Last Saturday, Jen and I had the opportunity to coach USC's Reverse Osmosis again. We've done that once before and really enjoyed the experience, so we were thrilled when they invited us back. As it turns out, this is a somewhat critical time for them (they're competing in the ICCA semifinals this upcoming weekend), and I guess they figured it was a good time to bring in the coaches.
(Side note - if you're deciding when to bring coaches in for your competing group, my recommendation would be a bit farther from the competition, so you have time to incorporate the things they tell you into your muscle memory before you hit the stage)
So anyway, Jen had to make a decision before she coached RO. She was given the option to be one of the judges in the competition, and didn't want to have a conflict of interest going in. (I judged at the quarterfinals, but wasn't planning to this time) It's usually not a great idea to coach a group and judge them within a week of each other. She agonized over the decision for quite some time, and finally decided to pass on the judging - they had more people to judge, and the coaching is a very rewarding experience. Besides, it's not like she wouldn't get to see the show by not judging - we've been planning to go to Northern CA for this for months anyway.
So we coach the group on Saturday, and as expected, it's a great experience. They've moved several levels up from the last time we coached them, and it was very rewarding to see how willing to try new things they were, as well as how quickly they incorporated them.
Sunday rolls around, and Julia, the woman in charge of the West Coast ICCA, gives us a frantic call. Two of her judges bailed on her last minute, and she needs to fill the slots -- would we be willing to fill in? We tell her that we'd be happy to, except that there's these two possible conflicts of interest, in the forms of just having coached RO, and of being engaged to each other. She tells us that the coaching won't be an issue in this particular case (and in case any of the group is reading, I'll leave the reason out of this post for now), and she'll trust us to judge independently (which we would have at the quarterfinals had they told us it was a COI), and could we please do it?
So we're getting into both rounds for free (which is nice), and judging one of 'em. (They've got a semi-quarterfinal-ish round in the afternoon this time, followed by the actual semifinals in the evening.) There's also a good chance that RO will be calling my cell phone and meeting with us for dinner or something between the shows for some final comments before they hit the stage (assuming they make it past the round we're judging and into the semifinals).
This whole thing is just plain odd.... but cool!