I accidentally shrank the pictures. Oops. I’m going to run with is for a moment. Yesterday Burt and I popped down to Butte to play Bridge with our home club. It was our first time playing in Butte. When we joined the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) we were in Virginia. Our friend Kevin O’Brien recommended we join. In Virginia membership gave us discounted and even free games because we were beginners. They know how to groom new Bridge addicts in some areas. So we signed up under Kevin’s club but we weren’t under his unit. The ACBL uses our Clancy, MT address and it would be normal to assign Clancy residents to Helena but somehow we got Butte. So Butte became our club of record. I never paid it any mind.
Burt and I have gone on our merry way playing Bridge hither and yon for almost two years since Kevin signed us up. Most games we play are in Mexico but for new players we have a lot of mileage. So far we’ve in addition to our Todos Santos unit we’ve hit California, Oregon, Washington, South Carolina, Arizona, Montana, and Virginia. We tried to find games in Spain and Italy but language barriers made the internet sites indecipherable. Then came the phone call. Last year I received a call from a person asking me why I was signed up as a member of the Butte 406 Unit. I said (this is true) I had no idea I was a member of the Butte unit. This person was peeved. How could I not know? I told her the ACBL must have put us in Butte because our address is in Clancy. She asked me to consider switching to Helena’s club. I told her we never played in Helena either and so it wasn’t worth the effort. I explained we traveled full time and it wasn’t worth picking a different club. Click. I was stunned by the short, terse conversation. What was the big deal? Butte gets a portion of our dues. I figured they’d be happy to have money from absentee players.
Now I know why this was so touchy. I was winning the local points race for my skill level and nobody knew who I was. I’d edged out the locals in a masterpoints race. The Mini-McKenney is an intra-club stratified competition. They who earn the most points for their strata in a year win. The local Mini-McKenney prize was going to a mystery lady that had never played a hand in their club. I wouldn’t like that much myself. In my defense, I had no idea I was in some race for points. I found this out when I met a Butte player in the local regional tournament here in Helena a few weeks ago. This woman was very happy to make our acquaintance when I said, “Hey, we’re members of your club.” She lit up and said, “I know who you are!” Bev took out her phone and called up the ACBL web site and showed me I was the winner of a points race in Butte for beginner players. She thought they gave the prize to someone else. I said, “That seems fair.”
Yesterday was the once a month Sunday game in Butte. After Bev’s warm welcome and a follow-up email with an invitation to come play, Burt and I decided it was time to meet our people. We took the hour drive to Butte and arrived just in time to sit down. We tried to get there earlier but road construction slowed the trip. I wasn’t in my chair two minutes when I was awarded the medal for the 0 to 5 points Mini-Mckenney. No ceremony, no words, just the draping of the medal around my neck while I sat at the table. Butte saved the prize for me. What a shock. Thank you, Butte. Thank you, Burt. And thank you Todos Santos Bridge Beauties for all the excellent games this winter. With all of your support I’m in the lead to win the 6 to 20 medal this year. I better knuckle down and stay focused.
Yesterday’s game was a nice round for us. We came in second in our flight and fifth overall. We both know what went wrong and were pleased to not embarrass ourselves our first trip home.