Chapters – VI

C06We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

Yellow sand? Who peed on the beach?

***

Because the complaint mentioned a supposed mistake in a brochure, this brings up the topic of making sure you’re as correct as you can be before writing down anything. I’ve discussed before about authors needing to be factual about many things – medical procedures, the law, physics, and geography. Obviously, there is creative license so sometimes you can fudge on locations of things, but unless you’re writing about a mixed up Earth, you can’t have the Eiffel Tower in Mumbai.

Actually, I think more along the lines of the many taekwondo tournaments I’ve attended throughout the years and how correct the judges have to be. Let me explain.

The tournament floor is covered with ‘rings’ for the various divisions of competitors. Three judges are assigned to each ring. In the forms competition, Judge A assesses the quality of the kicks and stances; Judge B looks at the hand technique (blocks, strikes, hands in the proper position); and the Center judges various specifics about the overall form. Aspects included are: timing, rhythm, attitude, etc. Each judge will give a point value of between 9.2 and 9.9. The competitor with the highest score wins. There are other rules about ties and such, but I don’t want to get too detailed but especially on ties one has to stay true to one’s choices to be correct.

Weapons competition judging is based on the utilization of the weapon. Are the strikes correct, the target correct, power existent? Sometimes, the judge has to pick out minor differences to be able to score correctly.

Sparring competition has too many variables and rules to detail here but judges have to think fast and be able to score correctly. There are other types of competition (XMA, Creative, Combat Weapons) but the judging is similar to the traditional competition.

So we can see that there are many areas where the judges have to be correct. The competitor, parents, and supporters are observing the proceedings and keeping track of each score and decision and will point out mistakes. (Sometimes not in a kind way.) Judges are human and, yes, mistakes are made, but having three judges helps minimize errors. I’ve been judging for over twenty years but sometimes I have a discussion with the other judges about what the correct call should be (this deals with rules not a judgment call for forms or weapons) or have them clarify a rule or help me be correct on some aspect that might be a rare occurrence but is nonetheless important.

Paperwork is one of the biggest issues for a judge. It has to be as complete as possible or the head table reps will reject it. Competitors names, ID numbers, scores, judges’ signatures (printed with their ID number), ranks. The information on the outside of the packet must be filled out. Ring number, competition division (age-, gender-, and rank of competitors), number of competitors, number of medals/trophies awarded, judges’ names/rank/ID number, scorekeeper and timekeeper information.

My organization headquarters doesn’t want to get incomplete information because they get miffed and call the tournament host, who gets miffed and may have to track down the specific judges involved. So, those head table people are not to be messed with if they say you’ve missed something. They’re doing their jobs so in the future, nobody gets their butts kicked.

I enjoy tournaments and I enjoy judging. I’m not so gung-ho on competing. I still do, but if I don’t, I don’t feel cheated. For a long time I’ve had the attitude that I’m at a tournament to help others have fun. We’re always told that to have fun, we have to have safety. I have to be correct in my judging because others are judging me. A minor cost of having fun is that I have to spend a few extra minutes being correct on the paperwork.

Can you think of other areas where being correct is so important? (Yeah, I know. This one’s too easy a question.)

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