04:15 16 July 2015 St Louis Missouri GS Jade Barrett with Paolo Clair
«Map out your future – but do it in pencil. The road ahead is as long as you make it. Make it worth the trip» – Jon Bon Jovi
While we know our ultimate destination, the route is chosen almost randomly. The 550 mile (885km) drive from TOUR Headquarters in Elk Point, South Dakota to St Louis Missouri was almost 13 hours with stops, but time passes quickly when you have good friends and great conversation.
This being Paolo’s first adventure with our team, as well as his first trip to the Midwestern United States, we passed through central Iowa where the maize grows tall and strong and the cuisine includes almost anything that can be fried. Definetly different than what he has at home in Italy. There are a lot more blonde haired people here, too.
As typical bridge athletes, many of our conversations drifted into discussions of bidding systems, tales of misadventure, great personalities we have known and the colloquial differences of our game. The varied approaches to the game never ceases to amaze me as while our attitudes are similar, we occasionally take vastly different avenues to arrive at the same contract.
Dr Donna was frequently amused by Paolo and my verbal jousting during the trip, and we were very good at sounding as if we were arguing while in fact the two of us were in firm agreement. Bridge theorists often act this way, testing the bounds of their personal belief set, passionately debating the merits of one action over another, all the while seeking the Eureka Moment – that much sought after sense of complete understanding of an endeavor that defies definition.
It is the sense that we can successfully solve every problem we face that sustains our desire to play even when we are proven wrong on a fairly regular basis. There are just too many variables that are outside of our personal control. It does not help that there are opponents making their best effort to assure we fail.
Of course, that is also part of our mission in any of my partnerships – do everything we can to obtain the optimal result while obstructing the opposition to the best of our ability. We also need to avoid shooting ourselves in the foot at the same time. This happens to very good players far more often then you might expect.
We must also be good and charming sportsmen at the same time, for while bridge is the ultimate war game,
it is a genteel one, not to be reduced by boorish behavior.
Though at times, it certainly would be nice to be allowed to whine about the latest bad break in trumps.