May 2014 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

“In charity there is no excess.”
–Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

The Summer Solstice

I spent two U.S. Army years in Alaska in the very late ‘50s. Entering the 1960s, Yukon life outside Anchorage was still raw and primitive ... beautiful, but not built for comfort. One semi-touch with down home reality we enjoyed was an annual midnight softball game on June 21, the longest day of the year – the summer solstice.* In Alaska, the frigid northern tip of our continent, the days and nights are very short or very long, depending on the season. In the deep winter we had scarcely five hours of daylight, but on June 21 the sun barely dipped below the horizon at 11:42 p.m., reappearing at 4:20 a.m. Darkness did not happen on that day; hence, the traditional Alaskan midnight ball game played without lights.

The longest day of the year (not to be confused with 1962’s “The Longest Day” WW II movie), is June 21 or June 22, and is often an excuse for “summer solstice” fiestas ... many well celebrated here in the northern hemisphere. Locally, Santa Barbara features the largest summer solstice parade in North America.

Other than enjoying Alaskan summers, and that John Wayne-led Normandy invasion film, I never gave June 21 much thought until last year when ACBL joined hands with the Alzehimer’s Association to assist in The Longest Day major ALZ fund raiser. A no-brainer marriage made in heaven with amazing results.

ACBL and The Longest Day

Accepting the fact that we are a very senior association with a membership average age on the dark side of 71 in D22, we, as much as anyone, are well aware of the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease. ACBL – and our families – are targets of this most common form of dementia, the majority of those affected being 65 and older. It’s time for us to take a serious stand; hence, The Longest Day/ACBL joint venture.

It caught on fast. Our bridge clubs throughout the country began scheduling June 21 activities – often with bridge from dawn-till-dusk – eagerly raising money to aid in Alzheimer’s research.

Hooray! In 2013 CEO Robert Hartman’s Longest Day goal was set at raising $300,000; however, the final ACBL haul was $575,000 in a stunning turnout of bridge players league-wide. This year Robert has raised the bar to a lofty goal of $750,000! Wow! Take a bow.

Clubs, Games, Teams – Getting Started

Clubs can run as many June 21 games as they choose ... extra games, extra masterpoints, extra opportunities to aid. Like last year, teams (people) are forming all over our district, as well as the other 24 districts, to plan unique Longest Day activities. Be creative: with 14 hours of SoCal daylight, offer as many games as you can. Have a pot luck, auction off a pro or two, start sessions at seven in the morning and run games till midnight. Use your imagination.

At press time almost 100 teams have signed up to do whatever is necessary to promote this great cause. Go for it – it’s us.
For more information email, or visit ACBL’s website to sign up your games.

Another Fund Raiser

The next North American Bridge Championships in District 22 is the 2017 San Diego Fall NABC over Thanksgiving week in late November of that year – at the same Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel on San Diego Bay that we enjoyed last time. One of the advance opportunities to raise hospitality funds for our players during this upcoming national (remember the great food functions/gifts we had in 2009?) is to host a district-wide week of NABC fund raising.  National Business
he Spring National Board of Directors meetings in Dallas were rather docile compared to some of the emotional motions we’ve discussed, debated and voted on in the past. But not without a few fireworks and innovations of course. Progress or passage was made on almost all issues and motions I was in favor of; none of us can win them all, but that’s what makes the league work well. For our future, I believe we are in the best hands – both board and management – since I came on-board almost six years ago.

As for the tournament itself, special congratulations to two pairs of ladies competing in the national Women’s Pairs. Kitty Cooper, Lakeside, and Lynne Feldman, San Diego, finished a terrific 3rd in the event, followed closely (4th) by Maritha Pottenger of San Diego playing with Prudence Saunders, Palo Alto – a late replacement for Lesley Davis who had to return early. Kitty Cooper also finished 6th in the Rockwell Mixed Pairs, playing with husband Steven.

If you want to review any/all the Dallas issues we took on, and how I voted, the minutes of that meeting – and many past meetings – are available on my website at

Peace, my friends.

*The summer solstice [Latin: sol (sun) and sistere (stand still)] occurs when the tilt of our planet’s semi-axis, in either the northern or the southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the sun. This happens as the sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole. It’s our first day of summer.