Taking a year off to celebrate
Normally at this time of year I would be announcing my class and event schedule for the coming season.
Jane and I have decided to pull the plugs on our day jobs. She's finishing up at the end of November at JPL, and I'm joining her from DreamWorks Animation at the end of February. It's a slightly scary and exciting thing to do.
We've decided to take 2019 for ourselves. We want to have lots of unstructured time: take mid-week astronomy excursions to the desert, play tons of bridge, go to all the big tournaments, and listen to lots of live classical music and jazz.
We're taking a sabbatical year with very few firm commitments.
Closing the Monday night bridge club
December 17 will be the last scheduled game for the BridgeMojo Monday night club. Let's make it a game and a party.
I know that sounds like crazy talk.
In a sense, those of you who have been playing are my first "graduating class" of players prepared to play in tournaments and clubs anywhere. I've also proven some concepts and techniques that I'll continue to draw on in my own and other clubs.
We have eight more Monday evening games, which will bring us to fifty games held. In the next eight games, we will hold two "club championship" games with extra masterpoints, two silver-point STaC games, and one Swiss Team game.
No scheduled bridge classes in 2019
Not having scheduled classes through PCC doesn't mean I won't be teaching.
With more unstructured time available to me, I will be able to offer private lessons for small groups or partnerships. I'll be available to play as a partner/coach in club games or the occasional tournament.
Up until now, I've turned down all requests for private bridge instruction. That is changing in 2019.
What comes next
"The past is history, the future a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." I can't say what comes next for certain, but I do have dreams and ideas.
Of the commitments I am making for 2019, Jane and I will be attending the NABCs in Memphis (spring) and Las Vegas (summer), and will be accompanying Audrey Grant on a 36-day Crystal cruise starting next December.
I will continue to support and coordinate the North American Pairs tournament for District 23.
I may fill in occasionally for directors who can't make a game, but will decline any regular schedule at least for now. (Directing open games is one of the most stressful sleep-depriving things I've ever done. Be nice to your directors!)
I might have 10-15 good years after my 2019 sabbatical. If a good location presents itself, I plan to start researching opening the Pasadena Bridge Club as a full-time club sometime in 2020.
I dream of it being a bridge club that could match the aspirations of brand new and experienced players. There's no reason it shouldn't compare with the great bridge clubs of New York or London. It could be the center for coaching and mentoring for Pasadena Youth Bridge (which doesn't exist yet). I imagine it being able to justify a $25/game card fee, but maybe only charge $15 or $20. It could be a destination for traveling bridge players. I'd love to build a bridge club that's not a dump.
Or it could just be more inexpensive retail space in a strip mall. ;-)
One of the things I'll be doing during my sabbatical is visiting and playing in bridge clubs everywhere to steal all their best ideas.
I believe I can find the means to do all these things, and I know I have support from players and students. I firmly believe this isn't the end of anything so much as it is the beginning. One door closes, another opens.