President's Message

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT’S DESK

 

APRIL NEWSLETTER

 

Much like the Republican Party there is an extremely strong competitive environment for power and control in the ABA.  Most of you members,  are outside this power struggle, but you have the power to facilitate needed and necessary changes.  We need you to stand up and be counted.  Stand up and fight for what you want.  In my quest to better understand your desires, I have made myself available by attending tournament events in every Section since becoming your president.  These visits were not only to play bridge and to represent the leadership of the ABA, but to make myself available to hear from you.  I can’t begin to tell you of the number of phone calls and emails that I get from you expressing your frustrations and offers of suggestions to help the administration better the ABA.  I try to respond to all of your email messages and I will evaluate your suggestions and present them to the Board of Directors for their action.  However, in many cases it is felt that these ideas are coming totally from me and the fight continues.  Whenever you send an email to me, I promise to answer you but I ask that you also copy your Sectional Vice President that they may know it comes from you and not me.  I will continue to represent and fight for you, that is my duty and responsibility as your president.

   Membership in the American Bridge Association has dropped below 2900 and this drop continues.  We are the oldest National Bridge Association in America and want to stay vibrant and alive.  We don’t have the revenue to enhance technological research.  Our sister organization in America is the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and they have more than 150,000 members and $1,000,000+ annual budget.  They have assets and advantages that can be most effectively used by the ABA to raise our level of efficiency, productivity and enjoyment.  As your president I attended the ACBL National in Washington, DC and addressed their Board of Directors to solicit their help and my visit was overwhelmingly received.  I also met with the ACBL president and CEO, earned their respect and commitment to assist us without trying to consume us.  I attended the CHANGING OF THE GAVEL ceremony in Palm Springs, CA, a Regional Tournament supporting more than 400 tables per day, to meet and establish a relationship with the new ACBL President.  I was honorably received and spent 10 days playing bridge and in dialogue with ACBL leaders on behalf of the ABA.  The outgoing president Mr. Ken Monzingo continued to support projects that we had discussed and encouraged the new president, Mr. Bob Heller to support them for the betterment of both organizations and bridge in general in America.  Mr. Heller chose to give his support and today we are working very closely through PROJECT OUTREACH to improve playing relationships between the ABA and ACBL. 

  The ABA makes use of the ACBL scoring program to process our game events.  We must then process these results utilizing the ABA Tournament Scoring System to generate ABA point awards.  The ACBL is in the process of creating a new scoring program and have agreed to include the ABA point structure in that program such that ABA points would be an immediate result and no longer requiring the results to be processed through ABATSS. 

THIS IS MAJOR, as this comes at no major cost to the ABA.  The competitive power brokers of the ABA would want you to believe that I am trying to reduce or take away your masterpoints, but this is so far from the truth.  This topic was the subject of a most heated debate across the ABA in 2005 and I have never sort to bring it back or to change our point structure.  Though it has been suggested as a necessity, I will not be the one introducing or pushing that idea.  It is also believed that the ACBL wants to merge with the ABA and this is another alternative truth spread across the ABA.  When I met with the ACBL Board, a member indicated a reluctance to help the ABA because of this perceived belief.  I advised them that I knew the origin of this rumor and asked that they not allow it to deter their offer of assistance and to allow me to handle it internally.  They applauded that suggestion and will continue supporting us as a separate entity.  In areas of decreased bridge activity, reach out to your ACBL sisters and brothers and let them know and share the hospitality that we offer in our ABA games.

This administration is being forced to make some very critical decisions relative to the financial situation of the organization.  Our expenses continues to exceed our revenue and this has caused us to tap into our reserves.  Our primary source of revenue is membership dues and sanction/tournament fees.  Membership and sanction game/tournament participation are both on the decline and even though we have increased membership dues, it does not cover the declining trends.  We must employ every possible avenue to reduce the cost of our operations while at the same time stimulating your desire to participate more in our sanctioned games and national tournaments.  How can we meet your needs and desires to make your participation a rewarding experience?  Let us know and we will try.

     In closing, I am your president and will work tirelessly in your behalf while in that capacity.  Your needs and the needs of the American Bridge Association far exceed any personal need or desire.  My job isn’t complete and can’t be complete until all resolves have been met and the current downward trends of our organization reversed.  Progress is being made, but only you can solidify the end results by becoming more proactively involved and by getting your Sectional Vice Presidents more proactively involved and holding them accountable for representing you.  In memory of our founding fathers and our final grand slammers, “LONG LIVE THE AMERICAN BRIDGE ASSOCIATION”.

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