One of my memories of reading the Erie newspaper over the years is that it used to publish the scores of people who played bridge. I never understood what those results meant but I always wondered how the game is played.  Maybe now is the time to learn.    

I'm attending one of the morning get-togethers of the Erie Bridge Club.  Teams of two are squaring off against their opponents.  Not all of the 20 tables are filled on this day.  But, back in 1971 when the club was formed, every table would be busy. 

"I would say that there were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 or 600 members,” says Steven Grzegorzewski. “A lot of it was young couples.  It was considered like an evening out to go play bridge as a couple."  

These days, there are about 80 to 100 members, mostly 55 to 75 years old.  There are some members who have hit the century mark.

"We have a couple of players that are over 100 who play.  They play regularly and do well.  Bridge is a game for keeping your mind sharp,” says Steven.  

The goal of the Erie Bridge Club is not just to host games throughout the week, but to educate people about bridge, teach people how to play, and keep this cherished game alive for future generations. Steven and his wife teach beginner classes for anyone who wants to learn.  Steven says don't be intimidated by the number of cards or the procedures of the game.

"It's a game of cards so people who are card players already tend to take to the game a lot more easily,” says Steven.  “Especially if they're playing card games that play tricks such as hearts or spades or things of that nature."  

Teams usually switch tables and opponents every session.  According to Tom Bergdahl, a board member, it's impossible to not meet new friends while playing at the bridge club.  

"I've played with almost everybody within the club and I've definitely played against everybody.  Yeah, I have a couple that I play with more often than others, but I'll play with anybody.  And it's fun,” he says.

Laine Baer is also a board member at the bridge club.

"One Sunday afternoon each month, we have a big Sunday game,” she says.  “We bring pot luck in for a luncheon.  We really make it into a social event."  

The proud history of the club hangs on the walls with plaques showing tournament winners and season M.V.P's.  But at this place, winning friends is more important.  A few members even met their future spouses here.

Now is a good time to learn to play bridge. The Erie Bridge Club is hosting beginner classes that start soon at its clubhouse on Grant Avenue near the airport. A Monday evening class starts on April 1.  A Wednesday afternoon class starts on April 3.  The classes are for 8 weeks, but students will be playing the game before the first class is over.

For more information, go to or call Steven Grzegorzewski at 814-573-4743.