|JUDGE POINTS: Side Events
There are two elements to Championship-level tournaments: the Main Event and Side Events. There is an obvious focus on the Main Event, be it Pro Tour or National Championship et al, but more players run through Side Events in the course of any weekend. It follows that more Judges are required.
There seems to be a Judge misconception that working Side Events is a punishment or less-desirable assignment. That's far from the truth. Sides are a necessary and lucrative element of any event. Here are a few reasons why you'll have a better weekend on Side Events than on the main floor.
RULES KNOWLEDGE: On the Main Event, most of the players know what they're doing. There may be a few rules questions, but the work is far more administrative (deck checks, posting pairings, collecting results entry slips) than technical. The skill level and rules knowledge of players in Side Events is far lower. Here is the real opportunity to stretch out both your Comprehensive Rules and DCI Policy Knowledge. What's better is that you're reinforcing what you already know by repeating it multiple times over the weekend. You get to help players as well as yourself. And trust me; there will be situations that come up in these events that you've never seen before.
EVENT FORMATS: Side Events consists of more than just 8-player booster drafts. There are also scheduled events, both Limited and constructed, and there is almost always a Pro Tour Qualifier. You can get experience running events that you may not have back at home.
Side events at Nationals presented many judging opportunities
OPPORTUNITY: For those of you in local areas where there's a higher-level Judge who gets all the Head Judging assignments, here's a chance to shine. Most Head Judge assignments for scheduled Side Events are yours for the asking (assuming you have the appropriate level). You'll also be under the supervision of a Level 3 or higher Judge, so you can earn those recommendations that you'll eventually need.
COLD, HARD, CASH: You get paid $1 per player that you Judge. That can pile up to several hundred dollars over the course of a long weekend. Add that to the gifts that all Judges receive, and it makes the weekend well worth it from a fiscal perspective.
Being scheduled to work Side Events is far from being banished to the great wasteland. It's an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate your skills while experiencing, learning, and earning more than you would while working the Main Event.