Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Behind the Comp - Marshall

This is the second installment in a series SurfWatch is presenting to highlight the different official positions at an SL surfing competition. SurfWatch hopes this information will show other surfers what's involved and picque their interest in becoming an official and also highlight the complexities of the functions. Special guest contributor, Mick Lunasea, writes on the position of Marshall.

After counting back, I was shocked to discover I have marshalled 6 Second Life Surfing Association (SLSA) competitions starting with Season 1, 2008, at the Costa Rica event. It's all a blur. I attended the marshall/judges training session Sally LaSalle and Tauri Tigerpaw held at Chi. It was a fast paced event covering a lot of ground. I missed the second part of the judging session trying to absorb Tauri's wisdom. She made it seem soo easy. I found it a bit more challenging.

Marshall keeps track of a bunch of stuff. Greeting competitors, random board script check, making sure all riders are present in proper color and order in line up. Then to the bouy. The marshall has an open note card with a heat list; as each rider takes a wave, rides are checked off inserting a 1 after their name then the note card is saved (if we crash, I have record of who rode). Notecards are updated for riders switching colors, adding and removing names, etc. Marshall must make sure proper heat list is in use. Small map must be open to track rider's progress. When you see a rider peal off and begin paddling back, then you can prepare to send next rider after already giving the "get ready" warning. Marshall must monitor local chat, judges/directors conference chat, plus IM chat from riders as Marshall is the
laison between surfer and judges. Marshall monitors judges' camera locking on riders so judges can follow the riders in wave.

With lag spikes, judges, riders and marshall crashes, it does get interesting. I was panic struck at first thinking I needed 5 sets of eyes plus the typing skill of a pro secretary to do this. Getting too creative in my verbage, I found, was confusing. Competitors must feel comfortable by the marshall using standard rhythmic commands. I love to joke and play and sometimes will if there's not 10 other things to deal with. By the way, I love my toes tickled but my mind begins to wander, mmm (smiles). Tauri, Cloudy Matova, and some others are marshall pros. I get butterflies everytime I do it. All SLSA members should take a shot at it. At the end of the event, watching those top 3 on the podium, there's a sense of satisfaction. Without the marshalls help, they wouldn't be standing there. My hats off to the judges especially the head judge.  They work their asses off!


Colleen Brennan said...

My hat is also off to the marsalls Mick. We have been blessed to have such consistently good ones too. It is one of those jobs that when it is done great few will notice but one sip up and everyone feeks the pain. So to you marshalls and the guys who keep my nearby nuclear reactor from melting down you all have my sincerest appreciation for your efforts. thank you

Nicole said...

Great article Mick , thanks for the tag :) But i'm pretty sure everyone would agree your up there with the Pro's for sure. You always work your arse off out there.

Kantbe Thursday said...

My hat's off to all the Marshalls (If I wore a hat). I can't tell you how Cloudy helped me try to remain calm the few times I have managed to be in a comp.

I can also tell you that a noob Marshall can really mess up a surfer. I soooooooo nearly botched a ride of Gia's by barely giving her a wave with time to get on it.

These Marshall dudes have a lot to juggle, and are sometimes an under appreciated part of what makes our comps run well. They're the oil in those squeeky wheels.