A Few Final Thoughts on the Survival of Sociable Bridge

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the title of which was “A Few Final Thoughts on the Survival of Sociable Bridge”–about chances sociable bridge would survive when my generation of bridge-playing ladies dies away altogether.

I opened that chapter with a comment on Ray Bradbury’s futuristic story, “There will Come Soft Rains” written in the 50s, predicting events in 2026. Personally, I don’t read science fiction–this story intrigued, however. In it, by 2026 all human life seems to have been obliterated. The house where the story takes place has been programmed to go on AS IF life still existed and guess what? There’s a table set up for a bridge game!

Back then, when I came across this bit of science fiction trivia, I remember thinking, “Ye gods, Maggy, if a science fiction brain like Bradbury, back in the 50s, predicted the survivability of social bridge unto 2026–pointedly including a social bridge game set-up–why NOT be optimistic!

And I have been, except for a gloomy relapse in Blog #31 when I read somewhere that the ACBL’s only mandate IS to manage Master Points. Such a narrow mandate (in my view) given the lovely history of bridge since its beginnings as whist couple hundred years ago. So completely lacking in vision!

Four years later since writing my book, I cling to Ray Bradbury’s word for it and BELIEVE that sociable bridge will survive after I’m gone, DESPITE the ACBL.

After all if contract bridge took over America in the 30s DESPITE the then version of the ACBL and its concentration on promoting the game amongst the serious elite players only–which it did as I read bridge history–then the sheer appeal of sociable bridge will triumph again.

Back then it took Ely Culbertson to recruit newcomers to contract bridge, and convert the millions of already existing auction bridge players to contract. Charles Goren, later in the 50s, picked up where Ely left off. And it is true–we have no one comparable today to perform that role.

So here’s my REVISED thoughts on the survival of sociable bridge four years after publication of my book in 2009.

I actually think that sociable bridge, at least in Florida, is doing as well as serious bridge in terms of a revival. Neither is doing as well as should be happening in recruiting players under 60. There’s no statistical way to count the subterranean world of social bridge. The ACBL seems not to be thrilled with growth unless it’s from under 40s and kids because they want growth amongst those who have 40 years ahead to compete and earn Masters Points.

For sociable bridge to survive, recruitment amongst those in their 60s and 70s will do, recruits among 50-year olds exciting, 40 and below?? Meanwhile, we’re happy to welcome drop-outs of all ages from the world of serious bridge–and given the DNA of human nature, there WILL be dropouts!

The way I look at it, all ages–once hooked on bridge–most will at least be sociable players to their end of days. Zero drop-outs except those mandated by mortality.


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