A lot has happened in my mahjongg world since I last posted. I went to a tournament last Sunday and came in fourth! More about tournaments in a separate post. This post is reserved for the Annual Meeting.
It was such a thrill to attend the League's annual meeting. I met two friends, Shelley and Christina, in the lobby of the venerable 250 West 57th Street, where the League has had its offices for umpteen years. We rode the elevator to the 6th floor and entered the three-room office where we were warmly welcomed by Marilyn Starr, Secretary of the League, who made sure we were bona fide members by checking our membership numbers, and then, to our surprise, we were ushered into the office of League President Ruth Unger herself! (I was reminded of Wayne's World - I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!)
Mrs. Unger was SO GRACIOUS! She said she was so pleased that we had taken the time to come for the meeting and she always enjoyed meeting members.
The meeting was brief, and took place promptly at 9:00. We were joined by Vice President David Unger, Ms. Starr and Adela Strano, board Secretary. The minutes of last year's meeting were read, along with confirmation of the board of directors, who were elected last year and serve for two years. Mrs. Unger was presented with a computerized list of 4200 proxies, all of which were signed and returned by members. She laughed about how the proxies used to be in shopping bags and how the Secretary had to type the list manually.
After the minutes were read and adopted, Mrs. Unger read her report. She remarked about how the League has grown and now has over 300,000 members, and these are only the people who buy their card from the League. It doesn't included those who purchase a card from retail outlets. (And, BTW, you can now get a card on Amazon.com - but it is ALWAYS BETTER to get it from the League, either send a check or buy on their website, because then you become a bona fide member and your dues help fund the many charities that the League supports)
After the report was read, we had a lovely chat. Mrs. Unger said how happy she was to see so many young people playing, and men, too, we added. She said that there are many husband and wife players and they register separately, each with their own card and online account. The online presence of the League has grown, but they still insist on having a live person answer the telephone if a member calls. Since this was the time of year when people are renewing their membership, the outer office was filled with boxes of envelopes from all over the country. And I know you are dying to know, but, alas, we didn't get a "sneak peek" at the new card :-[ But Mrs. Unger assured us we will love it.
We discussed tournaments and the possibilty for a national league championship. Mrs. Unger said it would take an enormous amount of work to implement something like that, but that it was worthy of consideration. Wouldn't that be great! I asked if the League had any sort of tournament rules sheet that people could refer to if they wanted to start their own private tournament. Yes, they do, and it is available on written request. And I was granted permission to publish it on this blog, which I will do in my next post on tournaments.
We also discussed a very obscure mahjongg point of reference. It seems that some fancy mahjongg sets have jokers which, instead of saying "Joker" say the names of the grandchildren of the set owner. Well, it turns out if a player has an exposure with a joker that says "Sandra" and another player redeems that joker but then makes an exposure with a joker that says "Rupert" everyone knows she has another joker in her hand. So make sure if you redeem Sandra, you expose Sandra the next time.
Upon leaving, we admired the display of vintage mahjongg cards and tiles, and you can see the blanket that proudly hangs on the wall of the League Office. I took the picture with my phone, so it's not the greatest quality, but you can see that it is a quilt made from mahjongg tournament T-shirts from cruises over the years and was presented to Mrs. Unger and the League.
As stated, the meeting was brief, as everyone had to return to the work at hand. In fact, we were only there for about a half and hour, though we could have stayed and chatted much longer. We had planned to meet another friend, Arlene, in the lobby, but when she wasn't there at the appointed time we thought she would join us upstairs. She hadn't come by the time we left, though, which was a disappointment. It turns out that she had been running late and must have stepped off the elevator on 6 just as we had left. She had her own chat with the League board, and it appears in the comments section below.
Thank you, everyone, for reading this, and I hope you've sent in your money for your card and the Internet game. The League has been doing their great work since 1937, as you will see below, and it was an honor and a thrill to pay them a visit.