Editor’s Note: This article is part of our series of highlighted exemplar recognitions. See our introduction post for all the details, or view all the posts in this series. This article was written by New Jersey Area Rep Dan Collins.

Judges can be called upon to handle any number of problems. Software issues, difficult rulings, conflicts with players and staff, unconventional venues or formats, and even true emergencies can all test a judge’s skills and reactions. The title of this category is shamelessly stolen from the Qualities of Regional Judges, but today we’ll highlight judges who showed these skills everywhere from their local stores, to GPs on another continent!

Jon – while things may not always go your way, you carry with you great personal energy. At SCG Philly, I had you on my Sides team. I gave you tasks, particularly running a 2HG side event solo, that I thought would challenge you. Those tasks did push you to your limits, but you stayed focused and positive and managed to overcome the obstacles that you encountered. Take a deep breath, and keep being you – that’s what makes you great!

This rec was written by Jonah Kellman for Jon Celso. At Jon’s second ever Star City Games Open, he was assigned a two-headed giant side event. He was not only the Head Judge, but the Only Judge. Jon would have been responsible for product prep, announcements, tracking time, and answering any number of strange and unusual rules questions. Jonah chose to recognize him for how he stayed calm and focused, completed his assigned tasks, and demonstrated an ability to work under pressure.

When wizards event reporter went down at our local FNM at Flipside gaming, the players were upset about the delays in the tournament, and worried about the possibility of it not continuing. As the TO, and Default Head Judge, you finished running the event on paper with plans to upload it later, and did so in a very timely fashion. Beyond this you made an announcement to alert the players about the situation, and made sure everyone was on the same page. This determination and professionalism in your event is the essence of what makes the judge program so great, and I look forward to seeing what else you accomplish both inside, and outside of your tournament roles.

This rec was written by Alex Stratton for first-time Exemplar recipient Nathaniel Barton. It is interesting because running events on paper is such a rare skill – certainly not one I would expect to see from a local TO and Level 1 such as Nathaniel. Despite a stressful situation, Nathaniel was sure to devise a plan to move the event forward, communicate that plan to his players, and execute on that plan succesfully. This is a sign of excellence that I’m glad Alex chose to share with the community.

Scott, there was a very unexpectedly taxing PPTQ where we had to split the event into four separate, non-contiguous locations, which is a logistical…unpleasantry. You absolutely stepped up and made sure everything was taken care of across all the locations. You stayed on top of making sure judges were distributed for calls, that all four sections received updates of the round time, and made several good suggestions for where to post pairings and how many sets to print. You went above and beyond any possible expectations I had, your performance was absolutely outstanding, keep up the amazing work!

Ths rec was written by Joe Steet for Scott Puccio. Joe tells us about his work at a particularly challenging venue. When challenged with the need to split a PPTQ across four rooms, Joe was able to rely on Scott to keep track of floor coverage, update players on the time remaining, and give advice on logistics matters such as pairings boards. Scott’s ability to support this event and his head judge despite difficult and stressful circumstances earned him his first ever Exemplar rec.

At GP Paris I saw you take the time to sit and talk to another judge that was in ‘distress’ and having a rough day. He was in back of the stage and needing some time away, and I noticed you talking, but mostly listening to him. I just wanted you to know that I noticed this, that you efforts were appreciated and that things like this are what make you a judge to be admired and emulated.

This rec was written by Christopher Richter for Megan Linscott. While the rec is intentionally vague about the problem, it’s very clear about how Megan handled it. One of the judges who suggested we highlight this rec added that “the specific advice of ‘mostly listening’ is really helpful; I think we could all do well to remember that.”

So there you have just a few examples of Northeast judges gracefully handling stress and conflict. They all did their best to understand the situation before calmly responding to it, and used their communication skills to keep everyone informed, to make suggestions, and even just to listen to a colleague who was having a bad day.

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