Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bridge Blog 514: Tempest on a tabletop

          The bridge community sure is stirred up over Airport Bridge Club director Bill Finkelstein’s current burst of counter-programming. Here’s how it was reflected in the Duplicate Bridge column in last Saturday’s Buffalo News:

   Today sees the debut of the Bridge Center of Buffalo's Bagel Game at noon, while the Airport Bridge Club is countering with "Bill's Better Than Bagel Game" at 11 a.m. today and corned beef sandwiches for St. Patrick's Day next Saturday. Meanwhile, Lockport's Saturday game is suspended.
    Bridge Club Meridian will host the ACBL Inter Club Championship game at 7:15 p.m. Monday.
    The Bridge Center of Buffalo is having a "Pi Day" extra point party at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, while at 12:30 p.m., the Airport Club has a "Pie Day" game with a free pie for each player. The BCB also offers lunch for $4 at its 10:30 a.m. game Friday.

     At the tables, some players thought this put too much emphasis on food (see Blog 512). The oldest ACBL player in town – Doug Dean – characterized it as “a trade war.” Bridge Club Meridian director Dian Petrov prefaced his latest e-mail submission of results by asking if someone else wrote this. I assured him that I write these things from the stuff that people send me, attempting to use their own words wherever possible.
The club manager and publicist for the Bridge Center of Buffalo, Elaine Universal, had considerably more to say in an e-mail I received Monday. Among other things, she attributed “malice” to me. I have many shortcomings, to be sure, but I believe this is the first time I’ve been characterized as malicious. (If I were malicious, I’d paste a copy of her e-mail here.)
At any rate, Elaine cc’ed my boss, Margaret Sullivan, who passed it along to the features editor, who discussed it with me Tuesday. The features editor saw nothing particularly objectionable about it, said that no apologies were needed and concluded that bridge players are lucky to have local results and notices published at all, since few other sizeable newspapers in the nation do such a thing.
Soooooooo, I have tried to be equitable to the clubs in the past. I will try to be equitable to the clubs in the future. Although I consider the Airport Bridge Club to be my home club, I bear no grudge against the Bridge Center of Buffalo or Bridge Club Meridian or anyone else. May they all live long and prosper. It would be lovely if the Buffalo bridge community wasn’t such a contentious bunch, but I have a feeling this is just the nature of the beast.
Meanwhile, I will continue to use the names that the clubs attach to their promotions and the language they use to describe them, as long as they are accurate, in good taste and there’s room enough to do that in the 18 lines or so that I’m allotted for announcements. And I hope that readers will be able to differentiate between the message and the messenger.

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