A few weeks ago, I volunteered to help out with a competition at the CrossFit gym where I work out. I didn’t really want to be a judge, but I knew that I would likely be called upon to judge. There weren’t going to be so many volunteers that judges wouldn’t be needed, and unlike some of the volunteers who felt that they absolutely could not judge, I knew that I could. I just didn’t want to.

I’ve judged my peers in the CrossFit Open in years past, and I take judging very seriously. More seriously than some of my peers. I remember one year for the Open, my judge lost count of my burpee reps because she was watching someone else attempt to get a bar muscle up. It’s like, if you wanted to watch that, then you shouldn’t have offered to judge anyone else during that time period. (I made sure never to pair up with that person again for the Open.)

I was worried a bit about no-repping complete strangers for an official competition, but the head judge gave some great reassurance during the volunteer briefing. He said that every athlete there wanted us to judge them to standards; that’s why those athletes were here. And, during the athlete briefing, he had all the athletes shout out that they wanted to be judged to standard.

All in all, I ended up judging several pairs throughout the day. For the most part, they performed to standard, but I did have to say those words, “no rep,” a few times. And although I had been nervous about saying those words, they came out when they needed to. And I did try to warn when I saw form starting to slip, rather than waiting for form to fail and going right to the “no rep.”

The athletes I judged were gracious, thanking me at the end of their workouts even when I had given out those no reps. I got more used to the whole rhythm of judging. My voice got a bit hoarse from yelling out counts. I know some folks can just count out every 5 or 10 reps and keep track, but I have trouble keeping track if I don’t count out each rep. As long as I’m counting, I may as well count so that the athletes can hear me. Though sometimes the music was too loud for them to hear, so I had to increase my volume when they got close and really yell out when they finished.

Judging the competition did make me feel more comfortable with judging in the Open, which is funny, because the Open is much lower stakes for most of us than a comp. I’m not judging anyone at my gym that has a chance to advance beyond the Open though. It might be a different story of nerves if I was.

I think I would volunteer judge again, if I get the opportunity to do so. Volunteers are vital to putting on competitions, and I was glad to be able to spend some time making that comp happen.

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