Our January 14 our bridge club lost one of its greatest supporters – and I lost a friend and great bridge partner – when Kevin Glasgow, 71 passed away. He also was one of the nicest guys I ever met and his passion for the game knew no bounds. He was fun to tease, fun to discuss politics with, and fun to play with. He is the only partner I ever had who was willing to ‘try anything,’ no matter how complex and off-the-wall the convention might be, to make us more competitive at the bridge table. There weren’t too many times, when we were bidding on a board, that we didn’t have to alert something.
From 1NT Puppet Stayman, to Negative Free Bids, to Mathe Asking Bids, to Swiss Raises, to Lebensohl, to ‘Joe Scott’ bids that Kevin picked up during long conversations with Joe before their Wednesday evening game at the Razorback Club in Bentonville. Before we played together, I usually spent two hours every morning reviewing our convention card.
Kevin was a consummate health nut. He took more vitamins and other exotic supplements than anyone I ever knew. He thought that if one vitamin was good, two would make you twice as healthy. He would condition his hair with cucumber and Lamprey enhanced with crushed apricot. His shampoo was a special order from the Fiji Islands costing over $40 for a 12-ounce bottle that contained 83 added vitamins. The last time we talked he was into mercury detox thinking it would help improve his bridge memory. The first thing Kevin would do every morning is take a handful of vitamins and get in the shower with a face-cloth, loofah sponge and a bar of pumice stone soap. After his shower he’d spend another 15 minutes using his water pic toothbrush. I could hear it whirring away in the background, like someone was sandblasting the inside of our room. He made sure to ascertain that the pH in the water was OK before he rinsed his mouth.
Sleeping in the same room with Kevin was a surrealistic experience. Imagine – I’m awake in a totally dark room and Mother Nature calls. Kevin has already told me that if I turn a light on, I will die. Without a full night’s sleep, his game suffers. All I know is that the bathroom is somewhere to my left. Leaving even the dimmest bathroom light on is forbidden, even with the door closed. Is there life after death? I know I will find out if I turn a light on. My shinbone is already sore from running into furniture. It will be throbbing before this tournament is over. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make for the sake of a rested Kevin and more masterpoints. Before we left our room for the day, Kevin always made sure to leave a generous tip for the maids on his bed.
We traveled to all the regionals and sectionals in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Topeka, Wichita, Springfield, Hot Springs, and beyond. We attended the NABC in Kansas City and had made plans to play at Memphis in April.
Driving to a tournament with Kevin was a daunting experience. We were both so directionally challenged that we’d make Bevis and Butt-head look like Lewis & Clark. I’m from a generation that’s suspicious of cell phones and Kevin’s el-cheapo ‘Tom Tom’ GPS unit was something I think he’d gotten from a tire offer for his pickup (Buy Four Tires, Get a GPS-Thingy For FREEEEE! We never knew for sure what day it would be or what city we would wind up in when we left Bella Vista. I used to call his ‘Tom-Tom,’ (‘Dum-Dum’) because it never worked.
There was the time we wound up driving all the way through Kansas City because we missed the bypass. At the Wichita regional one year we decided to drive to Derby for Chinese rather than eat at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane. To make a long story short, after 45 minutes of looking we failed to find a Asian restaurant of any kind and would up eating at Mickey D’s. To make matters worse, we forgot to note what road we were on entering town, and when Kevin’s ‘Tom-Tom’ failed us spent another 45 minutes looking for a way back to the casino. We barely got back in time for the evening game.
I remember one year when he and I went to our first tournament together in Topeka. He was green at that point, not even a Life Master. You could tell instantly that Kevin had that ‘fire-in-his-belly’ and determination to become everything he could be as a bridge player. I knew right away that I wanted to do everything I could to help mentor him. I took my ‘bridge library’ with me to Topeka and Kevin and I spent just about every waking moment going over conventions and talking bridge. To make a long story short, we won over 60 masterpoints in Topeka and Kevin became a Life Master. Kevin went on to become a Bridge Director, our DBC manager, a member of our Unit Board, and a representative on the District 15 Board. Kevin also served on our Tournament Planning Committee and could always be counted on to volunteer wherever and whenever there was a need.
Kevin had a keen passion for bridge and an interest in sharing it. I simply don’t have the words to tell you how big a loss Kevin is to me personally but, more important to our local bridge community. I always looked forward to playing at our local club just so I could hear what Kevin would be saying to us in his own ‘special’ language before the game. He made sure we all knew never to talk politics during bridge or play the wrong boards. Kevin was a man with few sharp edges. He was a friend to all and an enemy to no one. You never heard anybody say anything bad about Kevin and you never heard Kevin say anything bad about anyone. As club director, Kevin had a job that he loved and enjoyed. He lifted everybody up and spent his time promoting our game. I asked him once why he took the Bella Vista DBC manager job – a job that can be demanding, time-consuming, and thankless. He said it was because “he loved our players and wanted to help our club grow and become even better.” He was a great volunteer and was always there for you no matter the occasion. I am so thankful that I was privileged to spend time with him. He was one of a kind and HE WILL BE SORELY MISSED!