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While on a visit to South Florida, I decided to stop in at Jourdan's today to see if there was anyone I knew there. Jourdan's is one of the largest clubs in the country, but it has a irregular pro scene due to the fact that many of its professional players frequently travel the country. I walked in, scanned the tables in the front of the club, saw no one I knew, and proceeded to the middle of the room to glance at the tables in the back. A small lady with reddish-gold hair asked me if she could help me, but she did so in a way that made it clear that I wasn't wanted there. Another woman with salt-and-pepper hair and a British accent also seemed alarmed. A balding man with dark hair sat at a computer, seemingly keeping to himself.

I explained that I was looking to see if there was anyone I knew in the club that day. I glanced at the back of the room, saw no one I knew, and turned to leave. The man at the desk said, "Sir, please look over there." I started to turn and saw that the woman with salt-and-pepper hair had a large iPad pointed at me. It was only at this moment that I realized what was going on. These people weren't just being rude – they thought I might be a criminal!

I could have just let them photograph me and leave, but that didn't feel right. I had entered their business, and rather than welcoming me in as potential business, they treated me in a condescending manner and then made it clear that they thought I was up to no good. They were obviously convinced enough of the latter that they made no effort to be subtle about their concern. So, I decided to "save my reputation" and prove that I was actually a bridge player.

Ok, at this point, I know I've opened myself to a million possible insults and jabs from all the members on this site (you call yourself a bridge player? what kind of bridge player chose option 'c' on that poll last week? when's the last time you finished well in a serious event? oh, never? etc.). Consider your sorry asses preempted.

But how to prove who I am to a bridge club? To This bridge club? To be honest, I was a little insulted and wanted to show them that I was not only not a criminal, but also actually a reasonable player. First, I negotiated that they put down their iPad and let me show them who I was. I told them to google me, but instead, they just looked me up on their masterpoint search. "1500 masterpoints." remarked the man, whose name is Phil. He continued, "That's puts you just out of Flight C." He said both of these final things with a tone that suggested that I was no true bridge player and that his club was so high level that 1500 was the barrier for Fight C. At this point, the tension lowered slightly, Ola, the aforementioned head of security iPad photos, suggested that I might improve my game by watching an ancient well-known client play with one of her peers. I held my tongue and left.  

On the plus side, I wasn't arrested. On the other hand, what if I wasn't an ACBL member? What if I were just learning to play and was friends with a number of bridge players? What if their computer system wasn't working today? It goes without saying that if I were at least 50 or 60 years old, this never would have been an issue. I would have been greeted with open arms. If this is how our bridge clubs react to young people, our game will truly die out.

Fortunately, in my experience most clubs treat all people who enter their premises with kindness and respect. From the first day I entered The Bridge Deck, the owners treated me like I was a member of their family. I don't want to give anyone the impression that these paranoid snobs of Boca Raton are the norm.

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