What does it take to judge a mocktail contest? Simple, don't participate in the competition and call yourself a foodie and you are the judge of a mocktail contest :)
So, I had the honor of being one of the judges in a mocktail contest in my office. It is a great responsibility (not the mocktail contest thingy, but being a judge in general). You judge a group (of people). No, you're supposed to judge the product i.e. the mocktail prepared. But how easy is it, to be misled by your own impressions of the people in the group? I'd say its an Herculean task. You may tell yourself you are being fair, but it is the subconscious that is making all the decisions for you (subconsciously :) )
Anyway, getting back to my experience as a judge. It was a new experience. Not judging, you see we are judging people every moment. So that part was not new. What was new was the experience of interacting with people I don't usually interact with so often on office. Some judges judge, keeping really great mocktails as a base. Some judge purely on the taste, color, presentation,creativity of the currently prepared mocktail. What is debatable here of course is whether keeping a very high standard as your base comparison is valid.
The easy part was judging. What is difficult is, answering the participant's questions later :)
We were put through umpteen drinks, so many colors, so many tastes, so many different presentations. I don't think you could expect someone to remember exactly what team x's plus points were. I agree, all the participants had made efforts, but efforts don't always pay off right? It is a part of human nature, I agree. If I were a participant and a judge of the competition is someone I know, I would be sure to question him/her as to why we lost. Part of the game :) So you see, all humans need someone to place the blame on.
You ask me, how did you like drink x. I say, I didn't think it was any different from drink y. You retaliate saying "WHAT! If you don't know the difference between these two are, how can you judge?" Blame 1. I'd say "You think you mixed ingredient 1 and ingredient 2, but what you don't know is that the proportion of ingredient 1 was way too much and hence ingredient 2 was invisible" Blame 2. You retaliate again saying something which places the blame on me. I reply again. And the blame game continues.
I don't regret the experience a bit :) What I regret is, being a human. Being a human, even I am part of the blame game syndrome. How I wish, we were mature enough/sporting enough to accept whatever results we get :) A wish, that is way too ambitious for a worldly human being :)