After competing with reasonable success in the Penticton Regional this year, our little team of four aspiring players decided to take a shot at the big time.
We booked flights and accommodations for the San Diego NABC, arriving there on Thursday evening of November 23, the hottest Thanksgiving in San Diego ever at 85 F. Not the best time to arrive in the US as most restaurants are closed to allow for turkey dinners with family. Following a semi-successful Friday morning compact KO we looked for something appropriate to our rating. The afternoon featured the start of a “Senior Knockout Teams”. Should be right up our alley, all of us being seniors (60+ and even ++).
So we pay our money (having to pay for two 30-board games at $25 each US did not seem unreasonable given this was a special game and the Nationals after all) and Keith and I get to a table where a pleasant “young” man named Mike is already seated, shuffling cards in a very professional manner. He asks us what our seeding points are. Well that’s easy enough, we don’t have any. Soon his partner Bob shows up. They’re both very proficient players and after 15 boards, have a comfortable lead. Bob does compliment us on our fast play: “You guys play in very good tempo”.
This being half the boards, they are replaced by their teammates, Jeff and Eric, also pretty good players. Their faces seem familiar, where could we have seen them before? In any case it’s soon over and they have a huge lead.
Meanwhile at the other table, our partners are battling it out with Nick and Ralph who also have a coach. Holly and Esther manage a grand slam (not bid) where the opponents (Eric and Jeff) at our table only make six, so our defence was working well for that board at least. They also put the opponents down 1 in a slam try. But that’s not enough and we concede, trailing by 100+ points.
Although we did not win, it was an interesting learning experience. We now know that “Senior” has different meanings and is not necessarily related to the age of the players.
And we got to play against the top rated team of Frank Nickell, Ralph Katz, Robert Levin, Michael Rosenberg, Eric Rodwell and Jeff Meckstroth who were very kind to us despite our obvious blunder in signing up against the big boys.
For the rest of the week, we decided it was best to stay with our peers and play in regional-rated knockouts.
Playing 18 games over 8 days, we manage to win one KO and place in a few others for a total of 40+, mainly gold, points.
So an exhilarating and exhausting week. Fortunately, San Diego has some decent microbreweries and eateries and we were able to revive ourselves daily before tackling new challenges.
Holly Boudreau, Esther Wiebe, Keith Hibbert and JP Weber