Bridge Table, my 95th birthday & low expectations

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May 9, 2015

When bloggers quit blogging for weeks on end, as I have here at Bridge Table, it’s usually because they simply weary of it. For me, it’s also a case of low expectations for nonagenarians. If I beg off from loafing at the pool “to work” response is “What work, Maggy? You’re 95 for god’s sake.”

I have to not only create ongoing expectations for myself, but also motivate myself each day to work at them. Not that I’m complaining! At 95, I have an enviable life–far better than I ever expected. But then who expects to live to 95? Not me.

I offer this bit of wisdom to all of you out there much younger than me. Everyone tells you, it’s later than you think so carpe diem–sieze the day–and that’s true. In this millennium, however, I say you may live far longer than you expect. Are you ready for that?

I’m not sure I ever was–just kind of drifted into the remarkable age of 95–quite fit, pain-free (unless I sit too long at the computer), and with a circle of bridge-playing friends I enjoy every week. I don’t drive or do housework anymore (instructions from my physical therapist daughter who believes housework is dangerous when you have osteoporosis). I never was good at cleaning house anyway, but I do miss driving.

Reaching 80 was once my goal — born in 1920, that would mean living to 2000. Seemed like a nice round number to end one’s life. Didn’t happen! In my case, I barely noticed that key birthday–had a wonderful birthday party in Florida where I was spending a month in Cocoa Beach.

Back home in New Hampshire by April 2000, I just picked up where I left off, enjoying life and dabbling in research for the book about sociable bridge I had been intending to write for a couple decades.  Moved to Florida in 2003, celebrated 85th birthday in 2005 — still no book written.

Not until around 2007 did I get a bit edgy about time fleeting — resolved to write that damned bridge book before I turned 90 and actually did do that in 2009. One of few deadlines I’ve set and met in my long procrastinating life.

At least now, Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? and this blog and its archives will survive out there in the Internet somewhere should somebody pick up my “cause” — the survival of sociable bridge — after I’m gone.

How’s my “cause” doing? Well, that’s one of the mysteries of bridge — you can only actually count serious players, but the ACBL invariably claims statistics that obviously inlude sociable players.

Moving to Florida, I no longer believe, as I used to, that sociable bridge would die with those of us who learned to play in the 50s and 60s. Here, however, in the land of early retirement, it’s clear that enough women took up sociable bridge through the 1970s so that the game should survive at least one more decade, maybe two.

No thanks to the ACBL! But that’s a topic for a separate blog.





4 Responses to Bridge Table, my 95th birthday & low expectations

  1. Pat, I will absolutely take a poll — I plan to play tomorrow (Monday) at the senior center — has more tables before the snowbirds left, but I’ll poll whatever shows up.

    Then I play on Friday mornings, and there should be at least 16 there – perhaps 20 and I’ll poll them as well.

    There is quite a large group who play on Merrit Island at the VFW building, it’s run as an ongoing fundraiser for their scholarship fund. I MAY be able to interest the couple who run it into taking a poll (I would make up the paperwork so they need only pass them out and collect them to make it easy as possible.

    I know what I do — no weak twos, but I declare a kind of bastardized version because I DO DO 2 Clubs strong but need to have only 19-21 points. Whereas true weak 2 I think you need to have 21 or 22? I call my system 1 club, 2 club, 3 club 4 and 1 and 2 mean same thing — looking for a suit just that I want them to answer no matter what if I bid 2. Come to think of it, I hate when people leave me in 1 Club! Give me a five card suit or 1 NT if none. I would drive you and your players MAD!

    So glad to hear from you! maggy
    Maggy Simony recently posted…Bridge Memorabilia: A duplicate board from World War IIMy Profile

  2. You inspire me so much. Happiest of birthdays to my favorite blogger in the WWW

  3. Hi Maggy! First a belated happy 95th. Sounds like you are doing great — late blog or not.

    I recently was looking for statistics on the number of bridge players in the US. ACBL membership is in the 160,000’s but I was unable to find a number for social players. Estimates are in the millions but nothing specific. one thing is certain, you are the clear majority.

    My own crusade is for bridge teachers to recognize that. More and more recently, teachers are advocating the 2-over-1 bidding system used by many duplicate players. In that system a 1NT response to a 1H or 1S opening bid can show as much as 12 points and opener is usually not supposed to pass 1NT. What happens when students graduate and play socially as so many do? There’s more to the system, which I actually play myself but how can it be right for a beginner?

    Advocates liken changing to this system to the change to weak 2 openings with the artificial 2C bid as the only strong forcing opening as if weak 2’s are universal now. I know there are still some social players who treat all 2 openings as forcing.

    I have questions for you and would like to share your answer at the annual bridge teachers convention in August.
    About what % do not use weak 2’s.
    Do you? If you do, do you remember when you changed?
    Do you have any idea of the % of social players who have taken one or more bridge courses and their reactions to those courses?

    I’d love input from you or any of your readers.

    Thanks and keep on keepin’ on! You’re terrific.

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