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District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

“If we don’t change our direction, we’ll likely end up where we’re going.”
–Chinese Proverb

Change is a process, not an event. That’s not an original, thought, a few others take credit for it, but it rings nice. Here in ACBL-land we don’t take to change very easily. For about eighty years the status quo has given us our own nice little game to virtually dominate our lives. Not bad, huh?
Few associations have the past we do; depending on how you define the early years, organized bridge has been enjoyed here for the better part of the century. To expect major change, now, with so much happiness in our history, is more than an event – it’s often an exercise in kicking and screaming.
Board Meeting

My final board meeting to chair as president is this month in Orlando, Florida. It has been an amazing tenure filled with unprecedented challenges due to the cheating scandals and the necessity of balancing the budget, plus planning strategic visions for the survival and growth of our ACBL.
When we make major league changes they usually set off ripples to waves in the river; changes such as masterpoint alteration, raises in annual dues, increases in sanction fees for clubs, sectionals, regionals and on our Western Conference STACs. On the board we’re currently considering governance changes regarding, amongst other things, size and composition of our board (now 25 District Directors – one from each ACBL district). The old guard (myself included) believes the historical success of  the board is worth keeping with constructive tweaks in size and performance. The new wave prefers a limited-up-to-total overhaul.
Two questions: What to overhaul? Why overhaul?
So here we are ... venturing into the unknown, tinkering with an association that’s been nothing less than amazing. This is a decision we really need to get right.
“The alternative is not between change or not to change, but between change for the better, or change for the worse.”
C. H. Douglas 1879-1862
ACBL Goodwill Committee

It’s great to have Warren back chairing our District 22 Goodwill Committee appointees – I have an additional national privilege of appointing recipients to the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee – a prestigious lifetime award. I’ve made three excellent choices to welcome to the club in 2017:
Suzie Cederborg, Visalia: Suzie lights up the room with her kind words and seriously nice personality. She makes the game she’s in a better place to be. Suzie and Warren have been invaluable to our district and she seems to always be there for us.
Ron Lien, Brea: Ron joined the District 22 Board asking for jobs, and, happily, we loaded him up. Ron has also served as treasurer, tournament chair and president of his unit. Ron is now the tournament chairman of the Orange County Regional.
Marc Matz, San Diego: Marc has become the jack-of-all-duties to San Diego and D22 bridge. He does a little of everything – directing club games, hosting hospitality at our regionals, and even served as my Hospitality Host at the NABCs.
Well done, and welcome, all.
Presidential Election

As my presidential year continues on its final lap, it’s time to reflect on the experience. It’s difficult to convey how grateful I am to the board of directors for allowing me this great honor, but I  am just as indebted to you, District 22, who allowed me an opportunity to serve us the last eight years on the national board. And who encouraged me to run for this great office. When bridge is your entire life and career, there is no higher honor than to be accepted, and even elevated, by your peers: your own district, my unit, and my friends.
This month we celebrate two great American honors: selecting a leader of our country, and celebrating a great Holiday: Thanksgiving week. This presidential race is sickening, but the ability of our country to respond and move on will surely overcome the negativity. Our association has faced some of the same with unfounded sniping at a league and its board; one elected by each district to govern us. Thanksgiving begins the season of goodwill, respect and family appreciation. I choose to go that direction as I close out this great experience.
I hope you’ll join me.

Peace, my friends.