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Cappybara

Field Judge Rule Discussion One Season In

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Well, I spent the better part of this season *****ing about the rule that was passed last year to no longer allow field judges on the field. Now that we've had a whole season with these rules in place, I wanted to start another discussion on the pros and cons of this rule and its implications for the future of DCI adjudication. 

Here's where my thoughts are on this rule:

Pros - 

  • Increased member "safety" (I'll discuss why this is in quotations later)
  • Less distraction during shows. Although I have never felt distracted by field judges during a live show, but I know some have expressed this sentiment on DCP this season. 
  • Less concern over whether a judge knows a show well enough to be able to maneuver around the field as it is going on.
  • Less concern about liability in case of injury to an MM or a judge

Cons -

  • Limitation of visual creativity. I forget which director/designer was asked a question by Damp Otter (I believe it might've been SCV), but the question was regarding whether having the judges off the field has created any sort of challenges in designing the show. The director/designer replied saying that it has forced them to stage the battery differently so that judges are able to get a proper read. Read into those words how you wish.
  • Inconsistent or inaccurate percussion reads from corps to corps. Percussion judging is inherently different from brass judging. Percussion judging has both a visual and auditory aspect to it. As corps play harder and more complex drum books, the differences from corps to corps in content becomes smaller. It becomes all the more important to be able to pick up the subtle nuances in a book in order to properly assign ordinals, especially at the top. If one corps has their battery playing a very technical book but staged in the back hash while another corps is playing a marginally less technical book but is staged up front more often, what is the judge to do? There's been quite a bit of controversy from last night where BD got a 10.0 in achievement over SCV's 9.9. For every feature, BD's battery was staged way up front, SCV's was not. Could the results have been different had the judge been able to roam the field and follow both BD's and SCV's batteries more closely?
  • Some judges follow this new rule better than others. I mean, I have seen very few judges actually follow the 2 yards rule and some have pushed way past that parameter such as Prosperie last night. Is there any sort of discipline for judges who break the rule? If not, what is even the point of having the rule in place? Does the rule even do anything for member safety and audience distraction if corps are staging the guard and hornline beyond the sidelines now? 

I understand the concerns about member safety. I agree that the safety of the members is a priority. However, the field judges have been roaming the field for god knows how many decades now. Has there even been one reported collision in that time? If there was, what were the consequences of it? How big of a risk is it really for field judges to be on the field? Do members sign liability waivers when they get up and dance on 10 ft props during their shows? Could corps potentially have members sign liability waivers concerning any potential collisions with judges? 

And if the actual potential for a collision is as low as it seems to be, are the weak hearts and easily distracted minds of the audience worth potentially sacrificing the quality of education of the members during the course of the season? Can drum judges give comprehensive and accurate critiques of the battery if the battery spends most of the show between the front and back hash? Will corps start to strategically practice certain sections of the book more than the rest because it is staged closer to the percussion judge? Will we end up with cookie cutter drum visual designs from corps to corps where batteries are forced up to the front sideline?

 

Discuss, my friends. 

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i'm told 2/3 yards is a recomendation, but not a hard and fast rule. common sense and logic applies. Then again at several shows, guys trying to stick to the safe zone had to dodge members coming up front for visual moments or changing equipment. Jeff was hardly the boldest in going out past 2/3 yards this week.

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Just now, Jeff Ream said:

 Then again at several shows, guys trying to stick to the safe zone had to dodge members coming up front for visual moments or changing equipment. 

Then what exactly is the rule really doing? Appeasing people's sensibilities?

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I have no doubt that feedback regarding this change will be a hot topic among judges when they next convene, and I'm going to trust them to decide its fate over the opinions of us armchair judges.

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10 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

i'm told 2/3 yards is a recomendation, but not a hard and fast rule. common sense and logic applies. Then again at several shows, guys trying to stick to the safe zone had to dodge members coming up front for visual moments or changing equipment. Jeff was hardly the boldest in going out past 2/3 yards this week.

This is a mere safety zone for judges who don't have Prosperie's experience.  It wasn't meant to be hard and fast.  The hand-wringing about him "violating" his space is completely misplaced.  Prosperie is perfectly comfy judging around an entire field.  A newer judge (which DCI is dying for) can stay close to the sideline and not risk himself or the MMs.

I haven't read the whole thread, but I will start my $.02 with I found the programming to mostly bring the battery down front so the judge can see.  That is great for drum guys/gals like me but it also does, in fact, limit design creativity when it's required.

 

Edited by garfield
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Wasn’t it SCV amongst others who wanted this new rule?  Thought I heard that somewhere.  Kinda ironic if so. 

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26 minutes ago, Whiskey said:

Wasn’t it SCV amongst others who wanted this new rule?  Thought I heard that somewhere.  Kinda ironic if so. 

In what way ironic?  They won percussion for the 4th consecutive year.

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4 hours ago, Cappybara said:

Cons -

  • Limitation of visual creativity. I forget which director/designer was asked a question by Damp Otter (I believe it might've been SCV), but the question was regarding whether having the judges off the field has created any sort of challenges in designing the show. The director/designer replied saying that it has forced them to stage the battery differently so that judges are able to get a proper read. Read into those words how you wish.

Not sure about the SCV example, but I know the Cavaliers' Mike McIntosh talked about it in an interview with FloMarching at San Antonio.

 

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4 hours ago, Cappybara said:

Then what exactly is the rule really doing? Appeasing people's sensibilities?

Appeasing visual designers 

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2 hours ago, garfield said:

This is a mere safety zone for judges who don't have Prosperie's experience.  I wasn't meant to be hard and fast.  The hand-wringing about him "violating" his space is completely misplaced.  Prosperie is perfectly comfy judging around an entire field.  A newer judge (which DCI is dying for) can stay close to the sideline and not risk himself of the MMs.

I haven't read the whole thread, but I will start my $.02 with I found the programming to mostly bring the battery down front so the judge can see.  That is great for drum guys/gals like me but it also does, in fact, limit design creativity when it's required.

 

This rule came to light because of one chronic abuser of common sense and situational awareness 

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