Judy Kay-Wolff

Revisiting the Boy Scout Site

Yesterday was the beginning of the five day Sectional for Unit 373 in what I call ‘the hinterlands.’ I suppose we were all spoiled by the last ten years of our events being hosted by the Strip Hotels, easily reached from most locations. As far as travel accessibility to the current location from the outskirts, one can either take the slow route through congested areas with an inordinate amount of traffic lights or go on the super fast highways with speed limits of 65 MPH .. not too appealing especially returning home in the dark evening hours after the games.

Please understand .. as far as playing sites, this one was superb. It offered plenty of parking, a huge room with good lighting and nearby bathroom facilities. However, compared to days of yore, attendance was half of what it was at one time. I suppose we were spoiled by all the records broken by Las Vegas sites in the early years. Besides, against normal standard operating procedure, a local duplicate club which usually has a big draw decided to remain open which might have reduced the number who showed up at the Boy Scout facility. Arrangements were made for those who ordered in advance (for a measly ten bucks) to pre-select a choice of appealing lunches to enjoy between sessions, but the ‘break’ was over two hours … waaay too long for most. Our team actually sojourned to Applebee’s (a short ride or walk) where the food was terrific and moderately priced. It was packed with bridge players! However, being at hotels has spoiled us by allowing us the luxury of several eateries on the premises!

Las Vegas is far from the Glitter Gulch site of old. The Strip Hotel prices are out of sight (even with reduced rates) and previous unit commitments made ten years ago have put our treasury in deep trouble .. with no relief expected in the near future. Bridge players are not a welcome sight to the casinos as the players are either too good or don’t have the leisure time to visit the gaming tables. We are not welcome as in days of yore. In fact, the economy has taken its toll on our playing sites and I was told today that MGM is now considering (or actually) charging $15 per day for parking .. unheard of in the past. Certainly other hotels will follow suit.

However, in addition to all the above negatives, the event scheduling was not to be believed. Pair games were one thing .. but team events were what most considered an abomination and there was plenty of bitching! They handicapped the field and made it virtually impossible to get a fair shot to win. In fact, with a three way match in the finals, the team that was shocked to win, had actually lost to both of the teams in a three way final — but they were rescued by the handicap and won overall. I overheard many people discussing it as they left the premises and vowed not to serve as prey for the handicap system again. Sadly, bridge times have changed .. but not necessarily for the better!


Mac KennedyMarch 3rd, 2016 at 4:32 pm

Going to Applebee’s reminded me of a story from many years ago when I attended a Regional held in the ice less curling rink in North Bay a small city a little over 200 miles North of Toronto and a little further to Ottawa. It must have been the only tournament running that week because 2 pro teams the late Clarence Goppert and Kathy Wei (not Sender at the time) were in attendance. Now Ontario on Sunday, even Toronto, in the 70’s was predominantly dry and as a results few restaurants were open at the between session time. It was interesting seeing 2 wealthy patrons lining up for the 4.99 steak dinner, baked potato 50 cents extra, at a third rate cafeteria style steak house

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 3rd, 2016 at 5:51 pm

Hi Mac,

If we all put our thinking caps on, I’ll bet we can put together a collection of memories going back half a century (or more .. at least for me). I could probably write my own sequel to The Lone Wolff .. but my mind is too centered on following suit and avoiding costly errors these days.

The food scene (especially in Vegas) is a far cry from my first visit here .. for my honeymoon in 1963 with Norman. Stoney (a good friend of his who had lots of influence in Sin City) had us comped at The Flamingo (including meals) and it was like dying and going to heaven for an innocent gal from the East Coast who had not been exposed to the big time. Back then, what is now called “The Strip” .. had few hotels but lots of motor inns. The food courts were cheap .. anything to attract people to get them in the door to lose their money.

So, yes, I do appreciate your North Bay City story. I have not been to Canada recently .. but have glorious memories of trips to Montreal and Canada and spending time with a pair of my very favorites (often Norman’s teammates) .. Eric and Sami .. two wonderful credits to our game.

Thanks for sharing!

Mac KennedyMarch 3rd, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Forgot to mention DIC was our friend Stan T also from Ottawa

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 3rd, 2016 at 7:55 pm

I loved Stan Tench .. one of my favorites of all time. A terrific director and a delightful man!!! They don’t make them like him anymore!

Judith DahlmanMarch 9th, 2016 at 6:24 am

The difficulty of finding tournament sites reminds me of my time serving, with your daughter Robin, on the Board of the Greater New York Bridge Assiciation back in the 1990s. It was after the first terrorist attack (1983) on the World Trade Center, which resulted in the destruction of the Vista Hotel, and thus the loss of our playing site. We had to dip into our "rainy day fund". As one Board Member observed, "If a bomb isn't a rainy day, I don't know what is". We had to do a lot of scrambling and searching for alternate sites.
The following year, with Robin as President and me as the new Tournament Chair, the Vista was being rebuilt. I recall the two of us, touring the site, complete with hardhats. We joked we should have had a photo for the Unit's publication. This was in the days before smartphones and selfies, so it shall remain an undocumented memory.
I should add here that it has been a pleasure getting to know you here in Las Vegas, Judy. Another reason for me to thank your sweet daughter Robin, for introducing us.

Judith DahlmanMarch 9th, 2016 at 6:26 am

Correction: the bombing date was 1993. Fat fingers!

Judy Kay-WolffMarch 9th, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Hi Judith (see .. I remembered not to call you Judy)!

Seriously, I do remember something about your trek through the site under construction — hard hats and all. It seems like a lifetime ago but sadly the world is still living through a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, attendees are still talking about last week’s site. Luckily, our next tournament is scheduled at the Strip and it will be a welcome relief for most .. so much more convenient in dozens of ways. I guess I am just spoiled as we had marvelous tournament facilities in Philly but that was an eternity ago.

I do enjoy our Monday Panera get-togethers with the girls and sharing stores of days gone by. It was lovely getting to know you and Paul. Here’s to happy and healthy days here in Las Vegas.



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