They’re using bridge to cross the country.
Donald Buttinger and Lorrence Pfeil will be competing at the national 55-Plus Summer Games in Nova Scotia in August, thanks to a bronze medal win at the provincial event in Saskatoon July 3-5.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought a deck of cards would take me to the other end of this continent,” Pfeil told the Journal in an interview last week.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity actually,” said Buttinger.
The two are part of a club that plays bridge every Monday at the Legion. The club has about 18 members, and are looking for more, Pfeil noted.
“Our numbers are dwindling,” he said.
Still, they usually get between eight and 12 people out every Monday evening.
They switch partners every four hands, so Pfeil and Buttinger have played together a lot over the past five to six years.
About three years ago, they decided they wanted to compete at the seniors’ games. They had to skip the games in 2010 due to some vacation plans, and so set their sights on 2012.
They felt good going into the games in Saskatoon, Pfeil said.
They walked out with a bronze medal and the opportunity to compete in Sydney, Nova Scotia at Nationals.
Are they excited?
“Absolutely,” said Pfeil.
“Well, yeah,” Buttinger replied. “I’ve never been down east before, not past Manitoba. It’ll be something different.”
They compete at the games August 29-30, but plan to head out there a little early, and stay on a little later to make it a real vacation.
Donald’s wife, Rosemarie, will be going with him, and they plan to stop in Ontario to see some family on the way.
Pfeil plans to take his daughter, Sharen Graf, with him, and visit his son in Toronto as well.
Pfeil said he never thought he would get to visit Nova Scotia.
“I never thought of going,” he said, “though I thought it would be nice.... Now, I’m excited to go.”
They aren’t really preparing for their event at the games. You can’t really practise with bridge, they said.
It all depends on how the cards unfold, Pfeil said.
“It’s the way the cards lay,” Buttinger agreed. “Sometimes it’s really bad. You have to have something to win.”
For instance, he said, they played 17 rounds at Provincials, and led in 15 rounds. Then they had a couple of bad tables and ended up in third.
“That’s the way it works,” he said.
But Pfeil is optimistic about their chances.
“Don and I play together quite a bit. We know each other pretty good,” he said.
The bridge group meets at 7 p.m. at the Legion clubroom every Monday.
“Anyone can come out. We will even give them some lessons,” Pfeil smiled.
The next Saskatchewan 55-Plus Seniors Games will be hosted in Humboldt in 2014.