So, by now, many of you have noticed that we have a new L5!I’m guessing that some of you might be curious how that came to pass…
Well, it all started when one of the other L4s sent me a post that basically read “Why the BLEEP isn’t Kevin already L5?!” OK, that might not be an exact quote… in fact, it wasn’t anything like that, it was a very carefully crafted explanation of why they thought Kevin deserved a promotion. I had been thinking along the same lines, so I passed that recommendation on to Andy and the other L5s (Toby, Riccardo, Lems), who apparently had also shared those same thoughts.
And the discussion began…
Here’s where it gets interesting: none of our discussion was wasted on the If. None, nada, zip, zero, zilch. We covered a lot of different territory – dozens of messages, back & forth – but not once did any of us question whether or not Kevin was L5 material.
Instead, we talked about our definition of L5 – what is it that defines an L5? We shared a number of thoughts, but didn’t really come up with a concrete definition. Some quotes are worth mentioning, anyway…“I figure that L5s are unique enough that they all have their own story and their own path. I don’t think you can weave a coherent story out of the current four (or predecessors) beyond ‘exemplar judge’.” – Toby
Toby’s spot on, there, as usual. I’ve known and worked with every L5, past and present, and there is no question that “unique” is an apt description – as is “exemplar”.
“Just like each other level, they are an increase in scale and scope, to the last level; they inspire, train, and develop judges two levels below their own, and lead the certification of such judges to that next level. They then lead and mentor these judges in a more direct aspect to improve where they have remaining weaknesses.
“L5s are uniquely the iconic leaders of the program” – Andy
We never really finished the discussion – I suspect we all seized on Andy’s hinted-at-possibility that we could defer until Kevin joined us, then drag him into that discussion. (Hmmm… forgot to tell you that part, didn’t we, Kevin?)
Next up was how/when/where. We considered waiting for the Pro Tour to arrive in Valencia, and quickly leaned towards doing the big splash one week before, in Paris – where Kevin was also breaking new ground as a Grand Prix Tournament Organizer. Part of the debate between those sites was who could be there to help announce and celebrate with Kevin. Since he is French, after all, we realized that he’d have a lot more friends around in Paris, so for his sake, that’d be perfect, even if most of us couldn’t be there… but wait, there’s more!
“hey, we’ll all be in Seattle for the L4+ Judge Conference, we could celebrate it with Kevin then!” (OK, slightly paraphrased – but credit where it’s due.)
“how about we celebrate in Seattle, but keep it sooper-sekrit and stuff, and then celebrate again with a public announcement in Paris?” (Yes, yes, I am really taking liberties with these “quotes”… but I swear that’s what Riccardo really meant to say!)
Have I mentioned that I work with a bunch of fairly bright people? Well, I do – and thus, our brilliant plan was formed. We even strategized a bit about who would say what, and Andy made sure that champagne would arrive before dinner, for a toast to the occasion. After the big moment, I can’t say for certain that Kevin was surprised – he didn’t faint or anything – but it occurs to me now, why should he have been surprised? He’d earned this recognition, long since, and it’s fair to say the most surprising part might be how long it took us to get there. How did he earn it, you ask?
“Kevin has been expanding his scope in the last years, spanning from judging to scorekeeping to organizing, traveling to all continents and having a bigger and bigger impact on the development of the judge program; it’s actually very hard to find people who have such positive and constructive contribution to the entire Magic judge program. Kevin is one of the most visible and contributing examples of the Magic judge community, and this is why his most appropriate level is five.” – Riccardo
“There’s really nothing that needs to be said about Kevin’s promotion to Level 5, and that fact actually says a lot. Kevin’s contributions to the program on a global scale have been large and obvious. Kevin’s an amazing judge who’s clearly become a role model to judges at every level in the program – including Level 5!” – Lems
I could go on, but Toby and I didn’t cobble together any really quotable sentiments – just effusive praise and repeated recognition of the great stuff Kevin’s been doing. (Like I said, this was unanimous.) Really, the bottom line may be this comment: “L4 is both a role to fill, and a regional need for GP HJ, while L5 is the L4 that “everyone” already knows should be an L5.”