My bridge career started at age 9 when my parents played bridge with friends. To avoid paying a babysitter they would take me along; I was totally bored with their card game but I did circle the table and steal sips of beer from their cups. Then in my twenties Mom taught my wife and me to play bridge (Goren) and then finally in 1999 I hit the big leagues; I joined the ACBL. I found out quickly that I really knew next to nothing.
My trek to silver life master has been like a progressive yo-yo but I loved most of it. I have accumulated many friends along the way but the highlight of my bridge world has been teaching. I became an accredited instructor, taught a number of large beginner classes and loved every minute of it. I especially enjoy watching the newer players grow and reach their mini goals and watching how each year’s class progresses.
Sometimes I schedule games (especially at tournaments) with newer players that show goal reaching tendencies to help them score gold or silver points. I personally receive more satisfaction from the teaching and coaching than I do scoring well with a seasoned partner. This process has definitely slowed my own master point accumulation but it is what makes me happy.
To optimize a good teaching program requires a year round effort but lately I have not had the opportunity to do so but I would return back to it in a heartbeat if the circumstances permitted.
I have a word of advice to newer players who sometimes find themselves struggling to reach their bridge goals and that is to take the initiative to ask higher ranking players to schedule a couple of games with them. Don’t assume that they will reject you as you will find that the opposite to be true more often than you would think.