Busting bridge myths
By EMMA CORNFORD
FOR some, the game of bridge draws the image of a roomful of older ladies sitting around tables, drinking tea and having a friendly card game.
But ask 2005 Grafton Bridge Club champions Heather Grant and Frank Campbell and they will tell you how wrong that stereotype is.
"It used to be the case that wives would go and play while their husbands were at work, but now with everyone working, if people take it up they do it in their retirement," Mrs Grant said.
"But it's a very competitive game. People change when they get around a bridge table."
Indeed, times are a changing. A quick internet search reveals hundreds of bridge clubs, online playing sites and hints and tips.
Mr Campbell, who has only played the game for four years, pointed out that the World Youth Bridge championships were only recently held in Sydney and were quite successful.
"I think a lot of people are like me and wish they hadn't wasted the past 30 or 40 years not playing bridge," he said.
Mrs Grant and Mr Campbell won the Grafton club championship late last year after a heated four-week competition. Both from Yamba, they play competitively in Grafton because it is affiliated with the Australian Bridge Federation.
"I've been playing for around 20 years. I started playing in Switzerland to meet people and make friends when I was living over there," Mrs Grant said.
"It keeps my mind active. It's a great game," said Mr Campbell.
Some people, though not those who dabble in the game, say bridge is similar to euchre. But according to Mr Campbell, 'comparing euchre with bridge is like comparing a scooter with a formula one motorbike'.
"You never really know how to play bridge fully," said Mrs Grant.
"You're always learning."
The pair will head to the Gold Coast next month to compete in a bridge congress. Is it the trophies that draws them?
"Oh no, not at all. It's just the personal satisfaction of playing well."