ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL 
 
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL: This is the first time you are in a tournament. You are seated North/South at the end of the room, practically in the shade. Cold air from the AC is coming straight down vertically on your head. After three hours of this you will know what is feels like to play Bridge outdoors above the arctic circle. The noise and the energy levels are extremely  high. It might be quieter in the middle of the stadium during the super bowl. Good thing there are bidding boxes. Without them you would never hear your partner's  or opponent's  bids. You then jump onto the express train: flush the  boards, make the hands, pass the  boards, everybody play!
      Is this as exaggeration or can it get worse? You need to use the rest room, but where is it? What about a drink? Coffee, tea, water, anything. It doesn't matter, as long as it is liquid. Luckily there is a five minute hospitality break after four rounds. But you are playing too slow and your opponents are arriving at your table too late. You have to play during the five minute break in order to catch up. Other people are getting up and walking around, but you have to catch up. You say to yourself "maybe if we finish this last 
board I'll have time to do what I need to do."  Just as the last card of the last  board is played the Director announces "the break is over, start the next round." Help!
      It  does not have to be like this, and most of the time there are reasonable temperatures (despite thermal incompatibility of some players), good lighting, no noise, and an easy going pace. But to ensure that this is the case, you have to take some sort of environmental control. And the easiest way to do this is to arrive at least one half hour before the start of the game. Check the place out; take a walking tour; explore; locate all the rest rooms; and find out where refreshments are distributed. How do you get in and out of the playing area? Where do you sign up? Become familiar with these surroundings. They are not  that weird,  you are not  playing 
on another planet. (Or are you?)
      Sign up, get your  entry form, go to your table. Feel at home in the room. If the temperature or lighting is not right, tell the Director. This is your home for the next three hours. You want to be comfortable and at ease. Relax, enjoy, play Bridge! 
 

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