Earlier today, I traveled to Springfield, Missouri to judge at the Missouri Winter Games Gymnastics Competition. Its a fairly large meet, the biggest meet in this area. Its been going on since Friday morning. This meet is special in that it includes both men's and women's competition. The men's portion of the meet has been happening continually for close to 30 years.
I was judging on the women's side of the meet. It has been a long time since I've held certification for judging men's gymnastics! I have been a gymnastics judge for 20 years. It has been a very enjoyable pastime.
At the start of my judging career, I traveled mostly within the state of Missouri. I got to know the judges in our state and have formed may lasting friendships. As my experience and rating increased, so did the distance away from home that I'd go to judge. During this time I extended my judging radius to include Kansas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. At the height of my tenure as a judge, I went as far as Florida to judge at the National Judges Cup. I've even spent some time at college meets.
In the past few years I've cut back on the time I spend judging. If I wanted, I could judge every weekend from late October to mid-April. I still get offers, but have decided that that I'd rather be with y family. When my children were younger, we used my income from judging to pay for the activities our children were involved in. Eli did sport karate, diving, and acting whereas Caleb did gymnastics, cross country, and cheerleading, all sports requiring a monetary commitment at the higher levels. Now that my children are grown, I don't feel the need to judge as much.
Now I am able to judge for fun; I accept offers to judge at meets run by friends and go as much for the social aspect as the gymnastics.