After retiring as a professional pilot in Texas in 2007, I moved with my husband Earle to the small town of Berkeley Springs in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia. After settling there, we made many friends, some of whom were bridge players. I knew nothing about the game and had no interest (I thought). One day in late 2010, my friend Marie Hardy invited me to a luncheon, and I went, not knowing that after lunch, bridge would be played. I watched a bit, then got thrown in on a round and was hooked. I started taking lessons and kibitzed my first duplicate game within two weeks.
In early 2011, I joined the ACBL (District 5) and played 2-4 times a week in sanctioned and social bridge games. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could get even more of a bridge fix by going to some tournaments. I twisted Marie’s arm and she helped me talk our Life Master friends Larry and Sandy King into going to a regional with us. Thanks to their coaching and excellent team skills, Marie and I got our first gold in Pittsburgh in 2012. I made Life Master late in 2014, just before Earle and I moved to Bucks County, PA to live closer to family.
In Pennsylvania, I found my new bridge home at member-owned North Penn Duplicate Bridge Club in North Wales, PA. The directors and members were very welcoming and before long, I found lots of partners. I very much enjoy playing at North Penn several times a week; it’s a true community of interesting and fun folks. I’m also glad to be a member of District 4 and Unit 141. Opportunities to play are plentiful and the local tournaments are run well by volunteers who clearly care very much about giving players a quality experience.
I often say there are lots of similarities between flying and the game of bridge. Both pursuits require serious concentration and focus, and both are great diversions…you can’t really think about much else whether you’re flying a plane or playing a bridge hand. But there are two big differences as well. During my career, I was able to learn pretty much all I needed to know about aviation to be a successful pilot. But there is no way I will never learn all there is to know about the game of bridge! And the other difference? Well, even the worst mistakes at the bridge table are generally not fatal. Hopefully. But to be on the safe side, choose kind partners.
I feel blessed to be a part of District 4 and love that this district steps out in front with new and different ways to make bridge fun for its members and others who come to our area to play. I feel like our district leaders are out in front in many ways.
I just joined the Board of my local club (North Penn) and will be looking for ways to become more involved in Unit and District events. While I definitely don’t aspire to “running” anything, I’m a decent worker bee and take direction pretty well. In any case, it’s probably time to think more about giving back a little more to this game that has been such a big part of my life over the past 10 years.