A few years ago a friend at work persuaded me to take up the game of bridge. I'd come across it in older novels, such as Agatha Christie's, but never played it. She told me it was a cheap, interesting evening out, and lessons were due to begin at her club. It seemed quite genteel, and gentle.
I loved it from the first evening lesson - I marvelled at the new language I was learning - how a simple couple of words could convey to my partner so much information, it was amazing.
I progressed and enjoyed the game, but then, moving from the shelter of lessons to the cut and thrust of the real gaming world, I discovered thinly veiled aggression awaited at many tables. I experiences partners who would berate their partner for tiny slip-ups in bidding, or for failing to remember a conventional, ie not true to the bidding, bid.
At one club, a couple partnered each other regularly, and both were good, though he was better than she. I remember seeing them walk out of the club room on a couple of occasions to "discuss" a point on which they disagreed. Acrimony was often in the air, and it could be embarassing sitting at the same table - though that could be the case with many partners, not just these.
An article in a friend's newspaper caught my eye - the grainy photo of the lady's face looked familiar, if a little fatter in the face. I found myself astounded as I read on. This poor lady had been found dead - stabbed over a hundred times. Her husband is accused of the crime of murder.
She looked familiar because she was the lady whose partner had often ridiculed her, and taken her outside to remonstrate with. I find it so sad that a life can be taken over a disagreement in a game of cards.
It is only a game - it shouldn't need a health warning.