March 2017 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative


The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.
–Mother Teresa (1910-1997)

Loss. As a senior organization we have each experienced so much recent loss: loss of family, loss of friends, along with heartbreaks of the past. In our game world, we also suffer from loss of partners, or even loss of a special bridge club or game.
With fond memories, and without dredging up hurt, I’ll share some recent losses in our community. First off, it’s still heavy on my mind ... the devastating effect of losing my long-time friend and colleague Teri Atkinson. Teri and I had much in common: both originally from Oklahoma, both on the District 22 Board of Directors, the same faith, and co-chairmen of a regional tournament. Also, there’s lingering sadness of recent losses of other close friends we can’t replace: Chris Larsen, Pat Elms, and Lowell Andrews ... each leaving major voids in our D22 life. Each contributing so much to our world.
As publisher of the Forum I am privy to proofing the submitted reports of all 25 D22 units. Memoriams of the loved ones of each are touching to read, just as the loss of my friends.
Peter Rank

Then, in early March, the oh-so-painful and sudden loss of Peter Rank, Palm Springs. Peter was one of the true icons of bridge as a player, producer, attorney, and as a person. A man of so many talents. Peter was preparing his final musical masterpiece for our pleasure at the Fall NABC in San Diego. It was to be his biggest, his best, and his swan song, but he got cheated out of time to complete it. I was honored to co-chair (with Robert Hartman) a Celebration of Life for Peter while in Kansas City’s Spring NABC. It was a great experience of sharing pleasant memories of a great man I enjoyed immensely.
Losses in Horn Lake

The league will suffer another tremendous loss due to the resignment of our ACBL CEO Robert Hartman, who is stepping aside effective following the Summer NABC in Toronto. In the five-and-a-half years he served as our leader Robert made tremendous strides in representing us as a  classy manager and fearless leader. The man was almost too good to be true, leaving us with a face of professionalism and elevating the specter of our game. It’ll be much like losing a close relative – you wish him well in his new venture, but fear the future without his strength and guidance.
A CEO search committee is in force, and if you feel you have the credentials to manage our 166,000+ member association – administration, finance, board relations, public relations and a commitment to relocate in Horn Lake, Mississippi – applications are being accepted. Email along with a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements. 
Up to Date in Kansas City               

Two very good things happened in Kansas City at the Spring NABC: (1.) Nancy Erickson was formally honored as the ACBL Volunteer of the Year – a well-deserved reward for all she does, and (2.) a major hurdle of mine – reducing the amount of ACBL money spent on International Bridge memberships – was finally achieved. As least a first step, followed by a wonderful meeting of the minds with a group of our best players: Jeff Meckstroth, Eric Rodwell, Bobby Levin, Steve Weinstein (this year’s Vanderbilt winners), Chip Martel, Marty Fleisher, Kevin Bathurst, Brad Moss (all previous national teams winners), and other professionals and experts meeting with  some ACBL board members including our World Bridge Federation reps and United States Bridge Federation officials.
The intense discussion, initiated by President Bob Heller and held in the president’s suite, was an enlightening sharing of the present international problems, and a cooperative planning for a better future of world bridge play and pay.

Peace, my friends.