IContact 20150702

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The Benefits of Association

July 2, 2015

Indeed, what are the benefits of belonging to this or any association?

A little over a year ago, I joined MENSA ... I like attending North Texas MENSA’s monthly meetings, a weekly lunch and monthly theme dinners. I also like attending the Regional Gathering. I have not attended their big Annual Gathering as they always schedule it encompassing July 4 which is family time for us for the foreseeable future. The local folks have asked me to get involved on the committee level. I really do not want to do that. My duties with NASPA, my regular business, my family and other things I like to do already take up all of my time. I like what I like and get out of MENSA what I want...

Ten years ago, fresh off of a divorce, I saw Carla Chase at the renowned Boston Area Tournament (BAT) run for over 25 years by Sherrie Saint John ... A couple of months later, I saw her again at the Arden Cup tournament in the Chicago area, run by the late, great Robert Denn. At a group dinner before the event, I heard her say something that indicated to me what a huge heart she must have. After the event, I initiated communication via the magic of electronic mail and then telephone. We talked nightly for hours for a full month before we had our first date; quite different from the ways of most relationships nowadays. After a year’s courtship, she agreed to marry me and take the incredible leap of faith of uprooting her life and moving from Manhattan, New York to Dallas, Texas.

During our engagement, Carla asked me what I thought about kids. I said I already had them!

We were visiting with my parents and I said to my Mom, a mother of 10 children, “Mother, tell this woman how I feel about kids.”

My Mom said, “Well, most women, not all women, but most women, would certainly prefer to have children. I believe that is why we were put us on this Earth. And, most men, not all men, but most men, if they could really choose, would probably just as soon not have children, **BUT**, the true man is the man that will love and support that child no matter what.”

A great silence filled the room as we took in the grace and wisdom of what my Mother said and our eyes made our way over to my Dad, who no doubt would add an exponential amount to that wisdom with his own. He said, “Well, I didn’t want any kids and look at ME!!”

I told Carla, “You now know how I feel about children.” She said, “From which parent?” I said, “I am a product of my environment so I have some of both there, don’t I?” We laughed a lot.

We now have two beautiful children together; Faith Elizabeth and Henry Christopher Cree.

Our marriage was performed in Corrales, New Mexico at the Old Church located about ¼ mile from the home of my dear friend of 35 years whom I met through Scrabble, Dr. Michael Baron, and his wife, whom he also met on the Scrabble circuit, Pamina Deutsch. Mike performed our wedding ceremony with 20 or so other Scrabble players, my Mom and Dad, my daughter, Kendall, and a couple of siblings in attendance.

Mike and Pamina hosted their Southwest Invitational LLL-Note Scrabble Tournament (SWILLLNS) at their home over that weekend. We stayed and played. What more could two Scrabble players want for the beginning of their honeymoon and life together?

The benefits of belonging to NASPA officially include these and more:

  • The right to participate in sanctioned, official Scrabble tournaments with an agreed upon word source, a set of player produced rules, a certified NASPA tournament director, a Code of Conduct and a system in place whereby if one is wronged, one has the opportunity to have that wrong righted.
  • Access to NASPA’s Member Services which contains a host of helpful word lists and other services.
  • Access to the NASPA-Zyzzyva study and adjudication program.
  • By NASPA’s membership in WESPA and reciprocal agreements with many other countries’ associations, the opportunity to play in officially sanctioned events around the world.
  • Official recognition of achievements and records while playing in tournaments and clubs.
  • Coverage under our comprehensive Liability Insurance Policy while participating in NASPA sanctioned events.
  • Eligibility to have an impact on the present and future of Scrabble by volunteering and serving on one of NASPA’s many committees.


But truly, the benefits of membership in this or any association are the associations one makes by being a part. Had I met any one of the aforementioned people through this game. all of the membership dues and entry fees throughout the years would have been worth it. I am blessed beyond belief to know all of them plus thousands more through my 35 years of playing in Scrabble tournaments.

This past month, NASPA signed up member AA006000. These 6,000 people plus the thousands of former National Scrabble Association members who frequently do and may yet reenter tournament play plus the thousands of non-members who participate in NASPA sanctioned clubs and non-sanctioned events alike plus every person around the globe who cares deeply as we all do about this fun game; these are our associates and the true benefit of belonging to this association.

We congregate annually at our North American SCRABBLE Championship to enjoy the games and each other. There is still time to sign up for next month's grand event.

See you on the circuit,

Chris Cree