Luise Lee

My biggest stumbling block

I was thinking about this today — what is the real reason that has held me back from this journey for so long?  I believe all boils down to my competitive nature.

I like to be good at things.  Correction:  I like to be great at things.  I like to be the best!  I like to win.  Were I to compare myself to the bridge players around me, I’m nothing.  I’m a pawn staring up at the great kings and queens all around me.  To be surrounded by such greatness is a very humbling and intimidating feeling.

The few experiences that I had with the game of bridge were not great ones.  I always felt nervous and self-conscious.  Every bid I made, every card I played, was a source of potential failure. I was constantly worried that I was going to make a bad bid, an outrageous play, an unthinkable lead. 

And of course I punished myself for every mistake that I made.  “How could you play the Q and not the A?  You knew the K was still out there;  what were you thinking?”  One simple mistake playing a contract and the carefully thought out 9 tricks quickly dwindled to only 6.  I was so devastated that I had to excuse myself from the tournament room to go have a cry in the hallway!

If I am ever going to be good at this game, I need to loosen up.  Give myself permission to screw up now and then.  Recognize the fact that I am going to make mistakes.  A LOT of mistakes.  They are unavoidable. 

This will be a good lesson for me.  If nothing else, it will teach me that I’m not perfect — that it’s okay not to be perfect.  In the world of bridge, even the great masters make mistakes once in a while.


LindaOctober 27th, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I think I noted in a blog a while back that winning means not be afraid to lose. All competitors lose a lot of the time. Most feel a lot like you. If you are too afraid to lose than it makes it much harder (maybe impossible) to win.

It is easy to say you learn most when you lose and that may be true. It doesn’t make it more fun. One way to make this easier is to think about most sessions you play as practice. Try hard but play loose, experiment with things and try to learn from what goes right and what goes wrong. If you have an expert partner ask them to point out some learnings.

Save the nerves for the rare occasions where you really feel it is important to win.

ColinOctober 28th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Bridge is all about making mistakes – when you get better you just make different, more subtle mistakes.

Amateur players look at experts and think they are perfect but they don’t see all the mistakes they have made because they aren’t skilled enough to see them yet.

Tournaments, world championships, etc. are very rarely won and lost by brilliancy; more typically by the team that makes the fewest mistakes.

Cam FrenchDecember 16th, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Tiger Woods does not hit a hole-in-one on every par three.

As bridge players we search for perfection. All competitors do. But the game of bridge, like golf is about staying out of trouble, (the sand.water), making a few mistakes as possible (like hitting the greens in regulation) and doing the right thing when it counts (sinking the birdie).

You are on the right track.

Wish you well.

I love the way you reflect. That will serve you well.



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Bless her heart. What a memory for your blog! She is just growing leaps and bounds and getting cuter every day. Love the faces she makes. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones.Aunt Michelle

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