SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A group of Scottsdale bridge players has finally gotten back together in person after more than a year apart because of the pandemic.
“Oh, it's the best feeling in the world! You have your whole group of like all these people that you haven't seen in 14 months, I mean it's just incredible,” said Liz Erling.
Erling comanages the Scottsdale bridge club, “Bridge on Shea."
For them, Bridge on Shea is more than a club for a card game, it’s a whole community.
“It creates friendships that traverse all socioeconomic status, all backgrounds, and all races, religions. People become friends with the common love for a game,” said Suzette Wynn, business manager at Bridge on Shea.
Their bridge club had to transition online because of the pandemic which pushed many of the members to master new skills.
“People of all ages are now learning how to text, people are becoming very technologically sound after this,” said Wynn.
“They send emojis, it’s very cute, it's very funny,” said Erling.
But what's so special about playing bridge?
“You're never alone if you're a bridge player. You can go to any city and place. if you're a bridge player, there's always a club, there are always people who will welcome you,” stated Wynn.
Bridge on Shea has currently about 1,500 members, but they hope more will join by the fall.
The club started 32 years ago, so for many of the members, it has become part of their families.
“You're just welcomed instantly. Like you just instantly have 300 friends,” expressed Erling.
Unfortunately, as with many other families during this COVID-19 pandemic, the club also had to deal with loss and grief.
“It's unbelievable to think of how meaningful the people are, you don't even realize it until you lose it,” expressed Wynn.
Wynn says the game of bridge becomes a lifestyle. It provides brain and mind exercise that helps you stay mentally active.
According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, these types of games have some health benefits.
"Engaging in two or more different mentally stimulating activities reduces the risk of mild cognitive impairment," stated Dr. Jaina Krell-Roesch from the Translational Neuroscience and Aging Program at Mayo Clinic.
For the bridge players at this Scottsdale club, winning is not what matters.
It’s the sense of community, the caring, love, and long-lasting memories it provides for those who play it.
A game that gets passed down from generation to generation.