The Democratic Alliance has called on South Africa’s leadership for non-contact sports to resume with certain restrictions amidst National Lockdown. The economy has taken a few hard knocks, and industries like sports and entertainment have been hit the hardest.
I’m inclined to agree, except for one more question:
What about bridge?
Here are the facts.
Bridge is a sport.
Bridge is recognized as a sport, and it’s one that deserves just as much recognition as any other. It’s seen as an official sport by the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), so why doesn’t it see the same amount of recognition in South Africa?
Bridge has thousands of players worldwide.
Bridge is a game with thousands of players located all over the world, with a vibrant scene in South Africa. Just like soccer, chess or any other sport out there. Each province has a bridge club: For them to continue, we need to see the game embraced by government and local sporting groups.
Bridge can recover the economy.
The economy has taken one of the hardest knocks in decades. Bridge is more than just a game: Embraced under the right circumstances, it can be a way to promote charitable events and a way to channel much-needed funds back into the economy with initiatives like official bridge tournaments, live bridge games and official support for professional players.
Bridge can be played online.
Bridge certainly fits the definition of a non-contact sport. With initiatives like Bridge Base Online (BBO), the game of bridge can be played entirely online and still hold to social-distancing restrictions. How many sports can say this in the time of COVID?
Bridge has even more benefits that outweigh its risks.
Playing the game of bridge has been shown to improve reasoning and local skills, and it’s a surefire way to combat signs of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Bridge clubs have to continue.
With lockdown, we don’t know when we’ll see another bridge game played in person. What becomes of South Africa’s existing bridge clubs, bridge players and organizations like the South African Bridge Federation (SABF) post-lockdown? If the bridge scene in South Africa is going to survive, we need some support.