For we are manly men

Playing bridge in a manly way. Mike Schneider, Jack Scott, Bob, Bill Heid, Mike Lippitt

Yes, we are manly men. Brawny men. Macho men.  Men who eat their meat raw. Men who smell bad.

Ok, maybe not.

I thought I’d write about the Mens Bridge game Bob Munson holds once a month, usually on the first Monday.

Two tables, just 8 of us.  And Bob frequently has to hunt around considerably to find 8, given how much travelling we all do.

The game is an individual; we each play 4 boards with everyone else as partner.  The scoring is imps,  with the NS at one table being the ‘teammates’ of the EW at the other table.  7 matches, 28 boards.  Losing all 7 matches is known as a “Friedman”, after the first person to accomplish that particular feat.

We play at the Oakwood Athletic Club, of which Danny Friedman is a member.  The have an enormous Great Hall, where we commandeer a couple of tables.  The other tables are often full of people who seem to make the club their office–there is wifi available, and I see business conducted, job interviews held, books being read and written.  I spoke to one woman who told me he husband had gotten a new puppy so she left him to take care of it and went to the club to do her work.  They have child care, so you see plenty of women coming in with a couple of little kids.  There is a snack bar, so we can eat.  It’s a great place to hold a game, much easier than moving around the various members houses, as we used to.

The standard of the game is quite high–we’re all pretty serious, experienced players. Munson, Bandler, Friedman, Michlmayr, Nagy,  Jack Scott, Bruce Tuttle, the big boys of local bridge.  This is no coffee klatsch. We’re in it for blood, since there are no masterpoints–Bob has never been interested in getting a sanction and making it an official ACBL game.

I think Bob started doing this sort of thing back in Indiana in his college days, when he could get the brothers Clerkin to come by and show the college boys how the game was supposed to be played.  He’s kept it up over the years as the one day a month where we can play dead serious bridge and talk the hands to death without heading off to a tournament.  Table commentary can be somewhat more, er, acerbic, than you would ordinarily find in the club, perhaps because the floors are awash in testosterone.

With only 2 tables, this game is by invitation only.  I substituted for quite a few years until I made the big leagues. Like any other group, you have to get along with the players as well as be a decent card player.  Some guy came by yesterday and wanted to just join, said he used to play a lot of big-time bridge, but none of us knew him. File his application under “don’t call us, we’ll call you”.

So if you’ve wondered where the boys go the first Monday of the month, wonder no more.  We’re bonding, without having to sit in a smoky tepee in our underwear and bang on drums. And we’ll be home for dinner.

One thought on “For we are manly men

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