Judy Kay-Wolff

From Equity to Monarchy!

Hope things are more respectfully and equitably handled in other bridge Units than here in Las Vegas. We seem to be undergoing a brutally unpopular Bridge Revolution where unilateral Board decisions are rendered and carried out without the normal respectful consideration of others entitled to render approval or disapproval. ‘One Man Shows’ seem to be the order of the day although those in the hinterlands who are out of touch are no doubt unaware of the blatant discord that has pervaded the ranks of Unit 373.

Participants at board (or special) meetings are abruptly interrupted during their entitled presentations in an effort to avoid subjects not wanting to be discussed by the controlling force at the helm. Fortunately (and it is about time) we have recently been blessed by the presence and active participation of a high level, long experienced player who served in administrative capacities in real life as well as bridge who refuses to be squashed and silenced while attempting to offer workable solutions to the many issues at hand. This conscientious objector (along with several others) has served in similar executive roles and is appalled at the goings on witnessed while offering suggestions in an attempt to hoist the rapidly sinking ship!

If you can stomach a few more tales of bridge injustice, try these for size:

When the current Webmaster stepped down for reasons known only to himself, an individual (who was part of the ‘clique’ and involved in earlier volatile issues) was recently hand-appointed to fill the vacancy .. to the surprise of many concerned members.

And .. to conclude this unbelievable nightmare, one of our own independent members was about to make a valiant effort to introduce bridge teaching into local school programs here .. but was strongly advised by one of the ‘in group’ that it would interfere with local individuals who were making a living teaching bridge. They must be kidding!!!!!! You’ll have to forgive my vulgarity, but where I come from. .. It would be countered with the initials: BFD!!! In Europe and Asia there are over 200,000,000 children (yes .. two hundred million in China alone) studying bridge in ORGANIZED bridge curricula .. AND HERE IN THE STATES .. NARY A ONE, and, imagine the selfishness and stupidity trying to discourage an attempt to get it going here in Vegas!!!

As recently as yesterday, the word has spread that an owner/director of a suburban club heralded the qualifications of one of the players in attendance (who just ‘happened to be present’) while another worthy candidate sat quietly at his table .. with no mention of his name. What I found even more offensive was that in attendance was a former LV Tournament co-Chairman who had been replaced a few years ago and was handing out little shreds of paper suggesting four names to be voted for. That is what a BALLOT IS FOR .. (minus the plugs or recommendations) to educate the voters as to candidates’ qualifications with self-written bios. They do not need UNSOLICITED prompting!!!!!

Between the enormous financial losses this Unit has sustained (present and anticipated) and the despicable political alliances which have tried to forge their way by hand holding and ass-kissing, this Unit is headed for extinction and it is time we recruited new blood to change its course!! TIME IS MORE OF THE ESSENCE THAN YOU CAN IMAGINE!

I truly believe that EVERYONE WHO HAS VOLUNTEERED TO SERVE (regardless of capacity) must place the betterment of the game far ahead of personal goals, friendships and misdirected egos!

IF YOU REALLY LOVE THE GAME AS YOU MUCH AS YOU PROFESS ….. when you receive your mail-in ballot ….. MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT!!!


11 Comments

ReneNovember 17th, 2015 at 5:17 am

Question:

Are you a candidate?

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 17th, 2015 at 5:39 am

Rene:

Are you trying out for a role as a comedienne?

Seriously, I had been approached to run by several active workers but I declined. Should the occasion arise where I ( and especially Bobby) could make any worthwhile contribution, they know where to find us. I see several ‘new names’ on the slate who represent vitality, open mindedness, dedication and great exuberance to help make a difference and redirect this Unit in the right direction. Hopefully, fresh blood will prove to be the turning point and we will begin to pick up the pieces and take the high road!

Howard Bigot-JohnsonNovember 17th, 2015 at 7:53 am

HBJ : That horrendous tale of woe mirrors what I have encountered here in England at my club. The parallels are uncanny.
Whenever boards and committees are HIJACKED by those who become a law to themselves …..driven by nepotism…..corrupted by power….then all manner of injustices will occur while the club slowly but surely falls into the abyss.
I thought the stupidity of my club’s committee of squandering £175,000 possibly more on a legal dispute with a wrongfully expelled member ( trial to be held in march next year ) beggarred belief …..especially when the club’s assets only total £300,000……but your story takes some beating as well.
My next article is on the subject of cognitive illusions , which I feel might help to explain why your board operates in the way it does.
When I set out to prove the world of bridge being truly bizarre, your article is up there at the top providing cast iron evidence of such a claim.
Many thanks.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 17th, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Good morning HBJ:

Perhaps my early beginnings have caused me to lose my cool. You see .. my first exposure to bridge administration takes me back to the late fifties and early sixties. Those who shaped the destiny of bridge development and its perpetuation were individuals like Charlie Goren, Lee Hazen, Alvin Landy, Sidney Silodor, Edgar Kaplan, Tommy Sanders and dozens who followed. Their sole focus was directed at the betterment of the game and seeing to it that knowledgeable, fair-minded people picked up and carried the gauntlet in the hopes of promoting and advertising our once-great game for an eternity. Sadly, (in so many directions) it seems to be going the way of all flesh.

