49. Bridge: Blogs . . . lost in the shuffle

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over the years I published these Bridge Table Chronicles. Not only did I lose track of clippings, blog comments, that I fully intended to blog about when I first saw them, but my focus changed over the years from 2011 (when I started blogging) thru 2013.

I began blogging to promote sales for my book Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway?  as well as perhaps help promote a return of ladies bridge lunch as a way of entertaining. That got transmuted along the way into a bucket list “cause”–giving unasked for advice to the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) and criticizing their promotion of bridge.

I don’t really regret how it all turned out–I’m too old to regret anything. But I would like to tidy up a few things as Bridge Table Chronicles comes to the close of its 52 blog goal. Blog #49, therefor, will be about 13 things that got lost in the shuffle–7 under Bridge and 6 under Sociable Bridge. 

1. Jesse Crane, president of the Woodbury Bridge Club in Minnesota was named “outstanding senior citizen of the year” in 2012. He was honored at both the Washington County and Minnesota State Fairs for his many acitivities. Reading about Jesse, I loved his approach of mixing generations of bridge players. I so regret losing track of my print-out of that story. 

“His vision is for all to have an exciting, warm and inviting place to find friendships and play the game.”  Jesse is the kind of bridge personality out in the country (I’m sure there are many more!) who, in my opinion, the ACBL should be celebrating in their marketing campaign and using as a resource.

Jesse has taken the Woodbury Club from 10 to 50 diverse members. He evidently has a gift for teaching and has “developed an intergenerational bridge course offered to teens, grandparents and parents through the Woodbury Parks and Recreation Department and local YMCA.

Read the whole story at http://www.woodburybulletin.com/content/woodbury-bridge-expert-outstanding-senior-citizen  

2.  ” . . . due to our 85-year old bridge teacher, bridge is making a resurgence in our community.”  That was a sentence in a letter I received in early 2012 from Janet Morse of Mercer Island, Washington. I always intended to blog about it because the way Janet approached learning to play bridge is what I think every newcomer should do when it comes to sociable bridge promotion.

The ACBL clubs could cooperate by providing one or more certified teachers sympathetic to the idea of teaching social bridge to neighborhood groups in their homes.  But here’s Janet’s story:

“Four years ago, a group of friends and I hired a bridge teacher and began taking lessons. After four years of Mondays around the bridge table, we’re hooked!”  She went on to say that due to that 85-year old bridge teacher “I probably know 30-40 women who are learning bridge, most of us empty -nesters in our 50s. We are starting to sub in each other’s groups. I can’t tell you how much fun we’re having.”

The ACBL should contact Janet or someone on Mercer Island, write about this un-named teacher, and celebrate what she’s done.

This is the way to go to retrieve that lost generation of bridge players (daughters of the mom’s of my generation who got caught up in 1960s resistance to anything their mom did). Recreate the ambience of 1950s ladies bridge clubs WHILE taking bridge lessons! Of course the teacher doesn’t have to be 85, but I wonder if for Janet’s 50 year olds it didn’t feel like learning to play from mom.

3.  Graeme Tuffnell of the Sky Bridge Club commented on Blog #23 way back in October of 2012. I never did blog about it at the time, and I regret that, got lost in the shuffle. He was encouraged that some really great players were open to tournaments with simple or no conventions according to my blog. His experience had been a reaction as if “I’ve finally lost the plot completely.”

His suggestion? “Simply giving voice to all those home players might help promote the game just as much as focusing on the big guns. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a place that home players could share their stories?

Well, Graeme, I’m hoping to offer that “place” in 2014 at least as a temporary place where social and tournament players can dialog–until a better and younger website host comes along.

4. Pat Harrington, a Tampa-based bridge teacher commented and wrote me with several insightful comments, from the viewpoint of an ACBL teacher of bridge. They made me question whether I had really done an adequate job on researching the time when Audrey Grant’s officially sponsored ACBL bridge book was published. As well, she brought up some of the money problems involved IF ACBL clubs were to welcome or expand to serve sociable players as I’ve suggested.

I regret I never did the work I should have to respond properly. I’m hoping to take care of that in 2014.

 5. Bridge is GREEN, as a theme for promoting bridge. A deck of playing cards is #1 in a list of eco-friendly gifts listed at  http://www.squidoo.com-gifts/green. Emphasizing the green-ness of taking up playing bridge–in addition to its other amazing virtues as the lifeskill for all ages–got kind of lost in the shuffle in my blogging. It is a point that environmentalists should appreciate as well as those who predict society is going to hell in a handbasket due to its obsession with I-phones, Twitter, video games and loss of face-to-face contact. [Of course the many newcomers to bridge addicted to playing only on the internet are as plugged in as any Smart Phone addict.]

One deck of cards, a pencil, a piece of scratch paper, and one of those crank-operated emergency lights and you’re prepared for hurricanes, loss of electric power and all sorts of disasters. Is that not green? Never leave home without a deck of cards, I say, for unexpected emergencies.

6. Headline out of the United Kingdom: “Charity status for Hitchin Bridge Club” in The Comet 24, by Laura Burge. It made headlines because it was the first ever such ruling in Britain, and the result of a year-long process “due to the unusualness of the application.” Could something like this be replicated in the U.S.–not necessarily by the government as is true in Britain–but in grants?

Starting in 2000 with a few people two evenings a week , the Hitchin Bridge Club  had reached 130 members by March 2011 when the internet story crossed my path. Said Margaret Eddleston, its president and founder, “We’re the first mind sport to be offered this status, as it usually applies to physical sports.” Charity status is given to activities perceived to be a public benefit, snf  evidently entitles the club to building funds and other benefits enabling it to expand its offerings.

Funny thing is the story at no point tells us WHERE in the UK is the Hitchin Bridge Club. It does say you can E-mail Laura at laura.burge@the comet.net  OR see http://www.thecomet.net/news/charity_status_for_hitchin_bridge_club_l_825030

7.  In Pasir Ris, Singapore, the theme “Wellness for Everyone” included bridge as “one of perhaps 50 activities being demonstrated” ranging from Wushu, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do (promoting healthy physical lifestyle) to glass stacking and shaping balloons (whatever they are). As to bridge, “the game was demonstrated mainly to elderly visitors who came by the busloads.”  The event’s sponsor was the People’s Association which promotes activities good for the Singaporean people.

I love that playing bridge is a global activity that is good for people!

[There are six more lost in the shuffle stories under #49 Sociable Bridge for a total of 13. I like doing things in fours or thirteens when it comes to bridge.] 


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