Monday nights are prime time for serious competition at Scotia Village. That is the night when the café becomes the home for Bridge at the Village, the community’s bridge club that gathers most weeks for residents and locals who love to get together to play the card game.
Even though the pandemic has put a hold on the games for now, members like resident Dr. Mac Doubles are ready to start back up as soon as it is safe. Mac has been the club president for many years and was part of the original group that started the club at the request of the past executive director of Scotia Village, Clarell Litchford.
According to Mac, the community’s bridge team started after the first PHI Olympics were held in 2008. Although bridge was one of the events, Scotia Village didn’t have a team to pit against the other PHI communities. “That flew all over Clarell,” he says with a laugh. “She said we’ve got to have bridge team.
“So, they collected a few of us who enjoyed playing bridge. And none of us were very good, in fact. But they carried us over to Southern Pines (where there was a competitive bridge club) to learn to play the game,” explains Mac.
The Scotia Village bridge team was ready to compete in the PHI Olympics in 2010. Following their success at the games, the group formally organized through the Residents Association and was officially sanctioned by the game’s governing body, the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) on January 1, 2011.
By 2012, Scotia Village was hosting a three-day sectional tournament that included players from all over the Southeast. “To have our little place to host folks from all over, we were right proud about that,” Mac says.
Players can earn points as part of the club and compete in tournaments, enhancing their rank in the game. Two resident members of Bridge at the Village even scored so well in a national pairs game this past March that they were the highest scoring pair in the ACBL district in which Scotia Village competes. Their achievement was published in the national ACBL newsletter.
However, with all the competition, master points and tournaments, the real thrill of Bridge at the Village has always been the great opportunity for residents to spend time playing together. According to Mac, this explains why the club hasn’t moved to playing in online tournaments or virtual events during the pandemic.
“Our director was prepared to operate our club online as part of Bridge Base online, but we did not pursue that,” says Mac. “I think the residents who play in our club enjoy the social aspect of the game rather than simply the competition for master points.”
For now, most of the members are content to wait and resume Bridge at the Village when it is once again safe for them to gather.
As for Mac, he has plenty to do. He and his wife Jacque retired to their villa in Scotia Village in December of 2008. Since then, the former provost of Coker College and one-time professor at St. Andrews, has continued publishing books, mostly related to his field of Biblical Criticism, and serving on the Scotia Village Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors for The Presbyterian Homes, Inc.