Good point, Kevin...
Great post, Phil, and a great topic. Here's my spin as a novice competitor and non-judge... If I attended a competition as a judge, and spent time with a friend's team, and someone called me out about it, I would be ticked, but its something that I would have to deal with. If I did the same thing, and someone called out my friend, I would feel terrible since I had caused trouble for my friend.
Now here's where it gets fuzzy... What is considered to be excessive. If I come by and have a couple of beers and hang out for a while, even though it is with a friend, is that really any different that any judge who walks the competition on a Friday night, talking to the competitors and grabbing some free beer? Probably not. But, if someone notices that I am spending all of my time with one or two teams, that could be contrued as favoritism. However, if I hang out with my friends, and then "spread the love" and hang out with other teams, even if its for a few minutes, it less likely that someone will object.
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