My fervent hope is that this negative trend turns itself around and we recruit (both nationally and locally) more people who will put their heart and soul into their efforts .. placing the improvement and preservation of the game first, last and always. Otherwise, we will soon be history!

Jane ANovember 17th, 2015 at 6:00 pm

Hi Judy,

I probably should not even post about this topic as I admit I am in the dark about most of what you said. I was not aware that our web master had resigned or that a replacement had been appointed. The web master job is huge, difficult, and very time consuming. Finding someone qualified who is willing to do this job is not easy. Whether this is a temporary appointment or not remains to be seen. It is not an elected post however, so I will assume whoever agrees to do it has the time, is willing to do the work, and is also qualified. I don’t even know if the web master has to be a board member. Some units hire the job out, not that I am suggesting this be done here.

Last Saturday, I was at the Henderson game and one of the candidates for the board who has not played at that club in a very long time was there. She came to reacquaint herself with some of the regulars who play in Henderson. One of the club owners recognized her presence, stated that she was running for the board. It is true that another candidate was in the room, but last night at the game it was made clear that as of Saturday when the first board candidate was introduced, the club owner was not aware that the other candidate was running as well. Both club members stated their apology for not recognizing the other candidate and also said it was unintentional. Both club owners made it very clear they have no bias for or against any of the candidates running and encouraged all of us to vote for the candidates we feel would be the best and hardest workers. That is what I plan to do.

As far as the educational issues regarding introducing bridge in the school systems, I don’t see how that would be a problem for the local teachers who are not teaching bridge in the school system. As far as I know, they concentrate their efforts towards the adult students. All the major clubs in our area offer classes for the new or returning bridge player, and I don’t think any of the students who attend these classes are children. I have to wonder if there was some confusion going on here, but like I said, I knew nothing about this until I read your post this morning.

I stated before and I will state again that I am grateful that eight qualified people were willing to throw their hats in the ring. I think all of them would be hard workers and want to see bridge in Las Vegas survive and thrive. The wheels of progress turn slow, but with a little oil, they can turn faster. I suggest we read the official biographies of each candidate once they get published so we all can make an informed decision. I was appalled to hear that someone was already passing out their own little ballot in an effort to sway votes. We are each entitled to our own opinion, but we are also able to make our own decisions as well. If I have questions about a candidate, I will ask that candidate where they stand on an issue so I can decide if this is a candidate I believe will be a good fit for Las Vegas bridge. Do I know everything there is to know about what is the best for Las Vegas bridge? Certainly not, but as a recent volunteer for the past several years at all our tournaments, I have seen the best and the worst. I liked the best a lot more than the worst.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 18th, 2015 at 6:26 am

Jane A:

I don’t agree with your appraisal of “eight qualified people” willing to throw their hats in the ring. If there were eight independent thinkers, that would be one thing. From observations of the last year, I cannot agree with that premise.

Viewing the happenings at the different clubs in the last few days, it is not difficult to translate the handwriting on the wall .. and I don’t like what I see. Of course, everyone has their own set of standards and my experience dictates differently. Hopefully, I am wrong.

As far as what is best for Las Vegas Bridge, they’ve got a long way to go to repair all the damage of the last couple years. Let us hope it is not too late. I think it is a case of optimism v. realism.

bobby wolffNovember 18th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Hi Jane and others who may be interested,

The above psychological problems are, at least by me (and through the years, various experiences in bridge administration) are caused by allegiances, bonding, power plays, being important, the thrill of winning and other human factors all difficult to define and put into practice.

By doing so, yes, sometimes lesser motivations and overall talent for the job are compromised, but that is, above all, very human, and will exist for the next millions of years to go along with the future.

How about when the more talented prospects simply do not run, for whatever reasons they see for themselves? I surmise that in the land of the blind the one-eyed man (or woman) will assume the role of king and remain so for the reason du jour. And what if the RIGHT person did run, is that any assurances that he or she would be elected? Heavens NO, leaving the organization between a rock and a hard place, never to surface as being what all civilizations claim to be striving, to be the best they can be.

