Is it time to pay judges?
CrossFit and CrossFit Competition is big business. There is a lot of money within the sport and the stakes are becoming a lot bigger. When money is involved people need someone to blame when they don’t make the cut. This, in CrossFit, is the judges.
Judges are always under scrutiny and sometimes abuse from athletes and spectators for the decisions they do or don’t make. It’s a lot to ask for when often judges work for free, most times at an expense to them (flights, hotels, food, travel), giving up there spare time and then expected to act professionally to represent the event, make quick and accurate decisions in a high pressure situation, handle pumped up adrenaline fuelled athletes delusional about their sub-par movement standards and all on 3 hours sleep. Lets not forget it isn’t only the days of the events they give up, often they are there the day before for briefings and standards too and often process a lot of information weeks before the event.
Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen terrible judging, even at events where apparently judges are picked because of their experience and diligence but what can we expect from kind hearted people who volunteer because they want to help? I’m sure they don’t mean to miss no reps and I’m sure their intentions are good but is it time for judging to become more professional. I mean, most sports even at lower levels have paid officials because they need to be accountable and professional. Do we need some sort of register of judges? Do those judges need to be tested and reviewed? Do they need to be trained regularly? Does a judge need to be more than a volunteer now?
This was particularly highlighted in a recent article
Although points raised were slightly different, it goes to show how easy it is for judging standards to slip, 14 judges authorised by The CrossFit Games approved the video with the erroneous score.
The course was a good start, except anyone could take it online (with no possibility of failing) and after a pretty simple test thought they were suddenly a “CrossFit Judge”.
I have personally seen hundreds of open videos online and some don’t even come close to correct competition movement standards except their “judge” is stood there happy as Larry counting their reps. Well of course they are, they have no idea really what they are doing and probably aren’t too worried about being the best judge they can be and that’s the difference that you would get from creating professional judges out of the current ones who go out of their way to be good judges. A CrossFit judge should be proud and enjoy upholding the standards of competition because without them the competition really wouldn’t be fair.
If we want CrossFit to be seen and treated as legitimate sport then we need to up our game behind the scenes as much as we do on the competition floor.