Join Bridge Winners
Ramblings on the future of our game

Definition: A bridge club is a club where people come to enjoy the game of bridge.

Sounds obvious.

Definition: An ACBL sanctioned bridge club should be???

1. The same.

2. Something more?

"The clubs are the lifeblood of the organization". To some extent, that may not be as true a statement as it once was. The clubs and the online sites together may be the life blood of the current organization. Perhaps statistics exist at ACBL on the proportion of new members coming from these two areas.

Where else do new members come from? I can hazard a guess. From school programs, from informal college games, from social, in home games, and from unsanctioned games in churches, synagogues, various "Y's and senior centers. 

What proportion of the pool do these, even taken together, add to the number af newly minted ACBL members?

When considering allocating funds and time and energy to trying to tackle membership issues, it would be nice to know what is working, what isn't. What worked in the past, what doesn't any more.

Getting back to the one area I'm familiar with, the clubs. Clubs that teach and provide a nurturing, slow and steady environment, one that allows their very vulnerable charges to feel safe and a part of something larger than themselves, are few. Only a few hundred of the more than 2,500 ACBL sanctioned clubs have even one novice game. How many have beginner teaching programs? Do those numbers exist?

The ACBL's Best Practices Workshops are designed to bring new, qualified, teachers into the bridge community. Where do they go from there?  Do they start clubs or try to get a job at an existing one? Do they volunteer at their local community center? Teach privately? What? Follow-up studies need to be kept and studied.

Where exactly is the BoD and the Ed Foundation placing their bets on where the next generation of bridge players will be coming from?

If you do want to "promote" bridge on a national level, rather than on one of these areas, taking a macro rather than micro approach, how do you propose going about that given the incredibly limited resources at ACBL's and the Ed Foundation's disposal? And even if there existed enough funds for a national campaign, what would that campaign look like? Bridge is fun, exciting, a life-time adventure, an entry to a whole new community, and, BTW, it also slows the aging process? Wow, that's pretty awesome. Now...go out and sell it.

Like I said, ramblings.

But if we are to become serious about the future of the game, isn't it about time we do more than ramble?

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