Sunday, 27 March 2011

GENTLEMEN BRIDGE PLAYERS : A DYING BREED ....... ( An article by Dr. Sigmund T. Schukelgruber )
Within the ageing membership of bridge clubs worldwide, wisdom and calm reflection are two human characteristics very much in short supply. The game has become, like so many other major sports, brutal and aggressive, where clinical, ruthless efficiency takes precedence over relaxed enjoyment and friendly rivalry.
Gentleman bridge players, tragic as it seems, have been consigned to the past, in order to make way for the ambitious, arrogant, win-at-all-costs, results merchants of today. To some extent the game has lost its refined charm, although its inherent mental challenge and appeal remains as strong as ever.
So what qualities and characteristics are missing from the modern day alley cat bridge players ? Certainly there appears to be the absence of politeness, clean language, restraint, forgiveness, and respect for those in authority. But there are many other aspects to being a perfect gentleman, which every male player needs to address and take on board :
- knowing when to speak and what to say
- keeping private thoughts private
- never making, or responding to, provocative remarks
- nipping potentially awkward situations in the bud that could well lead to unpleasant altercations
- being a good listener
- offering advice only when asked
- keeping quiet when opponents have gifted tops
- never choosing to gloat, smirk or act in a smug or patronising way
- taking constructive criticism with an open mind
- remaining calm and dignified even when questionable TD decisions go the way of the opponents
- never talking just for the sake of it
- refraining from unnecessary post mortems and highfalutin bridge techno-babble
- always treating partner with the utmost respect
- congratulating opponents who have played exceptionally well
- keeping bridge in perspective ( as a social and friendly game )
- looking the part, by dressing up with a sense of occasion
- taking on the role of table host if others choose to decline
- taking defeat graciously
- taking victory with humility
- giving partner the credit he/she deserves

So unless a massive culture change takes place over the next few years, I'm afraid that rare breed of gentlemen bridge players will become extinct, to join the ranks of so many other disappearing species on this polluted planet of ours. Bridge will always be a beautiful game........ so please, let's have beautiful people playing it.

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