Archive for the ‘NABC’ Category

Bob L’s wrapup – the Fall NABC in San Diego

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

What a year it has been! I never dreamed when I returned to the bridge world that I would meet so many interesting people. Everywhere I went – from East Coast to West – I met people with a passion for our game that made me very happy to be part of bridge again.

I can see now that bridge is in good hands. I just heard that ACBL membership is up higher than it has been in many years. People are putting on good tournaments all over North America, our 3200 bridge clubs are thriving, and in 2009 we passed 3 million tables of play for the second year in a row.

It’s true, you didn’t see much of me in San Diego, but I really needed a bit of a rest after all that travel. I basically just hung out in the executive office and took it easy. I did have a moment of . . . well, you might say unease whenever Paul Janicki, who represents District 2 on the ACBL Board of Directors, came around. You may remember that his wife, Julie, kidnapped me during the Summer NABC in Washington and held me for “ransom.” To be honest, though, my experience with Julie wasn’t that bad, although I was a bit disappointed that she kept me in a drawer most of the time that I was being held “hostage.” Really, she was nice, and I was hoping to see her again in San Diego. Too bad it didn’t work out.

That’s me going over the first Daily Bulletin at the Fall NABC in San Diego.

That’s me going over the first Daily Bulletin at the Fall NABC in San Diego.

I must say it was interesting to hang out in the executive office at the NABC. It’s the same room where they worked on the Daily Bulletins, so naturally there was a lot of traffic, especially from members who wanted to report that they had become Life Masters – or had advanced to a new Life Master rank. The Daily Bulletin guys seemed to share the excitement of the new LMs.

I discovered that lots of people at the tournament seem to think that the Daily Bulletin office is where all lost items turn up. I was surprised at how many people came in to say they had put all their important stuff – wallets, purses, credit cards – in the registration bags that all look alike. Turns out lots of the bags “walked off,” probably because they were identical and people got confused. Some of them, I’m happy to say, did retrieve their valuables.

From all I could gather based on the comments I heard, the San Diego tournament was a smashing success, and the turnout was about 1000 tables more than they expected. Seems our players weren’t all that tempted to take time away from the tables to enjoy the outstanding Southern California weather.

Once back in Memphis, I spent a bit of time catching up on the tournament by reading the Daily Bulletins. Boy, that Jeff Meckstroth had quite a year, winning all kinds of ACBL masterpoint awards (Player of the Year, Player of the Decade, most points at the NABC). I won’t be surprised if I hear about him winning the Nobel Prize for something.

Well, that’s it for me in 2009. No more traveling this year, except maybe to the ACBL Christmas party coming up in a couple of days. I hope there’s someone available to drive me home.

All the best to everyone for the holiday season – and Happy New Year!

Bob in DC!

Monday, August 10th, 2009

Did you know there are two Starbucks within a few feet of each other at the Memphis International Airport? Well, now you do. I was tempted to get one of those fancy drinks — mokey macky something — but it looked too big to carry on my way to the gate. Do you suppose they sell coffee-flavored coffee?

I was worried about my luggage — these airplanes are so much bigger than I’m used to — but I had fun at the Washington airport named after Ronald Reagan. I must admit, though, that I got a little dizzy riding around on that carousel waiting for my bag. I nearly got crushed by a set of golf clubs that zoomed out just as I was making a turn. I wonder if all the people at the airport are as grumpy as the man who made me get off the ride.

I loved the Marriott, where they played the big tournament. What a hotel!  It was tough finding my way around on the three levels, but I eventually settled down in my little spot in the Daily Bulletin office, watching all the people come in to talk to the staff. There was an endless variety of topics: new Life Masters, lost sweaters, people wanting directions, former board members showing off their photos. You name it.

My first official function was being introduced at the meeting of the ACBL board. Vicki Campbell, the company’s marketing person, said so many nice things about me that I was blushing. Some of the board members were very friendly, one in particular. I’ll tell you about him later.

 IMG_7006 

I was invited to the Goodwill Committee reception, and someone put me on the podium where Aileen Osofsky talks to everyone. The stand was slanted, though, so they had to tape me down so I wouldn’t fall off. Talk about a captive audience! Not that I wanted to leave, mind you — Aileen was very charming — but I was looking longingly at the buffet line and the free bar.

 Bob L

As you have been told, my final destination this year is the Fall NABC in San Diego, so I stopped by the Mega Housing booth to make my reservation. I wish everything had been so easy.

After the Goodwill meeting, the very nice board member I was telling you about — Rand Pinsky, from Los Angeles — dropped by to invite me to the evening side game. He was playing with his wife, Kathy Swaine. People were very friendly when they came to the table, and Rand had fun asking new arrivals to the table if they minded kibitzers. People were swinging their heads around looking for a regular-size person, then Rand laughed and told them the spectator was me. It was great fun.

 bobl table

At one point, Kathy had a rather difficult bidding decision, so I got up on her shoulder to check out her hand to see if I could help. She was very nice to me, but she didn’t really need any advice.

bridgetts2

One day, I went for a visit to the Intermediate/Newcomer game, and I met the Bridgettes. They are six women from Long Island who travel together to the NABCs. They were very friendly, but when I inquired about membership, they were a bit hesitant. Apparently, it’s a pretty exclusive club.

Most of the time I was in DC, I stuck to my perch in the Daily Bulletin office — having fun people watching — but midway through the tournament, I was kidnapped!

That’s right, and they even left a ransom note.

I was shocked when I found out later that all they wanted was $10,000! As Jack Benny used to say, “Well. . .!”

My captor was none other than Julie Janiciki, wife of one of the newest board members. She is a really nice lady.

I don’t think she meant me any harm, and she later amended the ransom demand to include some gold points. She told me she had planned to take me out for some sightseeing in the nation’s capital, but she got to feeling poorly,  and she spent the day in her hotel room (I was feeling neglected and pretty bored in her purse).

I was happy to return to the DB office. Ask Barry Rigal some time to tell you the story about the Swedish man and the drug store. It sure made the people in the office laugh in the many times it was told. I saw a lot of Patty Tucker, too. She works with the tournament for young people that I heard so much about. I could have visited there and no one would have known me. It’s nice to lie low sometimes.

Okay, folks. That’s it for now. My next message will come to you from Toronto, assuming I get there in one piece and the baggage carousel at the airport doesn’t go too fast.