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Eliters Interviews
bear_music Interviewed by: balouza
 7/1/2002 Newsletter - What's Up Eliters! - Stories

Real Name: Robert Ward
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
Sex: M
Age: 55
Marital Status: Single
Profession: Writer, Editor, Photographer
Languages Spoken: English, Latin, smattering of French.

More about bear_music


I put myself in a bit of a spot this month: everyone said that the "obvious" second interview should be bear_music. Of course, I canít have him interview himself (even though he was willing to do so), so I had to do it myself. So, without further fanfare, hereís the interview with the man who canít make up his mind whether heís gracious music or a wild beast ...


Robert, how long have you been playing games online?

About 5 years, but I tend to lose track. Forever, I thin?&

How much time do you spend online each week?

A better question would be, "How much time each week are you NOT online?" And the answer is: when I am not cooking (which I do a lot), and not sleeping (which I donít do enough), and not taking photographs (which I should spend more time doing), I am online all the time. However, Iíve promised myself that this year I will make time for golf as well.

Good luck on the golf. Weíll believe it when we see it.

Thank you!

How did you learn about EliteLeague and when did you join?

was one of the original "Caseís refugees" that seceded with you to create the MyLeague, Elite. So I have been on board since the beginning, and was the original HA of our second league, Elite Gin Rummy.

Why did you join me in this, anyway? Wasnít there a perfectly good organization out there, Caseís Ladders?

Well, in a sense yes, Cas?s existed, but I was?t happy with it at all. I thought it was a joke, badly managed, controlled by gangs and cliques, not a nice environment at all. I thought we could do better. And we were fortunate beyond words to have you leading us. What we needed was a man with a vision, and with the organizational and financial clout to bring his vision to reality. The rest of us "founders" hooked our wagons to your star. And what a ride itís been!

Yes, a hell of a ride. Tell our readers, if yo5re willing, is it true you tried to "quit" half a dozen times? If so, why? And how come youíre still here?

Yes, I kept thinking I was out of my mind. So much work, so much hassle, to what end? Were?t there better things I could do with my time? Is?t the sun shining? Does?t the world cry out to be appreciated? I asked myself these things, and I tried to sever the umbilical, but I did?t have it in me. The bottom line is, I love this league, I love (most of) these people, I feel like I am doing something useful. And besides, you rul?& If you can handle the pressure you do, how can I complain?

Noble sentiments, indeed, but admit it: youíre hooked,

Yes, I am hooked.

Good, I admire a man who is honest with himself. So, tell us, what makes EliteLeague different from the competition?

I can do no better than repeat your words from last mont?s interview: "Management that is hands-on and dedicated to the playersí needs. A user-friendly site that is reliable and efficient, with a minimum of graphics etc to slow it down. Dedicated TDs and staff that believe in the principles of Teamwork and fairness. A remarkable player base that functions as an extended "family", with annual live events tying many of us together. And, not least of all, the fact that we eliminated the "ladder" concept and became a pure tournament league, thus almost eradicating the usual forms of online cheating and manipulation that plague other leagues."

What is it in your background that prepared you for all this? What skills have you developed that made this possible?

I am a "fixer". I am an intermediary, a "go-between". I broker solutions, I solve problems, I negotiate compromises, I am used to making rulings and enforcing them. I spent half a lifetime racing sailboats, and from this I learned about teamwork, about sublimating individual needs to the common good. My life has taught me the big picture, that not everyone thinks as I do, that every point of view has some validity, that compromise is the art of reality.

And what do you do, for Elite, that makes use of all these skills?

Basically, I write the rules (in consultation with you and other admin staff), and I make myself available to advise and negotiate on issues that involve rules interpretations and directions for the league as a whole. I have also spent a good deal of time as an admin trainer. I start individual leagues and prepare staff to take over administration of them.

What leagues have you administered in Elite?

I am beginning to lose track. I started Gin, and eventually turned it over to the very capable lj_lynn. I have been HA of Spades, Backgammon, Pool, Pinochle, Bridge, those I know for sure. I was AA of Euchre. I am pretty sure there have been others but itís all a blur.

Do you administer any real-life competitions?

Not anymore. I used to do Race Committee work for San Diego Yacht Club, and for a few years I was an official in both youth baseball and youth soccer.

Tell me this: what would you tell a prospective member who is trying to choose between EliteLeague and other, similar leagues?

Again, ?d repeat your answer: "There is nothing "similar" out there. We are head-and-shoulders above the rest. We are a concerned community that looks out for each other, staffed entirely by our own, and we offer the greatest variety of tourney types, the most activity, and by far the most user-friendly site for online gameplay. if you wish to enjoy the game and have fun while competing with the best on the internet, there is no choice but EliteLeague."

Itís been strange interviewing you. Any last words for our readers?

Sure!Ü Do?t sweat the small stuff. Look at the big picture. We have our disagreements, they are inevitable, but we are united in a common goal: to have fun online with people we can trust. Never lose sight of that. None of us can have our way all the time, but as a community we are doing a heck of a job of supporting each other. Relax! Have fun! And be sure to report!

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