Where did common sense go?

This past weekend, three of my adult players kidnapped me and forced me to coach them at a team tournament in Los Angeles.  It still gives me the creeps when I have to take players to an IJF rules tournament, which is something that I’ve only done twice in the last two plus years.

Seniors had to weigh in by 10:30am, but only started fighting around 2pm.  Our team had to wait around another two hours before they could fight.  This is normal procedure for these tournaments, so the administrators should know better.  Somebody please tell me why adults can’t simply show up around 1pm to register and weigh in.

The real reason for this post though concerns the scoreboards.  As you know, the IJF recently decided to switch the blue and white sides because the Japanese were not too happy that their players had to wear blue gis so often.  Mon dieu!  So now, top name wears white, and white lines up to the right of the referee.  Not a big deal you might say, but you would be wrong.

While the switch at the IJF level was easy enough because it has digital scoreboards that can be reconfigured by a change in coding, we have a problem at the local level.  Most scoreboards at the local level are fixed.  They can’t be easily or cheaply changed.  So for this team tournament, I encountered a problem I had not faced before.  White lined up to the right of the referee, but the right of the scoreboard is blue.  And on the other side, blue lines up on the white side of the scoreboard.   This resulted in many scores being put on the wrong side.  It’s truly confusing for the table workers and scorekeepers, most of whom are untrained volunteers.

When I inquired at the scoretable why blue was not lining up with blue, I was told that they wanted to be in compliance with the IJF directive.  Here we go again.  The IJF barks and everyone jumps regardless of the problems such barking creates at the local level.

Not happy with the reason I was given, I tracked down the international referee who was head referee for the tournament.  I suggested that we ignore the blue-white change since it created problems on the mat.  He was honest enough to say that even the referees were confused by the colors not aligning properly.  He promised to bring it up at the next meeting.

Common sense suggests that a meeting is not really needed.  Leadership is what’s needed.  Ignore the silly IJF directive and keep things simple at the local level.  Had the IJF thought about the ramifications of this change at the local level, it could have made the top player wear white, but line up to the left of the referee.  That wouldn’t have created the problem we now face at the local level where white lines up on the blue side.  Common sense, right?

2 thoughts on “Where did common sense go?

  1. Hi, what terrible tale and one that struck a nerve with me.
    The “white first” rule for me is a good improvement, with seeding of top 8 players, it means the top players in our sport wear white most of the time. So the traditional importance of our white suit is being catered for by international Judo.
    This is similar to the way all the medalist receive their medals in white suits.

    But, it is silly to worry about it at lower level events, especially at the expense of common sense. Table officials I appreciate are, by the nature of the role and the personality that makes a person perfect for the role, sticklers for doing what they are told. Sadly even when they mis-interpret the message as in your case.

    A little commonsense should have told them to “keep it simple” and to consider the athletes first and the “white first” rule second. I have felt your pain, table officials can find it hard to balance “how it’s done” and “how it SHOULD be done” and “how it needs to happen right now”.

    Great post, thanks for writing it. It spoke direct to personal experiences.


  2. After almost 50 years doing judo, it is my opinion, that common sense is not so common. You are right Gerry…no meeting was needed; leadership was. Let’s keep up the fight.

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