Hey everyone! I’m here to share my experience as a floor judge of the SCG Regional tournament in Maitland, Florida. It was a long day, but definitely one I’ll walk away from as a better judge.
The expected turnout was between 200-250 people, so the event was going to be a healthy size. I was assigned to the Logistics team with Patrick Vorbroker, Mitchell Wetherson, and Jesse Gordon with Madalyn Young as our team lead. From my point of view, the team dynamic was fantastic to work with, given the fact we were able to share our experiences with each other. It was Jesse’s first Comp REL event and my 4th, so I was able to help him navigate his first few calls, as they can be very intimidating. Taking a moment, and being sure of your answer is always more welcome than hastily trying to answer the judge call. Simple things like reading the cards involved, even if you know what they are, give you time to collect your thoughts. In the same vein of helping team members grow, the L2’s on my team were quick to share knowledge about what I should know and study to prepare for L2, as well as giving me scenarios to go over. The emphasis being why are the answers right, as opposed to simply whether they are right nor not.
From the logistics standpoint, the event went well. Because we were under the cap of the event, we were able to reduce the space used, and accommodate all the matches without using the warehouse space that was designed for max capacity, but traditionally isn’t. There were concerns of heavy rain, so for a time we were trying to determine how to have pairings posted in such a way that we could reduce the amount of choke points and traffic we’d create. We came to the conclusion that the space wasn’t conducive to having pairings posted inside, unless the rain was a safety concern. Thankfully it rained some, but it wasn’t a concern.
My time on the floor was generally uneventful as far as judge calls go. There were a few incidents of Drawing Extra Cards, but I was merely a spectator as the Head Judge applied the new fix. A large part of an event going well in my view is that the players have a great experience, and I noticed many players throughout the day players smiling or continuing to play in the tournament well after they were out of prize contention. This signaled to me that they were enjoying simply playing the game, which while it may sometimes increase the length of a round, means that the event is well run enough that they enjoyed continuing to play.
For pairings turnaround my team lead specified I pull them down with 17 minutes left in each round. I thought nothing of the time mark, but sometime in a middle round, the Head Judge, Bryan Prillaman, inquired as to why it was 17 minutes. He suggested I ask, and her answer was simple, “It’s my favorite number.” She added that 17 minutes is a unique enough time mark that it helps you remember to take down the pairings. Familiar numbers like 10 or 15 seem less urgent. I thought back at previous rounds and noticed I had been very aware of the time and pairings the whole tournament.
Prior to the event I had expressed to the Head Judge, Bryan Prillaman, that I am working on progressing to L2, and throughout the day he had my team quizzing me, and going over the reasoning behind rules interactions and policies. At the start of top 8, he pulled me aside and handed me a practice test. I completed it, and we went over it. What stood out was his concern for my development as a judge. I was unaware of his plan, and it was a welcomed surprise.
So much of what we do is centered around the players and events we run, but our own development as judges is important as well. Don’t forget to take time for self improvement and growth. No one is perfect, and the same can be said of us as judges. There is always something new to learn, from others and about yourself.