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Director Behavior for I/N Events at Nationals

The following is a copy of a letter I have sent to the ACBL Management regarding unfortunate director behavior I have experienced I have experienced at several of the recent Nationals. I have deleted the names in this copy of the actual directors.

I am saddened to write this complaint, as I have found bridge to be such a fulfilling activity in my life. The vast majority of the people who organize and work for the ACBL have a service oriented attitude toward the members, who are their customers. That is why I think it is important to bring to your attention the bad apples in the barrel that can really taint an experience for so many people.

For both the Hawaii Nationals and the Las Vegas Nationals I played in events where Director 1 was either in charge, or was one of the Directors in the room. Each time she made the experience unpleasant. However, on July 26th, 2019, the experience went from unpleasant to a level that I believe may be actionable. There was a pair in the room that was obviously having a difficult time keeping up: he had some kind of health issue and frequently dropped his cards, lost track of the when it was his turn to bid, seemed to nod off, etc; she (sitting North) had an arm in a sling and couldn’t manage her cards, the boards, the bridge mate, etc. and then she would leave the table periodically to use the restroom or get coffee in the lobby. My partner and I were N/S at the next table and were at least a full board behind because we were continuously waiting on them. I walked over to Director 1, leaned near her and softly said ‘I’m concerned that we may have a board taken away because the pair at the next table is having so much trouble’. She pushed me! Striking my breast with the back of her hand, and loudly said ‘You worry about you!’

The room was really out of control with these two people creating such chaos. Later in the day, Director 2 said that we may have a board taken away, but that it was not a ‘penalty’. She stated: ‘ people like you, who are in a limited game don’t have time penalties. Only the people who play in the Open games have penalties.’ She made it quite clear that she thought intermediate players were really just an afterthought as far as the ACBL was concerned.

I truly believe that these two ladies do not represent the ACBL attitude of customer service, much less the motto “Be Nice”. Neither of them was ever nice at any point. Surely there must be enough people who wish to direct these National events that the ACBL need not employ those with a negative attitude at all times. I honestly do not believe they will change with counseling. I think they believe they are doing a favor to those of us playing by showing up to direct, rather than the other way around.

The ACBL needs to work to keep and build its membership. Please consider this letter as constructive criticism from an intermediate player who would like to continue playing in tournaments where respect and professionalism is exhibited by all.

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