Kathy Angione decided to start a bridge club. This is Part 1 of her story, told in the first person.
I did something crazy. I started a bridge club. This would not be considered crazy for many people, but considering my personality, it was crazy for me. I had no idea what I didn’t know, and no idea what I needed to know – but I jumped in thinking “How hard could it be?” I had passed a Director’s test several years ago but I had totally forgotten why I didn’t pursue a directing career. It was so hard! I didn’t understand about what movements to pick and why, the rulings were complicated and the program was poorly written and outdated. I never thought about it again, not even when I decided to start a bridge club. I thought it was convenient that I already had my Director’s license so I researched which classes to teach and then got my ACBL teaching credentials, bought some teaching materials, and was on my way.
Next, I had to find a place and find people. That was a little harder than I anticipated. After hitting many venues, I went to my local homeowners’ association meeting and convinced them that the homeowners needed a bridge club. They took pity on me and allowed me to use the clubhouse, but only for homeowners and only for one day. Oh well, I would worry about that limitation later.
I realized that bridge is not a headline grabber, so I offered the first six lessons for free with snacks and refreshments. I had fun making cute little flyers, found a printer, and had hundreds of flyers made up. I went to local parking lots and did what most people hate: I stuck the flyers on their windshield wipers. I posted flyers on mailboxes all over the area, so many that I thought I might attract forty to fifty people! I was so excited and nervous with anticipation. What good food would I make? Whatever I make, I better make a lot!
OK, so I made a bunch of food and only had a few people; a little disappointing, but it was way too early to give up on the idea. Besides, I’d already invested so much time and money (little did I know what was i store). I slugged away at this, and realized that the learning curve to teach bridge to people was immense. It was beginning to feel like BUILDING AN ARMY BY HAVING BABIES.
Maybe instead of growing a club of bridge players by teaching, I should just start a game with the people that already know how to play. That meant I would need a place other than my homeowners’ clubhouse. I went to all of the local facilities and found I could rent the City’s recreation room, and although I didn’t have any card tables, I arranged for the City’s Senior Center to lend them to me. I applied to the ACBL to sanction the game.
Well, if I was going to have a bridge club and a sanctioned game, maybe I better have a website to attract people and post things like game results and times and directions. How hard could it be to build a website? Anybody who had a business in this day and age had a website for Pete’s sake! I hopped on the World Wide Web and purchased a tutorial on “How to Build a Website”. How much fun is that? Start with a totally blank page and you have unlimited colors and images to play with, all available for free off the web. I became engrossed in learning how it all worked and found myself up late in the wee hours learning and researching all I needed to know to play with my new coloring and printing book (my website). After purchasing a domain name and a space on the server, my website was ready to fly.
To visit Kathy’s website go to www.eastlakebridgeclub.com. Look for Part 2 (My First Game) soon.