September 2012 District Direction

By Ken Monzingo
National Board Representative

“If the events of the last few years have taught me anything, its that Im going to feel like an idiot if I die tomorrow and I skimped on bath oil today.”
--Nora Ephron (1941-2012)

I’ve never used bath oil. As a young kid we splashed around in some sweet smelling bubbles, but not oil. Ladies like bath oil. One of our greatest screen writers, Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry met Sally), passed away a couple of months ago, but before she left us she penned an insightful letter about living, aging and dying. Nora’s bath oil metaphor in her writing seems to be her understanding of life, and her attempt to stress the urgency to not cheat yourself while habitating this planet.

I don’t know what this has to do with this column, except it moved me, and reminds me the importance of getting things done and doing them now -- including to give credit to those I admire.

ACBL Goodwill Committee

One of the many great advantages of producing this paper is that I get to express my views, and to honor those I think have been influential in our bridge life. As District Director I can name a few people each year to the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee -- a very prestigious society of those who’ve been above the curve improving life in bridge.

This year I choose four:                   

Warren Cederborg, Visalia. Warren epitomizes the person who cares for you. He cares for his own, he cares for yours. He cares for his neighbors and he never forgets to give credit. Warren has served on the district board for many years, and is currently in his second term as our president. Warren and Suzi Cederborg are constant players, both at home and at our tournaments.
Jon Wright, San Diego. This award is late in coming. Jon served eight years on the district board, and, like Warren Cederborg, served two terms as D22 President. Jon’s talents lie not only in his excellent bridge play, but as webmaster of the classy District 22 web site. Jon also maintains the San Diego Unit web site -- both contributions very much appreciated.
Fran Schwartz, Laguna Woods. Fran, a District 22 board member, is currently the tournament chairman of the very successful Orange County Regional which will be opening its doors at the Irvine Hyatt Hotel shortly after this paper arrives in your mailbox. Fran took over following the successful years of Jody Pedri and Hans Giroux, and has maintained the excellence of the tournament. Fran has announced this is her last year as chairman, and is turning the reins over to John Jonas. But her expertise will still be around for us on the board and the OC tournament.
John Kissinger, San Clemente. John, also a District 22 board member, has taken on the enormous responsibility of coordination of the district’s North American Pairs and Grand National Teams grass roots district events. Although the GNT has been in operation for forty years, the final decades have shown steep declining participation. Almost to extinction before John took over. His never-ending energy of the past couple of years, in spite of dealing with some painful back problems, has been a model of volunteerism and leadership.

These four people have my blessings, and it’s my pleasure to welcome them to join us on the national Goodwill Committee.

Philadelphia NABC

The Summer NABC in Philadelphia was a combination of a wonderful city mired in the current summer heat wave that engulfed most of the US (so nice to live in Southern California), plus a confusing time schedule. Confusing because, in an attempt to please all players, session starting times were divided into 10:00/3:00 early games and 1:00/7:30 afternoon/evening games. That was thoughtful, but put lots of pressure on normal NABC special events such as receptions, workshops, lectures, and meetings. An NABC is the circus coming to town. To schedule early games pleases the local sponsors, but diminishes participation in so many exciting national tournament offerings and events.

Board Meetings

The ACBL board meetings went pretty smooth as expected with one exception: Strength of Field (SOF), a suggested restructuring of our current masterpoint award system. This became an emotional issue between the northeastern/north central districts (for) and the western zone (against). After months of shadow testing the suggested new awards system against the current formula, our tournament directors reported negative results on SOF and the final board vote, although close at 11-14 with one abstention, was decisive: the motion failed. I voted against change.

The three Western Conference District Directors, Bagley 17, Blakely 21, and Monzingo 22, were successful in passing motions to eliminate overall awards to playing directors in STAC events, and also in establishing a Grass Roots Month (December) for the purpose of raising funds to support our Grand National Teams.

My ongoing mission to reduce the league’s costly financial commitment to a very small percentage of pros, clients, and experts who compete internationally is on hold.

But not lost. Don’t fret.

Peace, my friends.


Nora's farewell letter