Let The Games Begin


My first bridge night in about a month. I played a good bit in college, then began to play again when I lived in Iowa. It has a rep for being an old person’s game. It’s probably deserved. It also has a rep for attracting, or at least giving rise to titanic fits of temper. That’s undeserved. Bridge players are competitive like any sort of competitor. But we have a zero tolerance policy in effect. When I returned to play duplicate bridge in 1998, I found everyone’s manners were light years ahead of what they were in 1980. Not to mention better than the poker players on ESPN or my college chess club. Now if you fuss, you get penalized. And if you fuss too much, you’re out.

Bridge is a good game in that not everything is in one’s control. I don’t mean the luck of the draw, though. In your serious bridge club, the hands are “duplicated” for each set of four sitting at a table, so every pair is compared in score with all the other pairs playing the same cards. So if I make one extra trick for an extra thirty points that none of my other nine competitors did, my partner and I score eight out of eight on that hand.

The out of control part is one’s partner, of course. Partner is an unknown quantity, and when I play with a new one, it can be guesswork to assess if she or he knows what’s going on. They probably feel the same about me. Good bridge takes good communication and understanding. Plus it is a good sleuthing exercise to assess what the opponents have or don’t have.

Anyway, it’s a good game. Anita prefers me playing bridge over backgammon or poker. (You should’ve heard the scene when I came home with backgammon winnings my second–and so far last trip–to the backgammon club.) Maybe it’s those women in golden bikinis serving drinks on Bravo’s Celebrity Poker. She knows we don’t have those in bridge.

Then I get to figure out how to help our youth minister engineer the video presentation from NCYC at Mass this weekend. That’s tomorrow, of course.

Enjoy your Friday night, folks.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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