Age-old game finds new players taking up challenge

NEIGHBORS

January 16, 2001|By Nancy Gallant | Nancy Gallant,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TOM BRENT LOVES his cribbage. For several years, he was an active member of the Germantown Peggers, a cribbage club in the Gaithersburg area. But when he moved to Crofton, rush-hour traffic made it more difficult to attend Cribbage Night.

So, he converted his wife, Linda, into a cribbage player. Before long, she was winning games and even joined the ACC, the American Cribbage Congress, the national association of cribbage clubs.

Last year, the Brents decided to form Chesapeake Bay Area Cribbage Club, where people could get together to play the card game for fun and friendly competition. They began meeting Monday nights, holding weekly tournaments of nine games.

Just how popular is it? The club's roster has grown to more than 40 members, ranging in age from 18 to 80. They gather at the Crofton Bowling Center each Monday, beginning at 6:45 p.m., and play until about 9:30 p.m. A $10 entry fee covers the cost of weekly prizes, club expenses and regular donations to the Anne Arundel volunteer firefighters program.

During meetings, tables are lined on each side with players, or "peggers," playing their cards and moving their pegs along wooden boards used to keep score. The atmosphere is pleasant and chatty, with lots of good-natured groaning about a poor hand and congratulations on one well played.

Cribbage is one of the oldest card games, thought to have originated in the 1600s. The Crofton club is a sanctioned member of the ACC. Results of the Monday night games are sent to the cribbage congress and can help build points toward the coveted status of master player.

Some members attend only sporadically, while others never miss a week. Some, like Dutch Gehrlich, don't even officially belong to the Crofton group but play there anyway.

According to ACC rules, each person can officially belong to only one club for purposes of acquiring points. Dutch's Baltimore cribbage club meets on Wednesdays. But he likes to join the Crofton group on Mondays just for fun.

As of last week, Dutch, a Bowie resident, was the ACC's highest-ranking Maryland player, and only five points away from master player status. He says he started playing years ago in the Navy and likes cribbage clubs because the competition is challenging but fun.

The club has a "How to Play" section on its Web site, which links to other cribbage clubs and a Yahoo site for playing online. The club also holds live monthly "How to Play" sessions.

If you would like to learn more about Chesapeake Bay Area Cribbage Club, contact the Brents at 410-721-9093 or visit the club's Web site at http://chesapeake-cribbage.tripod.com.

German-American gathering

The Christian German-American Women's Group will meet at noon Monday in the blue room of the Chapel Center at Fort Meade.

The meeting will begin with devotions led by Heidi Zech. After a German lunch, the group will take part in singing, accompanied by guitarist Claudia Friend and Zech on piano.

Information: Irene Kucholik, 301-621-7862 or Karin Jackson, 301-855-6877.

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