As in “kicking the bucket”–a term from the past for dying, now back in fashion due to the movie, The Bucket List. Bridge Table Chronicles is on my bucket list. It’s my effort to have sociable bridge (right along with serious bridge) survive after my generation of bridge-playing old ladies are gone.
We’re the last generation, the end of the trail of bridge players created by Culbertson and Goren. I may be no where near kicking the bucket but I don’t have time to dawdle either–if I don’t do it, who will? Who out there will take up for the survival of sociable bridge despite the ACBL?
The ACBL and Bridge Establishment in general, cares only about the bridge world of competitive bridge and tournaments and Masters Points. That’s its reason for existence. There are scores of blogs on the internet endlessly analyzing bridge hands–but not one (far as I know) devoted to the future of the game to which they’re addicted.
Oh they bemoan the average age of bridge players today–where are the young?–but they don’t do the one thing they could do to turn that around. Learn from the history of bridge. Give up the marketing strategy they’ve had since the 20s
Do instead what Culbertson and Goren did. Go after potential sociable bridge players, especially women. That’s how Culbertson transmuted contract bridge, from the game for experts early converts envisioned, into one of the great mass fads of the 20th century. Without someone like Ely or Goren to pick up the slack, offering just the duplicate bridge path is not enough to create a buzz for bridge.
In America Learns to Play, a history of popular recreation published in 1940, sociologists J.R. & Rhea Dulles, put it this way:
“Striking the country with its full force on the eve of the depression, contract bridge
almost overnight became the obsession of millions.”
I know, I know! You’re thinking, different times, Culbertson had no competition from the electronic media, et cetera et cetera.
The counter argument could well be the same–we DO have TV, Facebook, the Internet. All Ely Culbertson had was newspapers, radio and the genius to understand how he could promote bridge into the national fad it became. Why not learn from his success?
What you can do
Subscribe to this blog–it’s free of course. Read the parts you enjoy–you can always UNsubscribe.
Go to the archives in left sidebar and read them, comment on, dispute my views–write your own. If you have a bridge website, link to this one.
Create a Friends of Bridge website, or Buffett’s Bridge Booster Club, a Facebook site–SOMETHING–to create buzz–a place where sociable and serious bridge players can dialog and work on promoting bridge in ways that pick up where the ACBL leaves off. To do, as Ely Culbertson did, what the ACBL cannot.