January 2013 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993)

Christmas. New Year. Peace.
I wait all year to enjoy the mesmerizing yuletide music I hear today, to feel the chill, and revel in the love we give and receive in this final corner of the calendar. Why can’t everyday be just like Christmas? Well, then Christmas would not be special. Enjoy the moment, I wish you peace and happiness in abundance.

Now we follow the path of life into a new number, Avenue 2013. Sounds funny. What will it be like in our bridge community? Hopefully better, not just more of same. The optimism we once felt to lose those unwanted pounds, redo the kitchen, write that story, and mend those fences seems a world of the past. We are bridge players, devoted to the cause. It took many of us 40-50 years to get here, and let’s just look forward to doing it better.

My 2013 pledge: I will continue to work hard for a more open and honest ACBL. One dedicated to you, our players in the clubs, our unit games, the GW STACs and our beloved District 22.

Fall NABC Elections

The November elections in San Francisco created quite a stir inside me, and my friends on the board. Not one vote went the way I expected, and some were downright dumbfounding. The ACBL presidency was a foregone conclusion: that Bill Cook of Mississippi would succeed popular Sharon Anderson of Minnesota. Among the 25 board members, most odds laid were for a 16-9 or 17-8 walk in the park for Cook. But when the final count was announced at 13-12 for Don Mamula of Seattle, one board member gasped, “I don’t believe what I just heard!”

The next vote was for chairman of the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee. Bonnie Bagley of Colorado Springs had been Aileen’s right arm woman and Aileen’s personal choice to succeed her. Upon Aileen’s untimely death three years ago, instead of promoting Bonnie to the position, Rose Meltzer was imported as Bonnie’s opponents were saying such silly things as “conflict of interest” for a board member to chair the one hour reception ... although four or five of them sit on the World Bridge Federation board which allows free trips all over the world to attend WBF board functions (some with extra per diem of up to 1000 euros). This time around, realizing Rose was not the answer, Bonnie should have again been a slam dunk to take over. But at the late hour the opponents again brought in a candidate to oppose her, still citing a “conflict of interest.”

The new candidate is the wife of a long time board member. Bonnie lost by a vote of 12-13. “I don’t believe what I just heard.”
Later in the week the Board of Governors held their election for a new chairman. BOG leaders have term limits of no more than two, 2-year terms. Three candidates filed including Ellen Kent of District 23, the current vice chair. The odds-on favorite here was Chris Compton of Dallas, although I thought Ellen was a distinct possibility to move up, which often happens in elections. A distant third was Dick Anderson of Canada, a former league president. In very close voting Ellen was a first ballot casualty. Chris was expected to run away with the second vote against Dick, however, the final vote was announced as 54-53 for Dick Anderson.

Were you keeping score? Each of these elections was a one-vote victory for an underdog. Amazing.

Board Motions

We passed a couple of fun motions, and have chances for two more. Beginning with the Spring NABC in St. Louis, the league will offer a 10K Swiss Teams, a national event limited to players with 10,000 or fewer masterpoints. This event will pay ten percent platinum points (overall only) with a maximum platinum award of ten points. Ninety-nine percent of our members are under 10,000 points, so this has potential of being a very popular new challenge. I’m advocating more such events, as we also requested 10K games for two other annual NABCs (a 10K Vanderbilt and a 10K Fast Pairs). These were deferred, but not defeated. Some more good news:
1. Grass Roots Fund Games moved from December to January.
2. Mentor-Mentee games will now be open games at 100% MPs.

The View from Table Five

My ongoing quest that the board strive more for the betterment of the masses – and not so much for the very few professionals and sponsors – remains. In 2013 I will again petition the board to consider why we annually pay $144,000 from the general fund for a WBF “membership” few, if any, of us asked for, in addition to $220,000 in International Fund Game donations to USBF, plus awarding the WBF $100,000 just to hold occasional games here. The league’s International Program benefits  much less than 1% of our total membership. What about the other 99%? Why not do something real nice for us? It’s Christmas.
But for now, let’s just enjoy the season. Set your New Year goals for being a better partner, a better friend, and on enjoying life on Avenue 2013 – wherever it leads.
Peace, my friends.