Making a Comeback: Millions of People Are Hooked on Bridge
By MARNIE FERNANDEZ
CARD COLLEAUGUES: From left, Janie Funk, Jeannie Guthery and Mary Collins are ready for another hand of bridge at the Tulsa Bridge Club.
Some people may think of the game of bridge as a throwback to the 1970s, but its resurgence in today’s culture is real. Some might argue that it never went out of vogue to begin with. But whatever your stance – it is safe to say that today’s bridge game has taken on almost a cult-like obsession.
There are full-color glossy magazines dedicated just to bridge lovers. And if you like to travel? Well, that is just a bonus – you can find a bridge tournament in about every possible city, village, mountain town or island around the globe.
The American Contract Bridge League, or the , is a non-profit bridge association founded in 1937. Currently the league has 167,000 members nationally and there are more than 3,200 bridge clubs in North America alone.
In fact, just in the Tulsa area, there are eight active bridge clubs with more than 700 members. That is actually pretty impressive. According to Mary Collins, a retired Tulsan and active bridge player, bridge is alive and well in Green Country.
“Last year, the Tulsa Unit hosted a regional bridge tournament,” says Collins. “We had over 800 players and booked 300 hotel rooms during that time.”
“It’s a very popular sport for all ages, not just old folks,” Collins says with a grin. “There are life masters who are as young as thirteen.”
No matter in what part of the Tulsa area you live – there is somewhere you can go to play bridge.
“There are games at the Bridge Studio, the Broken Arrow Senior Center and the Jewish Community Center every day of the week in the immediate Tulsa area,” says Collins. “There are also sanctioned games in Muskogee, Bartlesville and Claremore.”
So, what is the big deal about bridge?
Let’s start from the beginning. Bridge (or contract bridge, as it is formally named) is a trick taking card game with four players – in two competing partnerships. It can be a very complicated game, but Collins says that shouldn’t scare someone off.
“Our bridge club has openings for novice players,” she says. “We want new people to come and learn – there are great resources available to help get you started.”
And not only is it a card game. Studies have proven that playing bridge can actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Skills needed to play bridge include memory, probability, tactics and communication.
“Bridge is the perfect game to keep your mind healthy and focused,” Collins says. “It’s a unique type of mental workout that is both relaxing and invigorating.”
Playing bridge uses both sides of the brain. Every time you play, you use your skills in communication, logic, memory, visualization and psychology. Research has also shown that playing bridge regularly helps improve reasoning skills and both long- and short-term memory. According to an article in the Washington Post, in some cases, playing bridge regularly has reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by almost 75 percent.
Not only does bridge improve your mental health, it also connects people.
“This is a very social game,” says Collins. “You have to have good communications with your partner and also your opponents. There is a special camaraderie that forms with groups that play bridge together – you work together as a team.”
The Tulsa Bridge Club located at 61st Street and Sheridan Road actively recruits new players. Every Thursday at noon, they host games for new and novice players who are looking for a friendly entry into a duplicate bridge competition.
For more information on joining the Tulsa Bridge Club, contact Mary Collins
at 918-760-2405 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.