Club bridge is alive and well.
If you’re reading this, online bridge is presumed to be fine, too.
The comparison between online and club bridge feels like the argument that compares eating in versus eating out.
Both involve doing something we’re all here for, but only one of the alternatives involves going out of the house for it.
Why do people play online bridge and club bridge? Well, why do people eat at restaurants and at home?
It’s the same experience, but in different ways.
Speaking of bridge clubs, that brings me to the actual point of this post.
What can’t (and shouldn’t) visiting or new members do when visiting theirs?
Here are 9 definitive bridge club don’ts.
1: Don’t Invite Yourself
Call ahead, or be invited to start with.
Bridge clubs have specific days set out for welcoming new or visiting members. Showing up at random guarantees that you might not be able to get a seat – or be shown the door straight away.
2: Don’t Show Up Late
Check the stated time for a bridge event, and don’t show up late.
There’s no point in wasting a club’s time if you’re only going to show up when your spot has already been taken by a vase, empty chair, or other player.
Don’t show up too hours early, either. That’s just unsettling.
3: Don’t Play Host
Bridge clubs have a flow, feel and natural rhythm.
As a guest, the worst thing you could do is to interrupt anything the club is normally doing.
Don’t take over, don’t offer unwanted advice, don’t comment on the venue, and definitely don’t try to play the host.
4: Don’t Bring Allergens
It’s a good idea to bring snacks. It’s a bad idea to bring allergen triggers.
People can be allergic to a vast array of things. It’s best to call the club ahead of time and ask about possible allergies.
Common allergies (for example, peanuts) should be avoided. Don’t forget that rare ones are possible.
The danger of allergens can also extend to handling these allergens, or cross-contaminating with them. Always keep this in mind during any food preparation and transport.
5: Don’t Wear Heavy Perfumes
Heavy perfumes in a closed space can be a nightmare, but it can also be a potential danger.
Respiratory conditions just don’t respond well to heavy perfumes. Avoid them when you’re planning on going to a bridge club. While you might not notice it, if everyone else at the table is tearing up, scale it down a little upon your next visit.
6: Don’t Gossip
I’ve heard a lot of club-and-player gossip.
But I’ve never repeated a word.
Gossip always bites back. Don’t be the person who starts it, and don’t be the person who indulges other people who have already begun.
It doesn’t matter what you think of so-and-so: how’s their bridge game? It’s all that counts at the table.
7: Don’t Spam Club Groups
I know a lot of clubs who do their management through groups on platforms like WhatsApp. I also know how soon these groups can go south.
Don’t spam club groups. Keep discussions relevant, and know what to keep out of the group.
Annoying the entire club by messaging the group like a clingy ex? That guarantees they’ll never want you back.
8: Don’t Be Rude
Nobody likes a rude partner or opponent.
If you are the rude partner or opponent, it could mean that nobody eventually likes you.
Should you feel like another player has gone against this rule, speak to the appropriate person in charge of the club.
9: Don’t Lose (Or Win) Badly
Competitive spirit means that you enjoy playing the game, but never that you’ll shoot three other card players to win it.
A bad loser (or winner) has a few character traits they should work on. The good news is that statistical variation means winning and losing some of the time.
Always remember what playing the game is about.