Okay, you volunteered to be a judge in a writing contest. Then your child is placed in the hospital, you broke your big toe (ouch!), and someone stole your car. Do you still judge? Most likely NOT!
You're wondering why not? Your mind will be on many things, but judging an entry isn't one of them. You feel obligated and you've always followed through on what you promised. But what do you do? You answer the questions in one to three words and it comes across as rude and uncaring. But, heh! you're not letting the coordinator down.
Oh, yes, you are. I promise. I don't know a coordinator out there who wouldn't prefer you email her and say, "I'm so sorry but I had a lot to go wrong and need to pass on judging."
I've had a couple judges tell me that and I always say, "Don't worry. You just take care of yourself/daughter/son/husband/mother/dog and we'll find a judge." And I mean it. I rather a judge tell me "Sorry, no can do," the day before deadline (though I prefer as soon as they receive the entries), than answer the score sheet with resentment or their mind on other things.
So next time you judge a contest, believe me when I say you don't have to do it. We coordinators don't keep a "red" list of bad judges (kind of wish we did, but that would be another can of worms) and you can change your mind.