Last Friday I drove to my old stomping grounds in east-central Illinois for a bridge tournament. The locals in Champaign-Urbana have been hosting a Regional event since shortly after I left town. Last year, I went up for five days; this time, only three. The highlight was facing off against two of the top 40 (that’s appropriate, I suppose) all-time leading US masterpoint winners in the semifinals of a knockout event. My team was given a 19.5 point head start in the match due to our relative inexperience (so they had to beat us at least 20), but unfortunately we lost by 25. We gave it a good shot, and I’m cool with that. It was awesome to see all the folks–Karen, Debbie, Martha, Ned, my teammate Mike, among others–again.
On Saturday, I was able to have dinner at an excellent Chinese restaurant with Bruce, my dissertation advisor, and Robin, his wife. We didn’t play in morning events on Saturday or Sunday; Saturday, my partner and I went to the Farmer’s Market in Urbana for breakfast and a walk down the tree-lined brick streets, while on Sunday, I met Bruce for coffee on campus. I have to say these were much better uses of time than being hunched over the table.
I have fond memories of my time in C-U, and I miss living there. I honestly wouldn’t mind going back for an extended period should I get another sabbatical leave. It’s got a fantastic city park system, decent public transportation, and, while clearly growing, it’s not humongous. We’ll see.
What would a trip report be without photos?
The alma mater statue, pictured above, is in front of the gorgeous math building, Altgeld Hall.
One semester when I was a teaching assistant for calculus 2, I had a high school student in my class who was somehow on the weekly schedule to play the bells in the carillon of Altgeld. One time she invited me to watch her play–very interesting. We kept in touch just a little bit over the years; she’s now a professor of linguistics at UCLA.