Phil Clayton, D22 member
another view
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If Ken is really looking for input from the units, I would like to present a position staement if the board agrees.

Let's just say that "100%" of his District 22 constituents do not agree with him!

As I write this email, I am getting the pleasure of watching the open trials being run by the USBF on BridgeBase online. One of the USA Juniors, Roger Lee (from Arcadia in nearby District 23) is on a team that is practically tied with the Nickell team at the halfway point in the round of 16. The winner will represent the US in Eindhoven, The Netherlands in October. Exciting stuff.

Here's a few facts:

The USBF was created in around 2000 - 2001 when there was talk about bridge becoming an Olympic (yes, really) sport. The USBF's main function now is to coordinate selection for our international teams and is not a 'proxy' for the WBF at all. It is made up of American players and anyone can join. The USBF does all of our team selection for Open, Womens, Seniors and Juniors. It is primarily staffed of volunteers, but I can't verify this. Here is the basic information about the USBF- it is available online and they appear to be very transparent about the way they operate:

http://usbf.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=section&id=4&Itemid=51

If NBO's don't contribute to the WBF, how would it function? The WBF is like the International Olympic Committee; except the IOC generates a lot of revenue through broadcast partnerships. Bridge needs to remain international. There is a rich tradition of the US competing at the world level and if we didn't fund the WBF, this participation would cease.

I've never believed that only the players that are skilled enough to compete in our team trials and world championships should have to contribute financially. While it is true that many pro teams do end up playing and representing the US, my answer is so? It isn't always the case, and I believe that a team that endures the trials and wins should be subsidized. The fact that player 'x' happens to be hiring his teammates or his partner is irrelevant in my mind. Just because I can't swim 100 meters in 44 seconds, or can't run 100 meters in 9.3 seconds, does that mean that I shouldn't contribute to funding athletes that can? I view the USBF in the same vein.

Could the ACBL perform the same function? Sure, maybe. But then Ken's argument becomes circular - why would he support the ACBL's international program and not the USBF's?

- Phil Clayton