OFFICIATING! FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME: PART 2
I, like most of my fellow judges, truly love and enjoy the task of judging and evaluating the breeding animals brought to me for consideration. I know, however, that I may not always get the cor- rect outcome in the opinion of others, as any official may, on occa- sion, make a bad call or miss an obvious one. This is the humanity in all of us. But in those instances, it is not for lack of being pre- pared or studying the breed. Training and study only take you part of the way through the journey. It is the in-the-ring journey that helps you to improve your knowledge and skill in each particular breed as you advance through the system, just like moving up the ranks in the various sports leagues. THE LOVE OF THE GAME As in sports of all kinds, many purebred dog enthusiasts love the game and the opportunity to officiate at various levels. Some, how- ever, should stay in their comfort zone, as they do a good job there but can’t achieve the same level of competency at the next level. That’s okay. Not everyone deserves to be advanced for a variety of reasons, although this is not saying that as time goes on they won’t be ready sometime in the future. We all learn and absorb informa- tion differently; some can grasp it and apply it faster than others, and these people should advance. The others should be allowed to catch up at a slower pace, if needed. If you are one of those people who chooses to take the next step into the middle of the ring, there are some things that I would suggest: 1. GROW A THICK SKIN. No matter what you do in the ring, there will always be someone who is not happy. 2. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE. Study and review your Standards. You will never have every detail memorized, but by reviewing the Standards over and over you will gain a bet - ter understanding each time that you judge the breed. 3. LEARN TYPE! Remember, it is type that truly separates one breed from another. 4. YOU HAVE NO FRIENDS. When you step into the ring, you must leave friendships and relationships at the gate, and go in and do your job. Real friends and acquaintances know this and will respect you for it. 5. JUDGE WITH CONFIDENCE. If you’ve studied and pre- pared, judge the dogs and make your decisions. It should not matter who is ranked or who is handling. Just judge the dogs. 6. BE POLITE AND CONSIDERATE of every exhibitor. This may be their first time or their 10,000th, but they all deserve the same consideration of your time and attention. 7. WALK BEFORE YOU RUN. We would all like to advance to the next level, but don’t be in a hurry. The fancy knows which people are prepared and which people are not. 8. DEVELOP A PATTERN AND PROCEDURE that you are comfortable with while making your decisions—and stick to it. 9. SMILE AND BE NICE, especially to the novice exhibitor. You may be the difference in their choice to continue exhibit- ing or to quit and go home for good. 10. Always look and ACT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL. The way you dress and act is being watched by everyone, especially with all the new technology that’s available to record all of your actions. Always remember that, hopefully, you are here because you love the game. If you find that the love of the game has gone, and it is
LEARNING THE NUANCES OF EACH
BREED IS A CHALLENGE, AND APPLYING THOSE NUANCES TO THE ENTRY IN FRONT OF A JUDGE AT ANY GIVEN SHOW IS A DIFFICULT TASK.
As with all sports, the number of individuals who are elite and reach the top of the profession is small. We all know the judge’s approval system is not—and has never been—fair or based on merit or ability alone. However, it is time to stop advancing those who do the breeds harm, and also recognize those who do a very good job by advancing them accordingly. Learning the nuances of each breed is a challenge, and apply- ing those nuances to the entry in front of a judge at any given show is a difficult task. Most of us who judge, and come from the “old ways,” have learned this. We still review and study our Standards before every show. Meanwhile, many of today’s judges seem to be on what I will call a “generic journey” based on general knowl- edge, showmanship, advertising, and other outside interests such as gathering more assignments. SOLICITING Many of the older judges were NEVER permitted to solicit assignments. This meant that you earned your assignments by word-of-mouth from those show chairs and exhibitors who let people know you were doing a good job. That was how you com- pleted your provisionals and how you progressed. Just like the tor- toise and the hare, it was “slow and steady wins the race.” People now solicit openly on the Internet and in other ways— and the results are not always good, as the cry of “poor judges” is louder than ever.
“just a job,” it’s time to think about giving it up. The Love of the Game is what it is all about!
SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, MARCH 2022 | 85
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