Friday, 5 August 2011

Dear Readers,
Zero Tolerance ( Best Behaviour ) Policies should be scrapped. They're a load of bollocks. Ever since they've been introduced into bridge clubs , the previous high octane atmosphere and buzz one loved to experience in such places has gone. Everyone now goes around politely smiling and talking to one another, adopting false facades and banal platitudes.
So yes, zero tolerance policies have targeted intolerant players, who in their defence are innocent victims of their own impatience , impetuousness, sharp wit and blunt honesty. These initiatives have regrettably led to an avalanche of fines, temporary suspensions and expulsions. Colourful, witty, highly entertaining, larger-than-life characters have now been reduced to white, mouse-like, shadows of their former selves, unable to say boo to a goose. It's too horrible to see !
But what really sticks in my craw is the fact that " zero tolerance " is in itself the most blatant form of intolerance going. People who dreamt up and/or enforce thess policies are completely intolerant of those who they claim are intolerant of others. How can it be right to condemn intolerance with intolerance. If clubs want players to show more tolerance to those who play at the pace of a snail, make foolish and idiotic mistakes, and engage in a raft of unethical practices, then why not re-educate them to handle their frustration, anger and despair in a more civilised way.
Jesus, as I recall, one remarked " let he who is without sin cast the first stone ". Well, hard-nosed, unforgiving enforcers of zero tolerance clearly don't take this view on board. Neither do they take into account any mitigating circumstances for the player's Human Condition. The policy is extreme in that it is both unreasonable and cruel, which in turn makes it a sin in itself.
Indeed, I have real sympathy for someone who has been needled and provoked by others ( who I might add always escape scott free ) only to be singled out as the guilty transgressor. Slow players, for instance, who have an uncanny knack of causing other players to explode are far more guilty of " intolerance of others ". They don't give a damn about how they ruin the game for all concerned, how much time they steal from others , and how much all round frustration they cause. No....these soporific, thoughtful, quiet, harmless types get away with blue murder, while the player who gives them a right mouthful gets singled out as the wrongdoer.
And on a final point, I have never seen zero tolerance policies in operation in any other institution. Why just look at the Catholic church in Ireland which for years allowed paedophilia to run rampant behind closed doors, closed minds and closed ranks. If a church like that can tolerate that vile and disgusting criminal behaviour, then what's the big deal about a frustrated player calling his hopeless, mistake-ridden partner " a complete prat " .
Yours refreshingly Rood
(ps. would anyone care to comment for once ? )

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