Twelve years ago, Pam Rhine had never played a hand of bridge.
“I had worked my entire adult life and had been envious of friends who had their bridge groups but I was too busy with work, church and raising a family to learn the game,” Rhine said.
Then, the Fishers resident retired 24 years ago to enjoy being a grandmother and keep busy with church mission trips. Twelve years later, Rhine, who has two adult children and eight grandchildren, finally discovered she had some free time. She learned about the Indianapolis Bridge Center and signed up.
“I found a fun, diverse group of people playing an intriguing game at all levels,” Rhine said. “Most people in my first class had played social bridge and were interested in learning duplicate, so I was behind. I met a new friend (Chris Franklin) who took me under her wing and insisted I start playing in real games with her. It was intimidating at first, new things always are, but I had found a place where I belonged.”
Rhine said bridge opened a new world for her.
“It’s not the answer to life’s mysteries, it’s just a place you can go where somebody knows your name,” Rhine said. “I’m still taking classes and learning every time I play, but for me, the social aspect is key.”
Rhine said she is so passionate about the game that she and her friends Joyce Pepple and Jim Rowen started the Indiana Bridge Foundation, a nonprofit.
“Our mission is to educate Hoosiers on the benefits of bridge and assist them as they learn, play and thrive,” Rhine said. “My personal mission is to make it easier and less intimidating for people like me who have never played the game to learn it.”
Rhine and her husband, Sam Rhine, recently celebrated their 50th anniversary. Sam does not yet share her love of bridge.
“But maybe when he retires,” Rhine said.
The Indianapolis Bridge Center, 8030 Castleway Dr., will offer two beginners’ classes in April. There will be one starting at 6:30 p.m. April 2, every Tuesday for nine weeks. Another will be at 9 a.m. every Thursday for nine weeks. The cost for the nine-week session is $175.