My First Review - Louis Fernandes

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My First Review - Louis Fernandes
Date: March 23, 2009, Event: $5K Tournament, San Jose, CA, USA
My level: 1, Floor Judge
Subject: Jeff Morrow, Level 3, Head Judge
The Review
Strengths: I had the recent opportunity to judge alongside Jeff Morrow on Saturday the 14th of March at the Superstars Standard $5k. Before the tournament began, Jeff asked his fellow judges to try to observe him as much as possible on the floor. He actively sought out criticism and feedback on his performance, and I will try to give my perspective on how he handled himself and his responsibilities throughout the tournament.

Working alongside Jeff was a good chance to improve my on-the-floor rules knowledge, as he would bring notable rulings and rules questions to myself and some of the other judges for discussion. He was very intent on getting our impressions and ideas, and would let us discuss the situation, the infractions, and the rulings before he told us how he ruled, and his basis for doing so. Jeff seemed to enjoy using the down time of the tournament to interact and educate the other judges, which, as a fairly inexperienced judge, I found to be very welcome.

As far as customer service is concerned, Jeff seemed to want players who came to him with questions to not only have answers, but to have gained some understanding, as well. This is not to say that he was giving playing tips to players. What he did seem to do was want the players to understand why the penalty was given, or why a rules question was answered as it was. Jeff seemed to be playing the "judge as customer service agent" role, instead of the "judge as decider of fate" role.

Areas for Improvement: One thing that I did seem to notice about Jeff was that he was, at least in my opinion, a little too willing to accept the players' word for the current situation. I noticed that Jeff would sometimes believe the players when they said that the current state was like so, and it could be dangerous to take their word for it and not do more fact-checking to back up their assertion. Players make counting errors, and even make errors about their errors, so it's important to remember that even players who are in agreement with each other could both be wrong.
Comments: Jeff was eager to help, excited to be at the tournament, and a pleasure to work with. I hope I get the chance to work with him again.
The Story
The thing that struck me most about this event was the active solicitation of feedback from Jeff. Actively seeking critique and comments about judging was a new concept to me. I had thought that feedback was something one "earned" through hard work and higher level judges noticing you. Jeff showed me that was false, and inspired me to write my first review.