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Free Play
Bring a local bridge player new to the BCA, and you will both play for free!
AED (Automated External Defibrillator)
AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

The BCA has an AED in a cabinet on the south wall of the main room. A short video is available which explains its use.

Charity Games
Charity games award extra masterpoints. The extra charge is split between the ACBL Charity Fund and Posada Esperanza, a local charity the BCA supports which provides shelter for immigrant women and children escaping domestic abuse.
Volunteer Spotlight

George Watkins

Helpful, available, aware, reliable...in other words: George Watkins, our December Volunteer of the Month.

George is a familiar face around the BCA, always happy to greet and assist anyone he meets. As a 15-year member of our bridge community, George currently serves as a BCA Ethics Committee Member and as Shopping Volunteer. He also aids tournament set-up and clean-up as well as routinely helps with regular weekly games.

Anyone who knows George knows that his steadiness and reliability at the table are matched by his dedication to improve BCA’s bridge environment. George can always be seen pushing in chairs, collecting trash, straightening up – generally noticing what needs to be done, then doing it. While his bridge playing may be renowned, George’s shopping expertise is even more legendary, as food for the club always magically appears thanks to George’s efforts. Simply give George a list of needed items and he’ll provision us for delicious weekly lunches, scrumptious evening meals, or tasty snacks and goodies. Certainly, anyone who shops almost daily for a large bridge club deserves a medal of valor!

George has lived in Texas or California most of his life, serving in the Marine Corps, building a business as a carpenter, and working as a teacher. When asked about what role was most rewarding, he described the years when he helped teenagers in an alternative educational program build self-confidence and increase their self-esteem. True to his principles, George provided a structured environment and exhibited exemplary patience while guiding youngsters to a more successful life. His ethos of service to others continues post-retirement as George feels the time he spends at the bridge center allows him to continue supporting his bridge family, a very important community for him. George continuously shares his time and energy and seeks opportunities to be of assistance.

Thank you, George, for the fine example of volunteerism you set for each of us. Always smiling, always unassuming, always assisting, and always loyal - you embody the Marine Corps motto learned many years ago – Semper Fi.

Pat Finnigan

Just won at a tournament? Get ready to SMILE because our November Volunteer of the Month Pat Finnigan is waiting to take your photo! 

As Photography Volunteer, Pat has taken countless winners’ photos at various bridge events, offering a sincere, big welcoming smile to each and every winner in return. Soon after starting this job about two years ago, Pat realized that a rapid method of correctly identifying each winner and linking the names to the photos was essential. He began working with Ken MacMorran developing a process to streamline tournament winner photos publication on the Unit website and the District Scorecard. With the help of Unit 207 and the BCA, additional enhancements were purchased to facilitate the photography process, and “Winners’ Photos” began scrolling as a slide show presentation during tournaments. Pat’s constant quest for improvement to this “work in progress” project has added enjoyment and acknowledgement to our talented bridge community, where all view the winners and winners could either share the 5X8 display photo or possibly request an emailed copy from Pat.

Pat Finnigan began photography as a hobby many years ago, and his volunteerism at the BCA has allowed him to continue this pastime. Pat’s favorite part of bridge photography is being able to put names and faces together, conversing with people and learning facts along the way. Pat truly lights up when he describes the photo project and takes pride in having professional-type photos for all bridge winners. Pat found that his interest in photography afforded him the opportunity to interact with wonderful people, and he recommends finding an interest, then getting involved. Fun and friendship will follow.

Pat is a true Texan: born, raised, and schooled here. He’s called Austin home since 1993, and he won’t be leaving any time soon since his children and grandchildren live in Texas. Pat practiced as a Pediatric Cardiologist until retiring in 2014, and he continues to consult with pharmaceutical and device companies editing FDA submissions. While busier now than when he actually worked, Pat’s list of priorities include bridge, golf, helping care for his 85-year-old mom, and completing lots of “honey-do’s.” You may also notice Pat’s quiet participation in doing “good mannered housekeeping” all around the club, like picking up trash, re-organizing the bidding boxes, and pushing in chairs after games. 

Pat Finnigan’s innumerable hours of work behind the scenes and behind a camera have greatly benefited our Unit. Thank you, Pat, for doing a great job and serving as an example for all.

Robin Tucker

If you’ve never received a text or phone call from the exceptional Robin Tucker, you are missing out! Robin, our Spotlight Volunteer of the Month, has contributed endless hours of dedicated effort as Partnership Volunteer, matching partners for various games and tournaments to enable many of our local multi-level bridge players and visiting ACBL members to enjoy more bridge. She sees her volunteer job as a terrific opportunity to personally interact with new people across all levels of play and is excited about the prospect of starting winning partnerships. Throughout her involvement, Robin’s kindness and enthusiasm are evident as she facilitates partnerships for our Bridge Center of Austin (BCA) and offers a “face-to-face” welcoming hello to anyone she helps with partnerships.

Robin was born in Massachusetts, lived in Puerto Rico and New Hampshire, vacations in Steamboat Springs, and claims Austin as her primary residence. Her love for bridge began in 2005 when a group of friends decided to take lessons in response to “empty nest syndrome.” Although Robin didn’t grow up playing cards, she quickly experienced the fun of learning something new and expanding her friend network. Robin describes her experience with bridge akin to opening a Russian nesting doll– finding hidden treasures within layer after layer after layer, each unique and more wonderful than the last.

While playing in our bridge club, Robin began acting as the Partnership Volunteer when she was looking for a way to help BCA that could be done while traveling away from Austin. Robin most enjoys being able to connect people and get to know players at all levels of play. While serving in this capacity, Robin often gets feedback that a personal phone call or text is far superior to other options of finding partners because people feel more comfortable having someone as a “go-between.” How fortunate we are at the BCA to have Robin doing this!

