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Children in London lives ruined by Backgammon

Posted By: phil simborg
Date: Tuesday, 25 February 2014, at 4:21 p.m.

In Response To: Children in London lives ruined by Backgammon (Jason Lee)

Jason, I understand your views and where you are coming from. I have found, as a teacher, that not everyone learns in the same way, and you need to look for different approaches to get the point across.

For over 20 years I have tried logic and sound arguments, and I think that has helped convince many people that teaching backgammon to children is a good thing and something the backgammon community needs to support and embrace. Just look at all the donations I have received for the Boards for Kids Program, and when I was running the USBGF collegiate program, I had 27 volunteers around the country working with me to help start and support the formation of college clubs and to help teach students to play.

But in spite of that, and particularly recently, very vocal people have raised strong objections to bringing kids in, using arguments about gambling and even suggesting that it all leads to a wasted life full of all kinds of depravity. Sometimes a little humor or sarcasm will help to illustrate the ridiculousness of such thinking.

The fact that it doesn't resonate for you doesn't mean that it doesn't help others see that some of those arguments are just ridiculous.

Of course it is possible that a kid might learn backgammon, get excited about the gambling aspects of the game, become an addicted gambler and turn to drugs and alcohol and then crime to support his habit. Does that mean that all the other kids and people who benefit from playing backgammon shouldn't be taught? Does that mean that that same kid who was destroyed by his habits wouldn't have also been destroyed by playing poker if he hadn't learned backgammon?

This kind of logic doesn't help demagogues and lunatics and people who have a slanted view or personal agenda against me or the USBGF or simply have a strong belief that will not respond to logic. But others who may be on the fence, or who may believe there is something to what these nay-sayers say, might be swayed enough to either be against the children's issue or even be ambivalent, which is also not good for the cause. So for them, taking the issue to an extreme, with humor, might be just what it takes to help them see the light.

But on another note, isn't sarcasm and humor just plain fun sometimes? When you are in the midst of a serious debate or disagreement, why not lighten things up a little bit with a little humor? It's just fun, even though it might also help to prove a point.

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