Previously, our “heroine” MA and his teammates were seen leaving the premises of the Orange County Regional having once again failed at mining the measly 0.06 gold points needed to promote MA to the grand status of Life Master. As a few of my readers have pointed out (and I must say that it is fulfilling to have readers) our “heroine” is, in fact, a “hero”. Thus, this story must commence with the gender alteration procedures that were completed between September and now.
That being settled, our “hero”, at the urging of his teammates, decided to venture up to the Riverside Regional this past Saturday, to once again take a stab at claiming those elusive nuggets of gold in the Compact Knockout event. With a new teammate in tow (hey, we were willing to bring in Meckstroth and/or Rodwell at this point, but didn’t have their cell numbers), we left San Diego at 8:30 a.m. to make the 1:30 long trek for a 10:30 a.m. game start. Things were moving along famously when at 9:45, about 8 1/2 miles from the Riverside Convention Center, traffic on I-215 North came to a grinding halt. Not to worry, we had 45 minutes to navigate the final portion. Having moved about 1/4 mile over the next 15 minutes, there was still no panic amongst MA’s crew. We gave thought to driving in the service lane, and if caught, explaining the urgency of getting to our destination on time, you know, with the gold points at stake, etc., etc. At 10:15 we realized that I-215 North was closed at CA Highway 60, and that all traffic was being diverted onto 60 East. Hmmm. Time to wrestle with our GPS’s. Our destination was northwest of our location, so we got off at the first possible exit in order to reverse direction onto 60 West, hopefully buying a few moments for our GPS’s to set a new course. One of MW’s teammates sent a humorous note into the Bridge Bulletin that intimates that the driver (your author) started cutting off vehicles and darting in and out of traffic at this point. Let me assure you that no women and children were injured, but ok, maybe one car was, um, a bit cut off. I didn’t hear any honks to complain, so thanks for their support. And it should be noted that the driver was raised in the east coast, and well, Life is a rotary. Without too many moving violations having been committed, the car pulled into the lot at exactly 10:30. My three teammates exited, rushing up the stairs and onto the entry desk, while I parked the vehicle. I was told when I reached them that they beat another team by 15 seconds to buy the 64th, and final, berth into the event. There was a lot of excitement being exhibited already, and we had yet to play a hand.
Our team was entered into a 16 team bracket (#3) and started the morning session with a solid win. All of us knew, at this point, that all we needed for MA to get his gold was for us to win the second match and get to the afternoon session’s semi-finals. Even striking out after that would yield 2.64 gold. Like teammates of a baseball pitcher hurling a no hitter, we didn’t want to jinx things, so we simply left that unsaid.
In the second round, we faced a team which included Maxine Smart, a woman in a similar position to our hero, needing a few gold crumbs to earn her own Life Master status. When the round ended, we tallied up the score, and had our side winning by the narrow margin of 2 VP’s. I went over the the opponents’ table, and they confirmed. In one final moment to get MA’s goat, I returned to our table with the news that the opponents had scored the round as a tie…………………..Not (I couldn’t handle the color on MA’s face).
We had done it! MA was escorted over to the Hospitality desk to be photographed, as is the custom for those who attain Life Master status at Regional tournaments.
For good measure, we played out the string, winning the 3rd and 4th rounds to win the Bracket 3 event and earn 7.53 gold points. What will MA do with all of these extra gold points? And thus the San Diego duplicate bridge community can now welcome the newest Life Master, MA (Mark Austerlitz). Congratulations, buddy.