I suppose there are lots of ways judges can be bad – which is why I use the quotations. If a judge is gratuitously mean; or disengaged (reading their phone would be one good example) or otherwise just not behaving nicely then they aren’t the best judges. But if they hold high standards, explain what they are looking for and judge fairly across competitors then they are the best judges. I find it stressful when a judge who knows most of the people running picks and chooses who to watch contacts very closely on for example. (Well I find it stressful with Sally, Brody has never missed a contact so judges who were uneven in how closely they watched people never bothered watching him too carefully). Are you going to “get away” with it or not? I’d much rather have a
best “bad” judge and know we have to hit the contact hard enough to leave no doubt at all.
I judged a little schooling show for horses yesterday. It is hard to be fair sitting on the other side of the run. I wanted to reward the cute, the sad, the hard trier. I didn’t really want to use the rider I overheard making nasty comments about her competition. Judging the classes I was judging yesterday is a lot more subjective than agility – more like rally maybe – and sometimes more like figuring skating. But even so I made every effort to put everything out of my mind except what I could actually see in front of me. The subjective bit popped up when I had two equal performances and had to split them somehow. Then I made every effort to share the love around 😉
Fair standards, clarity and consistency that’s what the best judges embrace and uphold that means a “bad” judge might just be the best of judges. Embrace them. Learn from them. And use what they teach you the next time you compete!