And the Graying of Bridge continues…….
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, young people used to play bridge. People in their 20’s and 30’s and 40’s. People who wanted to play cards, have fun, dance, drink, party, chase and be chased by the other sex.
That was then. This is now–the average age of ACBL members is 67. I was the youngest player 40 years ago; sometimes I still am.
We talk about this. We think and strategize about it. We start programs, try methods, visit schools, and nothing happens. The average age is still, well, old.
Maybe, just maybe, we need to look at the conditions of the game.
The evening session used to start at 8:00. There was time between sessions for a nap, a drink, maybe even the making of a little love, then a decent dinner and back to the game.
Then they moved the second session up to 7:30. If there wasn’t time for as much as there had been, well, at least the aging membership could get to bed 30 minutes earlier.
Today, our esteemed District board voted to move the second session up to 7:00. Viagra takes an hour to work, and nobody wants to sneak in a between sessions quickie anymore, anyway. Or so the board seems to think.
Dinner? Do adults really go out to dinner at 5:00 pm? What decent restaurant is open that early? That’s the hour when the nanny eats dinner with the children; the grown-ups dine at a more civilized hour.
Dances have gone the way of the steam locomotive. Parties have been excised like a wart on a beauty queen’s nose. There aren’t even any after-game panel shows anymore.
So how can we hope to ever attract anyone younger than the age of senescence? It makes no sense to pretend that we want to have younger players when we work so hard to make the game unattractive to them. There has been constant pressure to play less bridge–the 24 board KO is an abomination, ending in 2 1/2 hours. What’s the hurry? The regional pairs events at the Las Vegas and San Diego nationals and Gatlinburg regional were only 24 boards–I sure hope that isn’t a trend, too.
In a few years, when a national tournament can be held in the basement of a Lutheran church in Omaha, when the Blue Ribbon pairs is replaced by the Blue Hair pairs, maybe we can move the second session up to 6:00. That will help, I’m sure.