15:19 3 January 2014 by GS Jade Barrett CsbNews correspondent
«It was a great New Year’s Eve Party! I don’t remember a thing» – GS Jade Barrett, Reno Regional 1989
Since 2007, the Great American Bridge Tour has made Overland Park, Kansas its home for the holidays. A very fine Regional tournament currently chaired by Susan and Jim Ulrich, we compete from the 26th of December through New Year’s Eve where the last event of the year ends just short of the Midnight festivities. It never hurts to have free champagne available when your game is not matchpointing well.
Ending the 2013 competitive year is a mix of emotion – many of the Mini-McKinney and Barry Crane ACBL Masterpoint races are typically settled during these last few days (the most exciting of these was back in 2007, when TOUR Rookie Anne Dawson took the Tournament Bridge Services Woman of the Year title by 0.16 (1419.97 – 1419.81); the equivalent of one single Swiss Team match), so each event has a very high intensity level. Yet there remains a celebratory sense that comes with the end of another fulfilling year of bridge.
This was a year of superb results for the Great American Bridge Tour, as we celebrated many great milestones among our players: Anne Dawson, Emerald Lifemaster; Dr Donna Wood, Gold Lifemaster; Nathan Roser, Sondra Hirsch, and Irv Gold, Lifemaster, Jeff Roman and James Looby 15,000 Masterpoints; yours truly broke 25,000. We as a group are thrilled with these accomplishments, and look forward to the coming year for bigger and better things – after all, what have we done lately?
It has also been a year of sadness, as TOUR members David Starrat and Craig Huston passed on. We mourn their loss and wish their families well. Many of us lost people dear to us, and at New Year’s we raised a glass to them.
With no rest for the weary, the Bridge Road Warriors of the the TOUR head to Monterey, California to attend the first tournament of 2014, as all things begin anew.
14:17 28 December 2013 by GS Jade Barrett CsbNews correspondent
«You’ll never find a better sparring partner than adversity» – Golda Meir
Comparing results with your teammates can be anxiety provoking when the team is having a tough week. You begin to expect bad things to happen to the point where it is a relief when a normal score is obtained. Fortunately, most of the time, these feelings are transient – all strong teams right themselves eventually.
It just seems like forever.
The key is to have adequate patience, performing the correct mental and emotional exercises required for the restoration of success. The Captain’s job is to prevent the egos of his players from running amok. The tougher things are, the more vital it is to maintain a balance between support and expectation. Occasionally, a few stern words are called for. The critical aspect of the whole situation is to not allow it to degenerate into personality conflicts. Everyone needs to be able to both vent and be kind.
This is another reason that I avoid rooming partnerships together – each individual needs a break from the intense intimacy of the highly competitive partnership. Down time is to be appreciated for what it truly is – a rest period in a neutral, but supportive space.
Every family has its difficult moments, where life cannot seem to get much worse. Faith that your typically sound teammates, partners – or yourself, for that matter – will return from their period of less than stellar performances will be rewarded and your bridge family as a whole will be healthier for weathering the storm.
02:43 27 December 2013 by GS Jade Barrett CsbNews correspondent
«I am a scholar of life. Every night before I go to sleep, I analyze every detail of what I did that day. I evaluate things and people, which helps me avoid mistakes» – Compay Segundo
Every time my team loses when they should win I lose a ton of sleep. While I recognize that every lost match is in the history books, I seem to want to hold on to them for just that much longer. It matters not whether the errors were mine or someone else’s, I will spend hours considering how the hands went wrong, or if I sat our team the wrong way.
The time required for frustration to dissipate is directly connected to how poorly our team played as a whole – sometimes a few minutes,occasionally a couple of hours, or after a particularly ridiculous session, perhaps a week or two. I simply cannot stand my personal poor performance.
It comes as no surprise to me that more than a few of the great bridge athletes of history struggled with addictions of one type or another. The constant number of insufficient hours of sleep brought on by the stomaching of a bizarre or silly loss coupled with the occasional endless discussion of exceptionally interesting or particularly difficult hands contributes to the overall strain on the human body on a nearly daily basis.
Now that I have mentioned it, we do have the opportunity to start a new event at 09:00 in the morning. I will get myself off to bed the moment I figure out how I went down in a partscore….
05:49 25 December 2013 by GS Jade Barrett CsbNews correspondent
«The unfortunate thing about working for yourself is that you have the worst boss in the world. I work every day of the year except at Christmas, when I work a half day» – David Eddings
My wife – Karen – and myself wake up in Albany, New York at 03:45 Christmas morning in order to fly through Atlanta, Georgia on the way to Kansas City, Missouri for the end of the year tournament in Overland Park, Kansas. As full time bridge athletes, it has been well over a generation since we spent the Holiday season at our house.
We are surrounded by many of our friends and family, however, as they also make the trip to the American Midwest to enjoy this traditional year end event. Our teammates make their respective journeys from Louisiana, California and Iowa; upon their arrival we share a good bit of Christmas cheer. The organizers also do a fine job of welcoming the travelers, assuring that they show their appreciation to the participants for their attendance. When it is minus five Celsius outside, we need all the warming we can get.
The Kansas City metropolitan area has been our Christmas season residence these last seven years, and we enjoy the camaraderie of this small, but growing Regional. All the ingredients exist: fine restaurants, great people and strong bridge. We especially enjoy dressing up for the Party Pairs event on New Year’s Eve.