Paul Cronin

To do, or not to do, that is the question.

 I am truly saddened by some of the posts re Zero Tolerance, but will continue to believe that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. It is very discouraging that there are some who not only prefer to curse the darkness, but to curse the candle-lighters as well. Zero Tolerance has one, and only one, goal – to make playing bridge as enjoyable as possible for as many as possible. If the implementation is not to your liking – help us improve it! If you disapprove of penalties – help us find a better solution! If the message is not being conveyed in the right way – help us devise a better message! But what fault can you find with the goal itself? Why would anyone not want bridge to be as enjoyable as possible for as many as possible? Is it possible that minds capable of absorbing and following  complicated bidding systems cannot as well absorb and follow a few rules of polite behaviour? Or is it that they don’t want to? Are abuse, intimidation, and rudeness just a part of their “game” as a means to gain advantage? Should we all develop thicker skins to accommodate them? My answer is, and will contiunue to be, a resounding “No”. A lot of the most talented, and fiercest, competitors in the history of bridge, have been absolute ladies and gentlemen in their behaviour at the table, and relied solely on their ability in order to win. But a few bad apples have taught others that their imagined  “greatness” gave them licence to behave badly, and that with exaggerated egos came special privileges. And how they do fight to keep things the way they want them!      


John Howard GibsonAugust 3rd, 2012 at 10:55 am

Dear Paul , Your sentiments and views are spot on but beware those you are given the the power to implement sanctions under ZT policies. Often they will abuse it : coming down heavy on those they dislike , and being more lenient to those they respect. Bias is such an insidious thing.
History has shown that when religious leaders imposed unforgiving zero tolerance rules upon their followers their lack of compassion, understanding , empathy and mercy was truly shocking. Zero tolerance must never be allowed to get out of hand….turning boisterous and colourful personalities into pathetic, totally compliant wimps.
Where would any sport be without its EXCITABLE AND CONTROVERSIAL characters ? Tennis needed John McEnroe . Football over here needed Eric Cantona …and now of course Wayne Roonie. And if bridge has become a competitive sport then one must accept , and live with the expectation of, awkward incidents . Reprimand offenders by all means but never allow the unreasonable intolerance of petty incidents to become the excuse of dishing out disproportionate sanctions.

paul croninAugust 3rd, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hello JGH,

It’s the directors who are given the power to implement sanctions under ZT policies. Can you give any actual examples where they have (i) abused that power? (ii) come down more heavily on those they dislike? (iii) been more lenient to those they respect?

The Romans were not the first to discover that the crowd loved blood – and will not be the last to discover as well what happens when the crowd turns on the hand that feeds it. Having excitable and controversial characters in sport may indeed have increased the size of the crowd who watch, and the revenue therefrom, but bridge is not a spectator sport, and having the players be rude to each other will not increase the number of players.

Bias is indeed an insidious thing, but so is the making of unfounded assertions tied to instances of religious intolerance. Can you name one “boisterous and colourful” personality who has been changed into a “pathetic, totally compliant” wimp by ZT?

John Howard GibsonAugust 3rd, 2012 at 7:34 pm

HBJ : Some excellent observations which I cannot disagree with but over here some our club directors have been known to see the same poor behaviour in two different lights. And yes bridge is not a spectator sport but there is such a huge broad grey area between veiled rudeness ( ie joking remarks ) and direct verbal abuse ….which I might add is a MINEFIELD TO NAVIGATE AND MAKING RULINGS ON.
However , I never for a moment ever suggested one could ever convert a wild beast into a tame pussy cat with ZT policies , but my horror vision of the future is this. Boisterous and colourful personalities will be driven out of the game leaving only the pathetic totally compliant ones left.
Everything in life requires people to achieve a delicate balance such as for instance…. freedom and control. And in the case of bridge it is all about achieving a balance between the needs of the individual with the needs of the social group. We all need to express our anger from time to time but only in such a way as not to damage the social harmony and enjoyment sought after by the group.

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