Sonje Hinich

Sonje Hinich  is one of the most gracious opponents you will ever encounter at the bridge table. She is quick to compliment her opponents' good plays and maintains complete silence about her own successes.  The "problem" with playing against Sonje is that you always feel good when you leave her table and it isn't until much later that you realize you didn't fare as well as she made you feel. Sonje's grace, good humor, and penchant for inspiring smiles is evident in the bulletin boards she has created throughout the BCA.  In addition to the monthly birthday board and the new Life Master board, Sonje is in charge of the front entrance bulletin board.  It's here where her creativity knows no bound. In the past year, Sonje has created themes that have amused and inspired us in unique ways. Each board is designed to bring our community closer as we celebrate a shared interest in our favorite game.  Sonje's attention to detail and making people feel good about themselves is reflected in every board she creates. Thank you, Sonje, for bringing your caring touch to the BCA.

Pat Rutledge

Pat Rutledge is one of the BCA’s professional nurturers. Her career background as a nurse is evident in the care that she takes getting to know and help our developing players.   In addition to serving as a the standby partner for the Monday and Tuesday morning games, Pat is known to sit down with a table of new bridge students and spend hours working with them.   Pat also takes responsibility for sending out cards to members of our bridge community who are ill or grieving. And anyone who has ever played at the BCA knows Pat to be one of its finest cooks.  It’s her habit of always lending a hand, pitching in with a smile that is Pat’s trademark. In addition to volunteering at the BCA, Pat is a valued board member of Unit 207.  She and her husband, Jimmy, are highly appreciated for everything they are doing to make bridge in Austin the very best it can be.  

Pat Martin

Pat Martin

Pat Martin’s gracious and kind presence is felt not only at the bridge table but also during times when, due to illness or other unfortunate occurrences, some of our players are not able to be with us.The past several years Pat has served as the BCA’s contact person, sending greeting cards and best wishes to players undergoing challenges in their lives. She has done a wonderful job with this,mixing cheer and empathy in a manner that lets our players we care about them. Pat’s mantra: “We need to look after one another.”

Pat is a native Californian who hails from a family that included gold rush prospectors and twenty mule-team drivers.  After having grown up in the Modesto area, Pat married a naval officer and proceeded to move across the country every few years. After leaving the military, Pat’s husband became an accountant and joined the FBI. The next 20 years they lived and worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with their three children.   In addition to teaching middle school English and Social Studies, Pat became an antique dealer with a particular interest in 18th and 19thcentury American antiques.

In 1987, Pat, now a widow, moved to Austin and rekindled an early interest in bridge.  She began playing party bridge and then started taking lessons and playing at the Bridge Center of Austin.  Pat is now a Life Master and going strong. Thank you, Pat! Your kindness is much appreciated. 

Pat Martin
Mark McAllister
Mark McAllister
Mark McAllister exemplifies the type of interesting person duplicate bridge tends to draw. Having a PhD in Electrical Engineering, Mark worked as a Program Director at SRI and later as a Development Engineer at SBC.  Shortly after his retirement, Mark became a published author with "There is a Wideness."  The novel, based on a true, catastrophic event in East Texas received critical acclaim and was one of the three finalists for the prestigious first-novel Christy Award in 2005. 
Bridge became the next focus of Mark's energies. He was elected to the Unit Board of Directors and served as President.  Currently, he serves as webmaster of the Unit website and has added some great features, including the Player Photo Gallery. Mark is also the longtime partnership chairman for each of the Unit's Novice Sectionals and is the "go to" person for help in setting up and tearing down Unit tournaments.  
Mark also shares his talents with the BCA in a big way.  As our technical specialist, Mark creates all of the handrecords and emails the individual file to the BCA each morning. He maintains the dealing machine and scoring devices and is one of the first people directors turn to when something goes awry with the technology or game movement.   Although Mark already spends many hours at the BCA in the capacity of Assistant Club Manager and Club Director, he still finds time to shepherd developing players.  Mark is known to mentor three or four players at a time, happy to share his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game.
His is a truly consistent record of hard work and selfless contribution. It's hard to imagine what bridge in Austin would look like right now had Mark not gotten involved. 
Mark McAllister
Frank Anderson

Frank Anderson

Frank Anderson  has paid a key role in building two of the BCA’s more popular games: the Tuesday morning 0-250 game and the Monday morning 1LM Max game. He comes to each of these games as a stand-by, ready to play with anyone who needs a partner. Consequently, in the past three years Frank has played with hundreds of different partners!  And he does so with grace, good humor, and a twinkle in his eye.  He ensures that his partner has a good experience and is introduced to all the other players.  Almost every one of the “singles” who were paired with Frank return the following week, invariably disappointed to be told that they can’t automatically be paired with him again.  Singles get matched first with other singles. And if everyone is taken care of, Frank goes home. The flexibility and generosity that Frank exhibits is something for which the BCA is extremely grateful.  We truly would be less of a club without Frank.

 
Frank Anderson
Flora Pettit

Flora Pettit

Flora Pettit is known to every person who plays at the BCA as the baker of those fabulous birthday cakes we enjoy each month and the provider of all things delicious.  In addition to serving as Hospitality chair, Flora attends to all the details that make the club more attractive. Whether it's sewing curtains, table cloths, or taking care of the kitchen supplies, Flora does it with grace and a smile.  She also served for years as the BCA board member and treasurer. Thank you, Flora! You help make the BCA a better place.

Flora Pettit