Players sharpen minds at Indianapolis Bridge Center

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Ed Hardwidge sees the value of bridge keeping the mind sharp for retirees

“Here you are forced to do math in your head and remember a whole bunch of numbers,” said Hardwidge, a Carmel resident. “It is the hardest thinking you do all week.”

Indianapolis Bridge Center board member Joyce Pepple, a Lawrence resident, said there is evidence bridge is good for memory.

“Stimulating your brain and activity is also good for your physical health,” Pepple said. “The majority (of our participants) is 50-plus, so we’re looking for those empty nesters or people who lost their spouse who might be staying at home when they could be at the Bridge Center where they could be having fun.”

Hardwidge, 72, plays twice a week at the Indianapolis Bridge Center. Hardwidge has been playing at the center since he retired in 2011,

“I played when I was in college and then after I went to work, I didn’t play for 40-plus years,” Hardwidge said. “In college (at the University of Washington), I never played sober, and now I wouldn’t take a drink when I played.”

Hardwidge has made friends to play with at the center, which has more than 800 members. Non-members can play at the center as well.

“My wife knows how to play, but she doesn’t play competitively,” he said. “It’s extremely open and welcoming. Some people come really dressed up and some wear sweatsuits and flip flops. It gets you involved with a peer group you wouldn’t know otherwise.”

Some are more serious about it than others.

“There is one couple there that planned their honeymoon around where there were tournaments in each city,” Hardwidge said. “Some, like me, just go play there to have fun.”

The Indianapolis Bridge Center, 8030 Castleway Dr., will offer two beginners classes in April. There will be one starting April 2, every Tuesday for nine weeks starting at 6:30 p.m. Another one will start every Thursday for nine weeks starting at 9 a.m. The cost for the nine-week session is $175.


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