GP London 2018

GP London 2018

It had never occurred to me why GP scorekeepers always appear to have a slight edge to their demeanour until I was asked to step into their shoes as an emergency replacement and spend two of my three days at the GP enhancing my relationship with Wizards’ Event Reporter (WER).

Grand Prix London was my first event of 2018 and the first event under the brand new CFBE exclusivity contract for delivering these shows. It was also a home GP for me so a chance to travel with non-Judge friends and an opportunity to socialise with a lot of judges that I tend to only see at conferences and these events. As such, applying to work at London had been a difficult choice and I almost missed the deadline due to my deliberations. In the end, though, I applied and was initially selected for a couple of days of operations staff (as I often am these days) with some time allotted to shadow the registration lead as I would be carrying out this role at GP Lyon in February.

Two days before the GP was due to start I received an email asking if I was willing to be moved from operations staff to a dual scorekeeping/registration lead role. To say this was a surprise would be a massive understatement. Would I be willing to move from a role I was comfortable in and where I would be easing into a management position over time to my first ever GP scorekeeping job and my first ever operations lead role…with two day’s notice? Well, sure.

After a day of frantic emailing to the scorekeeping lead and my wonder RC and mentor about what kit I needed and what prep work needed to be done I set off to London with the usual intra-UK event crowd from South Wales and Bristol. The Airbnb we had booked was a trek from the Google-advised tube stop but turned out to be well worth the walk. Nicely kitted out with a fancy home cinema system and a double room each for the five of us it was also only a fifteen minute DLR ride from the ExCeL where the GP was being held.

Friday was a bit of a blur as it started off with a DLR delay and a £20 Uber to the venue and then the frantic setting up of printers and equipment to kick off my first ever day as a bona fide GP scorekeeper, working primarily on scheduled events but also looking after some trials as they came up. My first experience was forgetting to change the starting table number of a medium sized event and having to ask Jack nicely to fix it for me. After that, events flowed quickly but steadily and in short order my day was done. No major cock-ups after the first and tons of new tips and tricks learned. The biggest lesson of the day: running WER in a Windows VM on a Mac can present some interesting challenges.

Saturday was my registration lead debut and it was a big moment for me as it’s a job CFBE have offered me on a more regular basis for 2018 so there was a lot of pressure on me to succeed. Luckily, I had a fantastic team and barring a couple of communication break-downs the say went really well. My favourite part of the job is working with the team, Registration creates a very tight end very quickly between the staff as it is one of the more cutthroat roles. Providing the best customer service whilst being fast and effective is not easy and creates some real opportunities for teamwork. I really enjoyed my day and am now really excited about Lyon.

Sunday was my second day of scorekeeping and was much less stressful than Friday. I was doing scheduled events all day and none of them really generated anything exciting. The only tense moment came when I was covering an event on some one else’s laptop and after entering the round’s results and printing off pairings the head judge came to me and asked why half the field had drawn their first round. This obviously made no sense and I went to check the results and noticed that every match slip for 1-2 or 0-2 was entered as a draw. It then dawned on me that this version of WER had a different hotkey set up to how I do mine! The issue was quickly resolved from there and I made sure to use the different hotkeys for the rest of the event.

Following my shift, I spent the next hour or so before the judge party catching up with a bunch of people from the UKISA Discord server and then heading over the buffet and bar that CFBE lay on after most GPs.

I learned a lot during this GP and it has ignited a love of scorekeeping that I knew was smouldering deep down. Oh, and the reason scorekeepers can be grumpy…? Try reading the twentieth illegible registration slip in a row and maintain your cool.

See you in Lyon!

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