Sisters Bridge Club to offer free lessons


Last updated 1/9/2024 at 9:42am

Photo by Craig Eisenbeis

The Sisters Bridge Club, which meets at Sisters Community Church, will offer free bridge lessons starting Monday, January 22.

Every few years the Sisters Bridge Club gears up to offer free bridge lessons to anyone who is interested in learning or reacquainting themselves with the

game. So, the club wants to get the word out that free lessons will start up later this month! Organizers are interested in recruiting - and mentoring - new players, especially since some past players have migrated out of the area; and snowbird lifestyles also create plenty of room for newcomers.

Jane Bubak is one of the group's leaders and said, "We have a vibrant group of bridge players and are always looking for more players. We encourage anyone interested to come join us in the lessons and try it out. It's good for the brain and good for the soul."

Georgie Floyd is one of the newest players and spoke up in her New Zealand accent, "The Sisters Bridge club is so friendly and welcoming. The lessons gave me the confidence to play on a regular basis. Having recently moved to Sisters, joining the club has helped me feel part of the Sisters Community."

Lessons will be on Mondays, beginning January 22, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and continue through March 11. Regular club play is on Thursdays, starting at 12:30 p.m. For the last few years, the Sisters Community Church has hosted the club. The church is located at 1300 West McKenzie Highway, near the Sisters Middle School. The Sisters Bridge Club has been active for more than 40 years, and its meeting places over that time blend right into Sisters history.

Started in 1980 by Carol Cheney, owner of the Plum Pretty store, the club's first home was in the old Sisters fire station until the popularity of the weekly bridge gatherings grew to the point where the fire chief felt that it interfered with firefighters' duties.

From there, the club played upstairs in the Sisters Hotel before moving to the Cloverdale schoolhouse. After that, the Episcopal Church played host for more than a decade. That was before the church's expansion, and some of the older players had difficulty with the steep stairs into the basement; so, about that time, the new clubhouse at The Pines became available and was home for many years. When the decision came to sell The Pines clubhouse, however, the Community Church stepped in to provide the present venue for the club.

The format for the past 40 years has been, and will continue to be, a very low key version of social contract bridge and definitely not a high-pressure scenario. Social interaction is the club's primary goal, and the idea is just to have fun. Participants contribute two dollars each week, half of which goes for that day's high score prizes and half for operating expenses. There is also a 25 cent grand slam pot; and, if you don't know what a grand slam is in bridge, why not check out the free classes.

In addition to Bubak, current club organizers include Barbara Brockway and Donna Carter. Georgie Floyd and Lee Lucas have also volunteered to contribute to the lessons.

Lucas commented, "I am drawn to bridge because of the challenges it poses of a mathematical nature. I look at bidding as the most challenging aspect of bridge...." With a self-deprecating smile, Lucas added, "Bridge is a game I can play no matter how old and feeble I get."

Bubak is among many of the current members who played the game years ago but stopped for one reason or another. "I learned beginner bridge as a teenager," she said, "but then work, family and difficulty finding the opportunity got in the way. The Sisters Bridge Club took me in. I met friendly folks who showed me how intricate the game can be and how there is always something more to learn. And sometimes you surprise yourself and win!"

Brockway added, "Every Thursday is a new game of strategy, both offensively and defensively. You are dealt a new hand each time. You and your partner must work together to complete your contract. At the same time, friendships are made, new partnerships are created, and your brain gets that weekly workout."

Long celebrated as a pathway to building and maintaining brain power, the game of bridge is descended from a 16th century card game called whist, which was popular among the English nobility of that era. In Turkey, during the 1890s, the game began to evolve into its current form and rapidly spread around the globe, quickly finding a home in the United States. The next major change occurred around the turn of the last century, in France, where the partners were required to predict how many "tricks" their partnership could win.

The present form of "contract" bridge, and its scoring, was developed by the wealthy American Harold Vanderbilt during a steamship cruise in 1925. Harold was the great-grandson of the railroad and shipping tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The popularity of bridge reached its zenith in this country during the 1930s and 1940s. For a time, bridge rivaled baseball as a top national interest and was frequently featured in Sports Illustrated. Like the sports doping scandals of recent years, cheating scandals rocked the bridge world at international tournaments in the 1970s. Although television and electronics have siphoned off interest over the years, the game continues to be recognized as one of the best and most popular methods of sharpening mental acuity and social skills.

Those interested in playing or learning bridge are encouraged to contact Jane Bubak at 541-977-2218. She will be pleased to answer questions and provide information about lessons. The club will also help newcomers find partners if necessary.


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