15. Bridge: Twin City Bridge Club teaches middle-school kids to play

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If you want to feel good about the future of bridge, read John Matuszak’s story “Bridging the Gap” about teaching middle school kids to play bridge, in an article in the local Herald-Palladium newspaper. Everything about this story, from the way it’s written and the appealing photo to the way the program in St. Joseph and Stevensville is being implemented by the Twin CityBridge Club is heartwarming.

The opening short paragraph is followed immediately with this: “Bridge is a game you can play no matter what age,” said Carol Purdy, a Twin City Bridge Club member and the driving force behind the student bridge clubs at Upton Middle School in St. Joseph and Lakeshore Middle School in Stevensville. ‘Even if you play poorly you can have a good time. You don’t have to be brilliant. You just have to be happy.’” [Bolding is mine]

Since the general theme of this second “hand” of blogs is on teaching bridge  so the student isn’t turned off before “turned on” to the game, that paragraph is refreshing to me. I’ve read news stories about bridge for years as part of writing Bridge Table that invariably begin by emphasizing the difficulty of learning to play bridge–to me a turn off.

But, you say, bridge is difficult–why not level with the public.

To which I would say, “Well, it is and it isn’t–all depends on what you want from bridge.” I loved hearing Carol Purdy say, early in the story, “Even if you play poorly you can have a good time.”  Very similar to my life motto on playing bridge: “It’s better to have played bridge badly than never to have played at all.” Not only can you have a good time, you’ve acquired one of the best and lasting life skills ever.

The body of the article then goes on to make clear the difficulties encountered starting the program, as well as noting three “budding bridge buffs” who are becoming outstanding bridge players. It’s just that the article isn’t a turn-off before you ever get into the full story of what the Twin City Bridge Club has accomplished.

This is an after school extra-curricular program sponsored by the Twin City Bridge Club and the  St. Joseph Senior Center. Great combination. A modern way of replicating what used to happen until the 70s, in families all over America–learning to play bridge at home from parents and grandparents. Historically, bridge was played in schools as far back as the 20s.

Almost forgot–Twin City uses ACBL’s Mini Bridge as the starting program for the kids. I took a look at it and seems to me that’s the way everyone ought to learn to play bridge–not just the kids. I’ll bet it would bring to an end the many people who start to take bridge lessons and drop out before they get into it as “too complicated.” Mini Bridge has you playing hands almost immediately. Learning how to bid comes later.  See:  http://www.schoolbridgeleague.org/learn-to-play-rules_mini.aspx



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