District 14 Director Sharon Anderson is happy to announce we have a new Diamond Life Master - Donna Lombardini!
When Sharon sent congratulations to Donna, Donna shared these thoughts below.
I am not one to toot my own horn, as it feels very awkward to me. I am, to say the least, very uncomfortable with sharing my story -- mostly because I think it is probably quite boring. However, I am forcing myself to respond to your request, and if you deem the story suitable you have my permission to publish the following:
I worked for a large engineering firm and many of the employees brought their lunch from home. During one of the lunch breaks in 1981, I happened to be walking by a co-worker's office where they held a daily lunch time bridge game. As was (and still is) frequently the case, the bridge players needed a 4th and asked if I knew how to play. I told them that I did not, but since I was breathing and had a reasonable pulse, they told me they would teach me to play and asked me to fill in. I agreed. That was the very first day of my love affair with the game of bridge. I could not wait to play again the next day.
From that lunchtime bridge game, I developed several steady partnerships and we took the plunge and began playing in local clubs. The club manager encouraged all of us to join the ACBL; in 1982 I became a member. At that time newer players had a section of their own (less than 100 masterpoints). If we were lucky enough to place in a club game, we were awarded upwards of .07 masterpoints. These masterpoints were manually recorded on slips of paper, and we would collect these slips of paper until we had a full masterpoint to mail into the ACBL to be recorded. From 1982 until roughly 1985, I played in as many club games as I could -- once or twice a week. During the same time period, our little group of lunchtime bridge players also ventured out into the world of local sectional tournaments. Most of the time we played pairs games, and every so often we would attempt a team game. Even though we didn't exactly set the bridge world on fire with our results, we thoroughly enjoyed our bridge experiences -- so much so that we travelled to several regionals together.
In 1986, I made the decision to focus heavily on my career and I went back to school. My employer was willing to fund my education and I was willing to take advantage of that most generous offer. I was awarded a BS in Computer Science in 1989 (the same year my son was born), an MS in Computer Science in 1992, and a Doctorate in Computer Science in 1997. Since I had a full-time job, was a full-time student, and had a family, I did not play one hand of bridge during that entire time; I considered myself on a bridge hiatus. I knew that once I completed my education, that would leave me more than enough time to resume my passion - duplicate bridge. And sure enough, once I completed my Doctorate, I was able to play once a week in the local club and occasionally get to a sectional. I was earning roughly 50 masterpoints a year. I was thrilled!
I slowly began to improve my bridge skills in the early 2000's by taking some lessons, reading some books and pamphlets, kibitzing a few good players, and playing as often as possible. During the early 2000's, I was earning about 100 masterpoints a year. I was still working full-time, but spent as much of my spare time at the card table as I could. I became a Life Master in 2001. It only took 19 years. I was in heaven!
In 2003 I transferred to our San Diego office (I worked full-time for the same company for 40 years) and lived there until I retired. During my time in San Diego, my partners and I were able to earn 200 masterpoints a year on average. I became a Bronze Life Master in 2003 and 3 years later in 2006 achieved Silver Life Master status. Life could not be better!
Then came July of 2013. I retired from my full-time job. I devoted most of my spare time to duplicate bridge. I studied, I trained, I played, I read, I kibitzed. I played in clubs, sectionals, regionals, and nationals. I gained invaluable experience playing with and against top-level players. And my results improved. I earned 700-800 masterpoints annually. The year I retired, I became a Gold Life Master. In 2016 I rose to Sapphire Life Master, and this year (2017) I made Diamond Life Master. For the past 3 years, I ranked in the top 500 players of the ACBL; and ranked in the top 50 (of the 100,000+) women in the ACBL. Color me ecstatic!
All because 3 bridge players needed a 4th at lunch one day in 1981. Wow.