Monday, April 28, 2014

The Gatlinburg Game

You can just feel the excitement.
Bridge is a partnership game, which is one of the things that makes it so much fun.  Having said that, I never quite "got" how many relationship skills bridge requires until Maggie and I sat across the table from each other for what seemed like zillions of hours last week at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Bridge Tournament in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  At its heart, a bridge partnership is about communication; the better you and your partner communicate, the greater the likelihood that you will do well.  (In case you're wondering, a kick under the table or a deer in the headlights look when your partner leaves you in an unexpected contract does not count as "communication.")   Over the course of a 10+ hour day spent with cards in your hands, there are a lot of highs and lows. The trick is to figure out how to enjoy the highs without losing focus and learn from the lows without getting (too) irritated with each other.  Yep, it's a lot like life.

Maggie and me atop the Smoky Mountains
The other thing I learned last week is that it is key to incorporate non-bridge events into a bridge "vacation."  Happily, Maggie and I had the good sense to do that.  Really, what's the point of being in the Smoky Mountains if you spend all of your time sitting in a conference center?   And so one morning we headed up on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, a 2-mile ride that drops you at the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park.    From there we took a chair lift up to this magnificent view of the mountains.  While I love living in Florida, it is a bit flat here, so taking in this vista was thoroughly enjoyable (especially without the prospect of getting down the mountain with skis on).  The only downside of our adventure was that I spent the rest of our time in Gatlinburg with the song "On Top of Old Smoky" in my head--the "meatball" version, of course.

I had been told that Gatlinburg was not a cultural mecca, but I took that to mean that it would be a two horse town.  Nope.  There's lots of entertainment in the area.  On our way from the Knoxville airport to Gatlinburg, Maggie and I drove through Pigeon Forge, a town chock full of strange attractions like Dollywood and a Titanic museum and the Hatfield and McCoys dinner theater.  Maggie was highly intrigued by the mysterious WonderWorks, an upside down building that is apparently an interactive museum of some sort. (Next time, Maggie!)   Gatlinburg itself offered diversions like moonshine tasting and this "Wheel of Death" outside the Amazing Mirror Maze.  I was just as happy to be at the bridge table.

For any bridge players out there, I'm pleased to report that Maggie and I came away from the tournament with 2+ gold points (after miraculously having a 63% game one night) and 4+ red points.  More importantly, we had a lot of laughs, and both our friendship and our partnership remain intact (although there were a couple of touch and go moments!)  And gluttons for punishment that we are, we're already looking at the ACBL website for future opportunities to do it all over again.   

1 comment:

  1. nanette - lovely summary of our trip, and thanks again for being so generous with forgiving me for my outburst!


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