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December 13, 2011

The Feeling of Giving Back to the Sport We Love: Tom Green on Archery Judging

Many archers will recognize Tom Green as the soft-spoken, salt-and-pepper haired gentleman with a moustache, glasses - and his ever-present red officials' shirt. We caught up with him during this season (just before World Archery Congress, at which he was appointed to their Field Archery Committee). 

1.)    Your formal title is "Chairman of the USA Archery Officials and Rules Committee." What exactly does that mean?

I oversee the USAA Officials Program along with the four Regional Representatives.  I also give interpretations of the rules to anyone who asks or needs help.

2.)     How did you become interested in judging in the first place?

I worked on the field at the 1983 World Championships and met some great World Archery Judges.  This convinced me to get involved in judging.

3.)     From judging tournaments to Chairman of the Officials and Rules Committee - how did that happen? What motivated you to take the position?

It happened over many years of hard work judging tournaments and learning everything I could from other more experienced Judges.  After a number of years, I became a National and then a World Archery International Judge.  USA Archery was looking for a Chairman for the O&RC, so I agreed to take on the job.

4.)     You're also a World Archery Judge. How is that different from being a U.S. Regional or National Judge?

Being a World Archery Judge gives me the opportunity to work at World Archery events such as the World Championships and the Olympic Games.  It also allows me to travel all over the world to tournaments and meet some wonderful people.

5.)     Tell us about judges and archers and how they interact. Is there anything that could change for the better?

Judges and archers most likely interact when there is a problem.  Both need to be more patient and try to find a solution together.  The Judges are there to ensure a fair competition for all competitors.  Their role is to be supportive of the competitors and not punitive.

6.)     In archery, ignorance of the rules is not considered an excuse for not following them. Tell us what you think every archer needs to know before shooting the upcoming National Indoor Championships.

Archery is the only sport I know of where the competitors do not have a copy of the rules with them.  They just seem to think that the Judge will tell them what to do.  All competitors need to go to the World Archery website and at least look at the rules before the event.(www.archery.org under "rules")

7.)     Coaches and spectators also play a big role in archery. Tell us what every coach and spectator should know about their participation at tournaments.

The Judges are there to help the spectators and coaches as well as the competitors. They should feel free to ask the Judges if they have any questions.  The Judge can either answer them or direct them to someone who can answer their questions.

8.)     Conflicts sometimes arise at tournaments. Some archers are terrified of asking a Judge for a call; others are quick to disagree with Judges. What's the right way to handle sticky situations? 

When conflicts do arise, which is seldom, go to the nearest Judge and explain the situation.  Most likely it can be resolved quite easily for everyone involved.  An arrow call is something a Judge is happy to do when there is a disagreement at the target.

9.)  If we make a pitch here for applicants to the Judge program, people will ask about the work and the benefits. Tell us what's involved and why you love it.

The work of a Judge entails, in most cases, long days, little thanks and a sincere desire to do good for the sport of archery.  Most of the Judges we have were archers first and then became Judges later in life.  It is the feeling of giving back something to the sport we love and the great friends we make over the years. 

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