Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bridge Blog 387: Better or worse

          I almost call up the Airport Bridge Club before I leave the house Friday. We’re in the middle of a Winter Storm Warning and it looks pretty nasty out there. But what the hey – I’ll do local streets. I do them until I get over around Canisius College on Main Street and they’re really sloppy, really slippery and really slow. At this point, I call up the club. I’m going to be late, I say.
          But can the Kensington Expressway be any worse than Kensington Avenue? Maybe not. Definitely not. It’s 30-40 mph through thin slush out to the Thruway cloverleaf, where suddenly there are cars in snowbanks and other cars facing the wrong direction. But it’s passable. I get to the game a couple minutes before the 11 a.m. start.
          And it’s not even starting at 11. They’re waiting for people. Tova Reinhorn and Kathy Pollack are coming over from Dian Petrov’s game. Dian Patrov’s Friday farewell. The last Friday day game before he switches Bridge Club Meridian to its new Monday-Tuesday schedule. Thanks to the weather, he doesn’t have enough players for a game. The Airport Club does. With Tova and Kathy, there are three full tables. Club manager Bill Finkelstein would have had three anyway, but now he doesn’t have to play. He can even send home the substitute, who had come in just to see if she was needed.
          I’m not sure if my partner, Barbara Sadkin, would make it, either, but she rolls in a couple minutes after I do. And in this small field, I’m encouraged. Although Barbara and I failed to get points when we played together on Thursday, we should have all our kinks worked out by now.
          But we don’t. Barbara apologizes and I apologize, too. We routinely fall short of what other pairs are doing – failing to pick up the extra trick, overbidding, underbidding. On Thursday, we had some hope at the end of the day before the results were announced and we learned we were at 45%. But now, we know it’s going to be bad. But how bad? 37%. Dead last. Only one other pair doesn’t get points – Tova and Kathy. I’m surprised.
          Before Barbara and I hit our bumps in the road, I was having a good week. I’d scratched twice on Monday and had successful back-to-back dates with Celine Murray on Tuesday – 62.8%, an overall top on a mostly defensive day for 2.1 points – and Wednesday – 55.38%, third overall as we fought to overcome our lapses.
          Saturday’s partner – Marie Suprinick – called to cancel provisionally earlier in the week. She’d be in if she felt up to it, she said. I advised her not to push herself too hard – she’s just come out of the hospital – and suggested that our date Monday for the ACBL-wide Senior Pairs was the one she should knock herself out for.
          Sure enough, there’s no Marie on Saturday. And not too many other people, either. We have to wait for extra people to come in to fill out the four tables and this time the club manager has to play. Ginny Panaro arrives soon enough for us to miss only two boards and we have an agreeable, but so-so game. No huge mistakes, not memorable opportunities either. The slams, for example, belong to our opponents. In the end, three pairs are in upper 50% range and we’re the best of the also-rans with 53.10%. It gives us second place in the C stratification and one point even.
          For the month, I now have 12.76 points at the Airport Club, plus that 1.81 from the St. Catharines Sectional. Nothing stellar, but an improvement over January, when my overall total was 11.94. But is it really an improvement? This is double-point month at the club. Cut my total in half and I’m lagging.

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