Friday, February 5, 2010

Bridge as a Social Game

I’ve met a lot of people (mostly non-bridge players) who claim that bridge isn’t a social game, or that is isn’t a social game for young folks, because who really wants to socialize with people 2 and 3 times their age. I used to think the same thing because bridge would be like a hobby to me but I would still have a normal social life. As I have grown older, I have noticed that almost all of my friends are now bridge players. And they almost all live far away from me. It’s not that I’ve played more bridge lately – I’m just getting along with bridge players better now, especially that I’ve found several other young bridge players.

Would my life be really dull without bridge? Yes, probably. I don’t fit in with a typical early 20’s group of people, certainly not the group that resides in Middle Georgia. I mean, I like to go out to bars and work out and watch shows and sports as much as the next person but somehow I never fit in with my peers here or growing up in Valdosta. At Georgia Tech, yes, there were many social groups I could fit in, but they went to the opposite extreme and are too nerdy for me. Maybe it’s an intellectual difference. The bridge players I now consider my best friends - Ramesh, Emory, Sean, Megan, Patrick, Dana, Gio, Joel, dad - include people born in 6 different decades of brilliant people who aren't totally consumed with the game or with work, like many super smart people are. Maybe that’s what draws me to them and vice versa. My friends from GT were largely too serious about studies and work to suit me while the friends from home are maybe too conservative to suit me.

But, seriously, playing bridge has allowed me to meet lots of fascinating people. Even though going to a tournament involves 7 hours a day (3.5 hours for a club game) of sitting at a table nearly silently, there is a lot of social interaction, probably more social interaction. You are bound to find someone you can get along with. And bridge kind of gives you something to talk about. Bridge player are notorious for going on and on talking about hands and bidding systems. I try not to do that but if you get a lull in the conversation or need an ice breaker, “What would you do with this hand…” is a good way to start.

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