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[APD] Re: comment about the AGA Aquascaping contest

Hi Shireen,

This year's contest was indeed hard to judge, as I should know being one of the judges involved. The entrants should all be very proud of their tanks since they took a chance to put something they've worked lovingly on out for critique. Being one of the "expert" judges (yeah right), I had a very hard time this year deciding on whose tank was the best of the best. There were numerous tanks I thought that deserved ribbons, but different tastes in styles and tanks prevented that from happening. You have to remember, the judging is very subjective and each person has their own preference when it comes to style.

Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 18:34:06 -0500
From: Shireen Gonzaga <whimbrel at comcast_net>
Subject: [APD] comment about the AGA Aquascaping contest
To: aquatic-plants at actwin_com

I just finished viewing the 2003 entries, and was
absolutely floored. It was incredible. All the
entrants should be very proud of themselves, every
single one of them.

It takes a pretty thick skin to enter a tank in this
contest. I saw several stunning tanks that didn't
even get an honorable mention, at the least! I felt
really bad for those folks.

Please don't feel that way. As a judge, even the tank that wasn't a "winner" was still a winning tank in my book. These people made the effort to put something together and enter it in the contest. I think they'll learn from the experience and that's what will make them a better aquascaper. With each new idea, you improve the existing tank some more. That's how you grow in this area. I'd love to see you enter a tank next year. I haven't entered one in the contest yet, but have done so in some others. I do plan on putting one in next year's contest. I hope to get the same constructive criticism as I was asked to do for this year's contest.

All these tanks, actually I would prefer to call them
works of aquatic plant art, are a labor of love,
dedication, and great effort. If I were in their shoes,
I'd feel pretty hurt that my "kid" didn't get a ribbon.
Perhaps I'm being too sensitive ... I guess that means
I'll never have the stomach to enter this contest.

I agree about the competition, but I think that's what give people the added incentive to enter a tank and improve from year to year. My comments and the other judges comments were meant as a way to give suggestions and praise that otherwise would go unnoticed. It's a thankless job and one that I've been second guessed on already. If I had a choice, every tank would receive a prize, but that's not how the competition went. Needless to say, this is the last time I do this again.

It's too bad society places such a premium on
competition. Personally, I would have enjoyed those
images so much more without having to see them through
the filter of the judges' comments and ratings.

my 2cents,

Bailin Shaw Executive Board Member DFW Aquatic Plant Club www.aquatic-plants.org

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