Ten years ago, I retired from a thirty-five year teaching career in health and physical education. I was often asked what I was going to do in retirement, and I had a couple of things in mind such as work part time and continue to pursue my lifelong love of sport and fitness. One fateful morning while reading the newspaper, I noticed an advertisement, “Learn to Play Bridge”. I signed up, went to the classes and was introduced to the world of duplicate bridge. I was informed there were sectional, regional and National tournaments. There were milestones to be achieved called Life Master rankings and black, red, silver and gold points to be won. All of this was appealing to my competitive nature that had its origin in high level competitive swimming in my youth. Maybe I could channel it into duplicate bridge and try to become a good bridge player? Although there was – and continues to be – a nagging doubt whether I have the natural aptitude, I decided to take on the challenge. Believing the slogan hard work beats talent, I attacked the game. I took many classes, read books, and committed to playing every day at the local club. I practiced declaring and defending hands on instructional websites. I begged better players to play games with me and asked them hundreds of questions about bidding and play of the hands. I paid bridge pros to help me improve my game so I could catch up to the other players in the club. I entered tournaments to earn those colored points and Life Master ranking.
I recently earned my Silver Life Master at my ten year goal mark. It has been a journey of baby steps because the game of bridge has been difficult for me to play well. I could never have reached this milestone without the help of my bridge friends… a few loyal partners who stick by me and tolerate all my mistakes. Also, I extend heartfelt gratitude to my teachers and especially my mentors who became close and dear friends. Thank you for joining me on this bridge journey.