On a Thursday afternoon, I dropped in at Emerald Bridge Club in Springfield and discovered I had a lot in common with many of the players grouped at tables around the room.
About two years ago, they picked up the cards and began refining their skills at Emerald Bridge Club sessions.
Setting up and running the games is a full-time job for club director Don Marsh, 71, who figures Emerald Bridge Club is about his fourth career in a lifetime of work, and what he was meant for all along.
"In some ways, it feels like everything that I did from a work standpoint was leading up to Emerald Bridge Club," he says.
In fact, Eugene's Emerald Bridge Club has a "zero tolerance" policy.
And if that isn't enough to make you realize that some local players take the game seriously, check this out: A team of four players from the Emerald Bridge Club advanced further this summer than any Eugene team is known to have ever ventured.
All four play regularly with the Emerald Bridge Club, run by the local unit of the American Contract Bridge League, at the Eugene Garden Club on High Street between East 16th and 17th avenues.