|New Life Master Nancy Balfanz|
Thank you for the lovely congratulatory email regarding my reaching LifeMaster status. It is indeed a thrill.
I joined the ACBL about 20 years ago so I could play with my mom and dad and earn some points too. I didn't play very often as I was busy raising my family. But I did earn a lot of gold and silver playing with my father in tournaments. We lived two and a half hours apart so we played together most often at tournaments. My mother's health was failing so I earned many of my points with my dad, altho Mom was also a Bronze Life Master, as well as my dad.
Fast forward to 2020 when Covid put all the games online. My parents had both passed away so I reached out to one of my parent's friends in the Mankato Duplicate club and asked if she would like to play with me online. She did and we "went to town" playing 6-7 times a week. I earned over 120 points that year with Hazel Schmidt as my partner.
Summer of 2022 I decided to play more regularly in my St Cloud club with random partners. By Sept of 2023 all I needed was 2.36 Gold points and I would have that long sought after Life Master status. The St. Cloud club held their first Non-Life Master Regional Sept 21-23 and I was on the tournament committee and was the lead on three days of food for our players. It was a busy tournament!! I was hopeful that tournament would do the trick BUT by the end of the Sat afternoon session I was still short .41 Gold point.
Two weeks later I played in the NABC online tournament with the top four places receiving a stipend to head to Nationals in Louisville, KY in March 2024. My partner and my two sessions on the first day didn't go well and we were a bit disheartened. The first session the second day started at 130. I was in the middle of a baby shower given to two of my daughters in Oakdale, MN. At 130pm I politely moved my chair back and played bridge and half listened as the gifts were being opened among 14 people. No one else in the room plays bridge but they were good souls and allowed me to play even tho my daughters were the honored guests. Unbelievably my partner and I came in FIRST during that session, even though it was quite chaotic!! We followed up in the 530 session almost tying for first place. I earned 2.73 gold that weekend and knew I had finally earned my Life Masters! And the frosting on the cake was that we also qualified for Nationals in 4th place and will be heading there in March. Our St Cloud club director gave me a hearty congratulations and added, teasing, "guess you play better in chaos!"