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World Bridge Day

On Friday, February 16th, I walked into the CharlottesvilleT'aiChi Center. Hiromi Johnson greeted me there, not recognizing me at first. After a couple of seconds, she remembered me while helping me get signed up for that morning's T'ai Chi for Beginners class. Several years previously, I had taken some classes under her previous incarnation as Hiromi T'ai Chi.

I knew Hiromi socially before embarking on taking a few T'ai Chi classes from her with my then-girlfriend. It didn't take, at least not that time. This time seemed like it might be different.

"What an omen,"Hiromi remarked, "you are starting to study T'ai Chi on Chinese New Year."

We were both delighted by this revelation! My therapist had recently suggested that I start studying some type of martial art, so I found myself in such an unlikely happy circumstance.

Studying T'ai Chi has helped me to be in the moment, concentrate on the slightest movement and really live a much fuller and richer life. It's challenging, fun, and a good way to socialize. Plus, I really like the form. It probably helped that Josh Waitzkin talks extensively about T'ai Chi in his book The Art of Learning which I have referenced previously here on Bridge Winners.

On April 28th we celebrated World T'ai Chi Day by doing the entire 100-step form in the iX Art Park in Charlottesville. As of this writing I know the first 6(?) or steps. 50 or so of Hiromi's students showed up on the sun-baked day for the 10am exhibition as patrons on the Brazos Tacos patio got to watch us move together while eating breakfast.

This got me thinking about having a World Bridge Day. On almost a daily basis, some national or world day is being celebrated many for seemingly no reason. Let's not be one of those!

I hereby propose making September 30th, 2018 the inaugural World Bridge Day. This happens to fall during the playing of the World Championships in Orlando, but that is not why I chose this date. Rather, I chose September 30th as World Bridge Day because it would be my aunt Kathleen's 75th birthday. Kathleen is my mother's oldest sister and she introduced me to bridge.

It was during my freshman year of college at the University of Virginia. My grandfather had died and Kathleen was staying with my parents for the funeral. I came home too and one night we sat down to play hearts. As I went about explaining the house rules, such as "Jack of diamonds is -10 points", Kathleen remarked, "This is stupid, we should be playing bridge!" How right she was. I did not play hearts for close to another 20 years.

While there will be a number of Bridge Winners readers focused on competing in the world championships in Orlando this September 30th, the vast majority of bridge players will not. I suggest that we each make it our goal on September 30th to introduce one friend or acquaintance to the game. Take your time, between now and September 30th to really think hard about whom that one person might be. Think about how you can teach them the game. What new ways are there to enthrall the new player that you might not have previously considered. Then report back. Happy hunting!

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