When Your Friends are Community Judges and Love It
You should've seen my church on the Sunday before last. It's not a very big church. It would probably not be an exaggeration to say that 75% of the adults at my church were judges at our recent-est, local-est tournament. Which was awesome. They were all discussing their experiences before and after the sermon. One judge told me about his Apologetics adventures. He thought the first speaker had a pretty good idea of giving three points within his speech. It didn't take him long to realize that that was what everyone does. Suddenly it was a lot less impressive. He also was annoyed by long introductions and wished that kids would just state their topics right away so he could cross it off the secret judge topic list. But I had to explain that most judges like flowery intros.
He had fun judging LD too. Yet he was startled, because he had been told in orientation that he shouldn't say anything during the round. And then, right before it started, someone asked him if he had any judging philosophy or anything he would like to see or not see during the round. He wasn't sure if he should answer, but he told them that this was his first time and he wanted them to make things simple for him. Then he noticed that both kids were reading their cases they had already written, and figured they weren't bothering to change anything. He was determined to give them something sneaky and nefarious next year to see if they would do it, like "I want you to end all of your speeches by explaining why your opponent should win." I told him that probably wouldn't fly.
It was definitely interesting hearing what everyone thought and who they judged. A lot of them had a lot of big-name speakers and debaters, who they were happy to hear ended up in finals or out rounds. It was also fun hearing one man explain Parli to another and two guys trying to express to someone else the awkwardness of Cross-Ex ("They would look at me, and then talk to the other person. So they're making eye contact with me, but they're not talking to me. It was so weird!"). I talked to my aunt about OOs she saw, and was happy to hear that she ranked my friends pretty high. All-in-all, Sunday was fun. They finally got to see what I partake in all the time and maybe understand why I'm so addicted.
Finding community judges is hard. How many people have a few spare hours lying around on a weekday, or feel like spending Saturday at some school or church somewhere with a bunch of teenagers? Only the awesome people. We love those guys. And really, we're doing them a favor. They always love it, right? They always want to come back. Your job is just that much easier next time around.