Judges... You know, those people who sit in front of your team, and critique every single aspect of your routine. They’re usually able to keep a super straight face, like a robot. Seriously, their lack of emotions is rather impressive. Those people who you either love or hate at the end of the day after you get your score sheets, and hear your place for your division. Let’s address them really quick.

To every profession, there is good and there is bad. It happens. To the ones who judge fairly, don’t play favorites, and give feedback that you can actually use to modify your routine; the ones who slightly smirk, and if you blink, you miss it; to those of you who are professional, and are completely unbiased to a team, we salute you. Thank you for all that you do, and know that we all appreciate you. With that being said, you can just click the back button, and not read any further.

To the other half of you… you know who you are.

Before you get into it and scold me from behind the screen, or decide to write some angry comment about “who does she think she is”, I already know what you are going to say. “You don’t know what it takes to be a judge. Are you even a judge? You don’t get how it feels to be hated no matter what you do.” Am I on the right path? I thought so, moving along. I do know what it takes. I know you don’t just wake up one day, and decide, “hey, I think I want to judge cheerleading competitions.” There are classes you have to take, a certification you must obtain, and you have to know every rule for every level and every different division there is. What the differences are between high school, all star, traditional, rec, and so on and so forth. After those classes are complete, I do believe most places make you judge a competition, and then compare your results to a judge who has more time under their belt. It’s not easy, and I understand that. I am not saying it is–however, you CHOSE to do this. No, I am not a judge. Why? I am fueled by emotions. And, my face, well, it kind of says everything I am thinking at every given moment. I wouldn’t make a good judge because you would see me smiling, or bouncing around in my seat, or a face that just needs some deliverance. Yes, unfortunately I know what it feels like to be hated no matter what I do. Take this article: half of the people will love me, the other half are going to hate me. Comes with the territory, and I respect that, and expect it.

Score sheets.
How are you going to give us a below average score, and simply write the vaguest comment, or worse, nothing at all? Can we get a little bit of feedback, please? What do you want to see more of? What didn’t make sense? We aren’t asking you to point out the individual who’s timing was off; we just want a little help. After all, everything that we do, we do in the hopes that YOU like it. Is our end dance boring? Tell us. We may mutter some “oh my God’s” under our breath, but in the end, we will thank you for it–no matter how much it may sting.

Wrong scoring. 
I am no stranger to this, and coaches pay attention to this one as well. Yes, a judge is only human, and we all make mistakes. To err is to be human. Some coaches may come up to you to dispute a score, and give you straight attitude. Coaches please stop doing that. I guess, out of habit, some judges are quick to give an attitude in anticipation of being on the receiving end of ignorance. If I come up to you pleasantly, with my phone and video in my hand, please just give me the same respect that I am giving you. Just correct it if I am right, and explain to me if I am not. Also, make sure to fix the master scores, or double-check them before awards. It is not fun being labeled second place on the mat, and then 24 hours later, seeing on the master scores we were actually first. Emailing you to tell you to fix it is not my job. Receiving a first place trophy a month later, and no public acknowledgment can cause heartbreak to the cheerleaders who missed out on that well-earned celebration.

The biggest one–STOP PLAYING FAVORITES. Oh, you used to coach or cheer for that team that happens to be who we are going against? Awesome, good for you. You live in the same town that a team is from, so you feel you have to be loyal to them? Use that lack of emotions to score us appropriately. Act as if you are from another continent, and you have never seen or heard of the teams that you are judging. I know, denial… “I would never do that, I always judge fairly.” Right. I also don’t secretly have a favorite team, or favorite cheerleader(s) either. This is why most of us don’t judge. Your old team hates us, so out of loyalty, you know from seeing our name that there’s no way you can let us win. If you can’t put your past to the side and compare each team equally, please just do us all a favor, and resign now. You shouldn’t have loyalty to anything other than the sport. It’s not fair to the teams going against your old team, or your favorite team. It’s also not fair to the team you happen to be playing favorites towards. Imagine if they went to a different state where the judges have never heard of them. How mysterious would it be if they are used to always beating a team and scoring close to perfect, and all of a sudden, they place last. They may be your favorite, but I assure you, if that were to happen to them, their feelings for you would not be mutual.

If you happened to get upset by this article, just realize that this is how you make us feel every single time we see your face when we get to a competition.

How do you feel about competition judges? Are you a judge? Let us know your opinion in the comments!