Recently as I’ve gone about judging dairy cattle throughout New England, I was reminded of the well-know tenet, “You can’t please everyone.”
Judging mostly youth shows that includes both fitting & showmanship and type classes, I’ll admit I’ve gotten used to getting positive feedback. Taking a step back, I can’t think of much someone would complain about when I judge besides just disagreeing with my opinion. I go by the official PDCA scorecards – both Fitting & Showmanship and the Dairy Cow Unified Scorecard and I know what I’m doing. This is my eighth year judging at shows and I also teach and coach a 4-H team.
I like helping the kids and talk with each one before I give my official reasons on the mic, trying to help them understand my reasoning for placing them as I did. I know I always appreciated that and I think most of the kids now do too.
I will admit, I was surprised when word got back to me that someone was not happy with something about my judging one particular day. Yet, no one had asked me why I had made a particular decision or other. Further, my class placings had been consistent with other judges. So I chalk it up to a difference of opinion – one that could be a rather biased opinion if it is a parent. Having spent several years refereeing girls’ high school basketball, I am no stranger to biased parents either.
So, does it really matter that someone did not think I did a good job? Probably not but it was a good reminder of that tenet because it can be applied elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong – that doesn’t mean we can slack off. Even though not everyone is always happy with decisions that are made, we still need to proceed with the best intentions to please as many as we can.
This past weekend I had a great time judging two more fairs. Some good questions came up about a decision or two that sparked good discussion. Cattle judges don’t claim to know everything or at least this judge does not. But I do know what I know and make my decisions accordingly. As in basketball officiating, you can argue a rule but you can’t argue a judgement call.