When human beings see the above as a challenge, right the wrong, beard the lion, and mightily succeed. I would like to still be around to see that magnificent moment in real time, but I expect not to, and barely miss it by, let’s say, several hundreds of thousand years.

However, it is fun to talk about doing, but please do not anyone hold their breaths.

The reason: Probably IMO, because it, at this sad time in political development, is contra to that older than sin trait, of normal human behavior when faced with competition.

Sorry to not being of more value, but personally loving to gamble, I am afraid to quote the odds against coming together for the best interests of bridge and its organization.

Why? Simply because it is astronomical against.

Jane ANovember 18th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Yes, you are right that independent thinkers are important but the need to work together as a cohesive group is also important. I know a little about each candidate, they all seem to enjoy bridge, and I believe they each have qualifications to serve, but whether they will help change the current dynamics and make things better than it has been lately will remain to be seen, no matter who gets elected. The last thing we need is further discontent, so I am hopeful that the new board members can bring some good ideas to make Las Vegas bridge fun and solvent again.

I have not been to the other clubs so can’t speak to what is happening at them. The co-owners in Henderson have been stressing how important it is to have a board who can work together and get things done however. They also expect each of us to make our own decisions as to who we want to vote for and have refused to show any bias publicly. They are voting members of the unit as well and get to vote for their own choices, but do not want to influence the rest of us. I think this is a wise approach.

bobby wolffNovember 18th, 2015 at 6:16 pm

Hi again Jane,

And thanks for your very optimistic forecast.

Yes, if the co-owners in Henderson practice what you are saying, then we are riding an up-elevator on the way to bailing ourselves out of a boondoggle which unfortunately has
caused significant psychological damage to some in LV bridge and its environs.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and after the new BODs is elected and the Feb-March Sectional is held we will begin to experience the positive results of who is elected to honor bridge (at least as it applies to our unit).

No doubt, the horrible recession will continue (and probably as far in the future as the eye can see) so that preferable hotels for our tournaments will not be easy to negotiate. However, with no excuses left, for our wonderful volunteers I, and hopefully everyone, will join together to make the very best out of the sow’s ear we have recently been dealing with.

Ever onward, ever upward and instead of criticism and hard feelings, cooperation and kudos will be the order of the day.

The soon-to-be newly elected BODs will no doubt accomplish what we all crave, leaving no significant positive casualties in its wake as long as they do their part in our rise.

Ray MischNovember 26th, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Hi Judy;
I fully agree with Jane regarding her viewpoint (perhaps disagreeing with you) on the slate of candidates running for the Unit Board.
First off, while I strongly support one candidate – Justine – I recognize that my endorsement probably carries very little weight (as should be the case), and further recognize that my endorsement is not necessarily a positive for her candidacy.
Having said that, I think every one of the people who is willing to undertake this difficult and mostly thankless job deserves a great deal of credit. I do agree that some are more experienced than others, but consider all of them to be qualified to do the job.
My past life as a hippie (of which I have come to be very proud) has taught me that things are very rarely as serious as they seem. We are, after all, discoursing over a card game. I am very confident that bridge in Las Vegas will somehow survive no matter who emerges victorious in this vitally important (?) election. My main hope is that we can confine this discourse to improving bridge and not have it descend into personal opprobrium.
Anyway, thanks again for the forum. I hope you personally have a great holiday season.

Judy Kay-WolffNovember 28th, 2015 at 12:05 am

Hi Ray:

Enduring a long history from a high perch observing the unit underworlds, I can tell you that one should not believe all they read, are told and see. Unit administrations all stick together as is quite obvious in the case of #373 (because if one individual is cited for an indiscretion, the rest end up bearing the brunt). NEVER in close to sixty years have I ever seen a unit have so many henchmen campaigning to keep the ‘in group’ in control .. by surreptitious means.

Further, just because an individual volunteers to undertake a ”cause’ and serve on a board, does not make them either qualified, worthy or capable. There have been so many tales from infuriated members about delay of balloting (affecting those who are presently out of town) and deadlines, it is frightening. And, I have only read dribs and drabs.

Good luck to #373 because unless they head in a brighter, more positive, different direction infused with fresh, uncontaminated blood in the mix, they will only continue to spiral in a downward direction .. as already evidenced by monetary issues.

I take strong exception to your wishy-washy remark: “I am very confident that bridge in Las Vegas will somehow survive no matter who emerges victorious in this vitally important (?) election.”

Those words are akin to our theory as kids that we used to call “Wishies, Hopesies.” It will take a helluva lot more to turn this group around.” Sorry to disagree with your optimism!

Putting our differences aside .. We had a great Thanksgiving. Hope you did as well.

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