20. Bridge: Bridging the “old lady” generation gap

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Articles that analyse why playing bridge is not as popular as, say, poker, invariably include its “old lady” image as one of the reasons. Too many old ladies playing bridge give it an image that turns off the boomer generation and their kids. Well!–us old ladies are not giving it up to improve the image of bridge! Nor die sooner than scheduled–in fact, playing bridge keeps us living longer.

Here, however, are a couple of newspaper stories about bridge clubs that appear to “bridge” that old lady generation gap. One is about serious duplicate bridge, the other about sociable bridge.

Workington Bridge Club in England, with a membership of almost 100, has members ranging from 40 to 90. Their secret appears to be embracing technological change.

Established in 1952, they have moved with the times. The Club has its own website. Members play bridge on the internet in addition to club playing and they share with one another via email. As to the website, it appears that bridgewebs.com is a regional website and this makes it easy for towns to use the same template and tie into that main website. Makes it easy for a club to have a website.

This is a duplicate bridge club (not sociable bridge), and also uses computers to do “PowerPoint presentations on rules and strategy” AND “All the hands are dealt out beforehand by a machine linked to a computer and each card has its own barcode.”

Now, I personally do not understand much of that (being in the old lady bridge player category), BUT what they are doing evidently draws in younger players and thereby bridges that generation gap. Here are the links to copy/paste and check it out.    http://www.bridgewebs.com/workington

Bridge Days at Lone Star College in Texas

Thousands of miles west of Workington in Cumbria, England I came across a news article about a way of bridging the generation gap I’d never heard of before. It’s been going on since 1998!

Lone Star College is a community college of 69,000 students, and if you add those taking individual courses for credit, they serve 85,000 students–it is “the fastest-growing community college system in Texas.” And their publicity says:

“Bridge Days are held at Lone Star College-Tomball (LSC-Tomball) on Sundays during the regular school year from 12:30-3PM.”

Having College Bridge Days on Sunday afternoons is a great idea in itself, but unique about LSC is this:  the community is invited to participate! It’s open to beginners, experienced players, single players and paired players–all are “equally welcome.”  A Texan “Y’all just come” attitude.

What a great thing to do! Here’s the link if you’d like to find out more about how they run this Sunday afternoon event, http://www.lonestar.edu/18100.htm. Mary Pat Trenkle is the contact.

I would think an unintended benefit of a college (could be a high school on a Sunday afternoon) inviting locals of all ages to come play bridge would be making those locals (taxpayers all) happier.






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