FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK
Bridge players, we have lost a mainstay in the American Bridge Association with the passing of Chester Johnson. Chester was our #1 player, the first to reach 50,000 points and he was a gentleman of the game. Chester was a skilled and dynamic player who would work with new players and play with anyone desiring to improve themselves in the game. He was an ambassador for the ABA as he displayed his same demeanor and love for the game as a member of the American Contract Bridge League. Chester will be sorely missed as a mentor, player and brother to many of us who loved him dearly. Let us all offer a silent prayer to a masterful bridge player, gentle ambassador and loyal member of the American Bridge Association. Rest in Peace my brother, join the ranks of our Final Grand Slammers and continue to play well knowing that your work here is done. You have left a legacy by your actions for those of us who care to follow. Your work to perpetuate the longevity of the American Bridge Association will be continued.
As we move forward with this administration I cannot over emphasize the need for the three R’s of membership; RECRUIT, RECLAIM AND RETAIN. Our numbers continue to fall well below what we would like and what is needed to effectively keep the American Bridge Association alive. It doesn’t matter what programs or incentives we offer from the National Office, if you don’t aggressively entertain them in your local areas they aren’t going to work. You know those players in your areas who have not rejoined. WHY?? We need your help to reach out to them and find out the why and encourage them to reunite. I am willing to listen to their reasons and any recommendations they may have to rectify the problem at the National Level that caused them to leave. We encourage you to take local problems to your local president, unit president or sectional vice president for resolution. Protocol dictates that issues follow the appropriate process before we at the national level get involved. We, who love the game, know that we are here because of the comradery and enjoyment we get from playing the game. There are rules (ZERO TOLERANCE) that help us make the game enjoyable. Your attitude and those of people around you definitely affect game participants. We have to strictly monitor our attitude and actions at the table and enforce the rules against those who choose to violate them. We are non-less than one big family and as family we should all respect one another and resolve issues rather than run away from them. Let’s bring better attitudes to the table, be more polite to one another, speak joyfully to one another, help one another and by doing these things bring a better environment to the ABA that will surely help grow our membership.
We are less than a month away from our Spring National Tournament in Reno, NV and once again your help is desperately needed. This administration has done wonders to revise our financial picture but it can all be lost if we enter a penalty phase from this tournament. I know that faithful tournament goers are aging and with health issues hesitate to travel as much as they once did. We must encourage newer players to attend our national tournaments. We are doing everything we possibly can to make them have a more rewarding experience. We are trying to modify some of the games and flighting or stratifying to enhance a more equitable field of competition. However, we must have the numbers participating if we are to make our effortswork. As of this writing, we are approximately 400 room nights short of our contract obligation for Reno and if we don’t meet it, we enter a penalty phase that will be critically detrimental to our association. WE CANNOT WITHSTAND THE PENALTY. Because of this, we have extended the reservation cutoff date to March 25, 2017 and we beg any member who has even casually thought of attending, to take a serious action, make your reservation and plan on attending this tournament. There are three other tournaments contracted through 2018. This summer we’ll be in Lombard, IL, next spring in Dearborn, MI and summer 2018 in Austin, TX. With our numbers as low as they are and tournament participation on the decline, we may have to consider going to one tournament a year until our participation warrants having two again. We don’t want to suspend any tournament but only you can prevent this from happening. SUPPORT YOUR TOURNAMENTS, WE NEED YOUR HELP.
Remember this is an election year and nominations will be made in Reno with the election in Lombard. Change in many instances is still hard to accept but vitally necessary for our survival. We have several projects working to enhance our operational efficiency and the rewards you receive in the game. We will have more information forth coming on them. Our success and longevity is vitally dependent upon you, please support YOUR AMERICAN BRIDGE ASSOCIATION.