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.
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!