Judy Kay-Wolff

Sad Reflections

Reading Bridge Winners on line I was very disheartened to observe all the animosity regarding Canada and the United States as far as bridge competition.  Growing up as a child and all through my school years, we thought of the two nations as comprising North America, the main difference between the climates – especially the southern extremities of the U. S 

When I first arrived on the bridge scene, Norman and Edgar were playing on teams with Eric Murray and Sami Kehela, et al.  No one thought of the difference of nationalities.   We were one big happy family and the relationship continued for decades.   In fact, I must confess that one of the most delightful Hall of Fame Inductions was a year or two before Norman died when Eric and Sami were inducted (albeit in an untimely fashion) in Toronto to throngs of cheers who appreciated this popular pair.   It was like an hour long comedy act and with their usual routines, they stole the show.

In fact, Eric wrote the foreword to The Lone Wolff and I speak to him once or twice a year.   This morning I learned from him that he had a serious automobile accident two months ago but that he is coming along slowly and asked if Bobby and I attend the Toronto Nationals to be sure and let him know and he will drive over and meet us for dinner. 

Of course, before Bridge Winners banter, being a “female’ I never thought of the ugly political issues of Canadian/U.S. competition and all the resentment because of so many super Maple Leaf Players jumping ship and moving  to the States to play professionally and abandoning  their birth country – creating  a sharp dearth in the top Canadian bridge community.  However, can anyone blame them for trying to better themselves, doing something they adore and getting paid to do it?


Linda LeeMay 31st, 2011 at 12:34 pm

It makes sense that some of the top players from Canada will move to the United States. I was talking to one such young player a few days ago. You cannot make a living playing bridge in Canada. Its great that those who want to can find a way to work in the U.S.

I love both countries and I think of us all as family. In fact, I have lots of family in the US. I think most Canadians do too.

I cant imagine why there would be animosity.

markMay 31st, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Between NZ and Australia there is a similar situation, not just for Bridge. New Zealand being the Canada 🙂

Like Linda we need to be realistic, you can’t make a living …, and it is great to see Stephen Burgess, Paul Marston or Ishmael Del Monte back here for tournaments.

Zia would never have got as far as he has staying in Pakistan.

Perhaps a bit like soccer, you have a world cup but if you want to see the best play in the world watch the Barcelona – Man. United match in the UEFA league, noone cares about the nationality of the players there.

Gary M. MugfordJune 1st, 2011 at 5:59 am


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Canada has an inferiority complex when it comes to the USA. We’re like the kid brother to the big athletic star. We worship while resenting all the attention paid to the bigger, older sibling. It’s human nature really.

Now, another trait we Canadians generally share is toughness. So, we relish every opportunity to kick big bro’s butt. And ya, any time one of ours joins the other side, it’s teeth-gritting time. But time does march on and there’s precious few who hold the grudge forever. I haven’t liked some of the ex-pat Canucks and that hasn’t changed with time. But I didn’t like them BEFORE they moved. I’m the rare Canadian who DOES hold grudges.

Like Mark mentioned, any close relationship between two near-by countries with mismatched sizes is going to run just about the same way. And in all those situations, if something threatened the two countries combined in whatever manner, they’d cleave so fast, the opposition’s heads would spin.

So, don’t read anything into any of the rampant hostility you think you’re reading about. It’s just a family spat that you’ve been witness to. And like all other spats, this too shall pass (only to be replaced with another one [G]).

Looking forward to you coming to Toronto this summer. I won’t be playing a full slate, but a couple of buddies have inveigled me into coming out of retirement. Again.

Peace, GM

Judy Kay-WolffJune 1st, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Dear Gary:

It just made me sad as I always thought of them as the good neighbor policy. However,

the resentment was obvious as Canadians are very proud people.

As of now, we are not planning to visit Toronto but are leaving Saturday for Detroit where Bobby is playing in the senior trials.

However, just like bridge, life is unpredictable

so who knows what could happen to change our minds between now and then.

Peace to you too, jkw

Judy Kay-WolffJune 1st, 2011 at 2:35 pm


I agree with you whole-heartedly but we are not in the position of the potential professional Canadians who either sweat it out up North or cross the border for more money and a job they love.


Judy Kay-WolffJune 1st, 2011 at 2:38 pm


I understand the New Zealand/Australian

situation you mentioned. I guess proximity of countries and competition make it a real problem — simply a question of priorities.

To each his own.


Steven GaynorJune 2nd, 2011 at 10:13 am

Lots of people, including myself, have left their original hometowns to live in a different venue. I feel it has expanded my understanding of people in general and has been a positive experience. We should not think less of those who do the same – life is too short not to sample what is out there in this big wonderful world!

Those who complain may actually be closet admirers of the wanderers who had the stones to cut their local umbilical cord and explore something new.

Judy Kay-WolffJune 2nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm


Well expressed!


Jay KriplaniJune 5th, 2011 at 7:06 am

I think it is rather childish and naive to resent players moving to places with better opportunities. Don’t people who grow up in rural areas or smaller towns move to cities to improve their lot?

Judy Kay-WolffJune 5th, 2011 at 10:46 am


I believe one thing you are overlooking is that with the migration of Canada’s great young superstars, it has depleted the resources of the MAPLE LEAF and left them in the lurch. It is not about one’s bettering one’s self — but rather weakening the strength of their country’s showing.

I understand both sides of the coin.