Understanding GPs

This weekend will hold GP: Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  GPs (short for Grand Prix) are large Magic: The Gathering tournaments open to the public which often have days of play in excess of 10 hours.  These events span two days and require dozens of judges to run, additionally, these are days largely consisting of walking and standing.  I’ve done six or seven such things before and while I’d call them neither awesome nor horrible I wouldn’t consider them “fun” in the traditional sense as I could achieve more joy through most other endeavors.   GPs help me keep contact with other judges, sharpen my skills, interact with players at a different scale, and let me see how other organizers run events and this learning easily justifies the time.

A few weeks ago, introductory notes started going out about who the judges were and in reading them I found two patterns.  New judges said things like “I look forward to having fun” and experienced judges focused on things like “I like knitting”.  Another common thread was new judges seemed to hope the event would break a size record, some of the more experienced ones simply hoped it broke the 1400 person barrier for the judge compensation to increase.