It felt like coming home, that ACBL-wide game last Saturday at the Airport Bridge Club – the first game there since mid-December, when club manager Bill Finkelstein underwent abdominal surgery. Home to the picture-backed cards. Home to a few players like Ruth Hnath whom I hadn’t seen in six weeks because they won’t play at the other clubs. Home to the manager’s kvetching. Yes, we missed that, too.
Bill was grumpier than usual. Three days after the tube draining his abdomen was removed, he wasn’t feeling good down there. (Barely an hour into the game he announced that he was not resuming his every-day schedule after all, but would be open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.) And then there was the condition of the club itself, which substitute director Mike Silverman had left in less than perfect order.
But he had the pre-dealt hands ready (I’d brought the cards over to his house the previous day) and the hand records printed and off we went, more or less on time, with 7½ tables, eight after the first round when a pair from Toronto wandered in late after their GPS got them lost.
Marilyn Sultz and I played them on the third round and that was when we started thinking we wouldn’t have a good day. Vera and Ali, I think those were their names, trounced us thoroughly – in four hands, we got just 4 game points out of a possible 24, capped by a doubled 6 Spades-down-three sacrifice bid to foil their certain 5 No Trump – and they sailed to first by a wide margin – 10 % or so – collecting the big 15 master point bonanza, since this was the only club in the district hosting the special ACBL game. Marilyn and I finished with 47.32%, which sounds respectable, but was actually last in the tightly-clustered East-West scores until Bill made a correction and another pair dropped 1/100 of a percent behind us.
So much for the golden opportunity to make up for my January point shortage. But not the only one. The Airport Club would be holding an extra-point game on Tuesday. Atonements could be made. But then Bill Finkelstein went back into the hospital Sunday. After delays in the hospital, he canceled Tuesday’s game on Monday afternoon.