Poor judging or you: taking responsibility for your shortcomings.

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There will always be the odd judge who simply does not like your piece. Does not matter if you receive ranks ranging from 1-3, guaranteed at some point—more realistically, multiple—you will encounter a critique of 6 at that supposed stellar tournament. It has happened to all of us at some point; me most notably in a round at Regionals. It’s the judge you cannot explain—the round that got away. Despite this happening routinely, and it does, every person’s reaction is the same: “WHAT?! Was that judge not there?”

I will be the first to admit I am a culprit of this behavior. Even after reading the critiques, very rarely would I even contemplate that any negative remarks held any validity until after a few days had past. I would get so frustrated of delivering the best I had to only get cut down by what I deemed “stupid” comments. I would come up with excuses and explanations to rationalize how that judged “missed the point” and thus their remarks were worth little.

Well, those antics of mine lasted for a year or so. I took very little in and rebelled against the idea that I could be the one missing the point. Reflecting back on my righteous ideology, I not only am shocked how narrow-minded competition made me but how stupid I was. I worked myself up into bouts of frustration just because a person did not like the same type of stories I do? Or because they did not like the way I performed? Or, dare I say, someone was better than I am? All that stress over artistic differences? So glad I dropped that act after a year—unless of course a judge truly lost it because then they would get teased by me on the bus ride home. Sorry.

Now, I am making it sound like I turned into a real-life “Pulp Fiction” and was ready to go medieval. No, no. I did what is deemed appropriate. I vented on the bus ride home and then practiced religiously. Here’s the thing, you can get annoyed by all the judge critiques that come your way. You are still going to get ranked low or receive ridiculous comments no matter how wonderful you are. No one is immaculate. That includes YOU!

So what do you do? First, accept that regardless of how fantastic you are there will be some judges who will not like you. That mantra will be your freedom. Once you acknowledge that truth, then you can stop wasting yourself on the annoyance of “bad critiques”. Realize suggestions for what they are: SUGGESTIONS! Read the critique, take what is valuable to you, and use that input. Mold your performance into something better using not only your ideas but from SUGGESTIONS you are given.

Further, come to accept that perhaps the poor mark the judge gave is not them being “stupid” but that what you’re doing just does not work. We all like to think we know what is best, but that is a lie. We do not. If we did we would not need a support system all our lives. Family and friends would be obsolete. Rarely do we admit our wrongs; even to loved ones. Well, in forensics you only have a week to see your failures. To bad.

Even after having come to believe this can you still expect poor, silly comments? Of course. Just because you may have been blinded to good commentary before does not mean bad observations do not exist. All I offer is a way to curb your anger from reading the critiques and free you to the possibility that judge comments DO matter. The tiniest idea can alter your performance. Do not be too proud to see it.

It's good that even though you might have been annoyed by comments you disliked, you still utilized them. There are many that don't.

It's good advice. Hard to follow because many do take performing/competing personally, but listening to comments is important for growth.

haha, vented on the bus. Who hasn't?

That is the place to vent though when you need to. Don't want to say anything in a hallway or bathroom, just to turn around and see your judge behind you!!!!!!!!!1!!!!

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