02:13 4 TVAugust 2015 Woodstock Illinois GS Jade Barrett with Paolo Clair
«I have seen that in any great undertaking it is not enough for a man to depend simply upon himself «- Lone Man (Isna-la-wica) Teton Sioux
For the past week Paolo, Dr Donna and myself have visited the wonderful world of Southwest South Dakota. Home to Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Badlands National Park, Bear Country USA, Jewel Cave and a host of other great places, it is also home to the World’s largest motorcycle rally, held in Sturgis. Paolo had spoken of his desire to see the West and we were only to happy to oblige, for not only is this a one of a kind place on Earth, it is also home to the Great American Bridge Tour.
Most of the people living outside of North America have no idea of the immensity of the USA and Canada. So far we have driven over 4,000 miles since Paulo’s arrival in the USA, with still more to go. Our journeys include many sessions of bridge, as well as countless hours of discussion during our eight to ten hour drives, and so we keep in practice. Joined by my friend, Bill Wickham, we managed many high placings and three wins in Crystal Lake, IL, a wonderfully convenient ACBL Sectional that made a fine warmup for the Chicago North American Bridge Championships.
It has been a grand adventure for all of us as we traversed the countryside, as we made good use of our time by learning more about each other and our idiosyncracies. The trip has helped our team’s cohesiveness strengthen even when our table results were less than optimum.
While the laws of the game are a constant, the regulations are different from location to location, and there is definetly some «culture shock» experienced. System, conventions, carding and treatments can wildly vary from what we are accustomed to, so there is always a period of adjustment that necessarily takes place. Despite all that, we have continued to be reasonably successful and made many new friends along the way.
The road to improvement is full of speed bumps, starts and stops and a few outright crashes (my own partnership suffered a -2300 for a 20 IMP deficit in one particularly calamitous moment, but we still managed to bring home a win by 14 – now that was more excitement than any match requires), and it is how we handle this adversity that dictates the speed of our growth. All in all, I have been pleased by our progress and expect our merry band to experience the pleasure of a team whose camaraderie remains a positive constant even in the worst of times.
For when all is said and done, we only have each other.