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Audio Postcard: Clark State Hosts Annual Bid Whist Tournament

Raphael Allen, Alexander McCarty, Lillian Swain and Virginia McCarty (clockwise from top left) play a game of bid whist at Clark State Community College.
Leila Goldstein
/
WYSO
Raphael Allen, Alexander McCarty, Lillian Swain and Virginia McCarty (clockwise from top left) play a game of bid whist at Clark State Community College.

As part of Clark State Community College’s Black History Month celebrations, the school hosted their annual bid whist tournament. The card game competition has been a tradition at the community college in Springfield for over 20 years. WYSO’s Leila Goldstein stopped by the tournament Thursday and talked to the players about the game.

This piece features the voices of Clark State Admissions Specialist Raphael Allen and attendees Stephanie Echols, James Geron, Reva Hutchins, Alexander McCarty, Virginia McCarty, and Lillian Swain. Clark State will also host an African American Read-In on February 27

The following is an edited transcript of the piece.

Leila Goldstein: Could you explain the game a little bit for someone that maybe doesn't know how to play?  

Stephanie Echols: No. I don't know how to explain it.  

James Geron: It's pretty much euchre on steroids.  

Reva Hutchins: It's played very similar to bridge in some ways.  

Raphael Allen: It's similar to spades, I would say.  

Geron: You get 13 cards and then you pick a suit that’s trump.  

Allen: Whether it be hearts or spades or whatever the case may be, that's your main trump. That card beats all the other cards that's on the table.  

Geron: If you trump over the other person, you get the book. You've got to get to six books before you can start closing, as they call it.  

Allen: Whoever has the most books wins.  

Hutchins: With whist you have to have a little bit of luck in addition to skill.  

Alexander McCarty: It's tough to explain, since you know how to play, you been playing so long. That's basically what it is. 

Allen: Okay, everyone. The trump is clubs.  

Goldstein: When did you learn the game?  

Hutchins: My husband taught me the game when I married him, a long time ago.  

Virginia McCarty: Even when I was a teenager. Back in the day it was a good game for us.  

Alexander McCarty: 40, 50 years maybe, a long time.  

Allen: I played with my family a few times, but my family, if you don't know how to play, you don't get on the table.

Echols: I can't even say, many, many, many years ago. 

Allen: The suit is diamonds. 

Goldstein: Have you taught any other people to play, like younger generations?  

Virginia McCarty: I have not. I tried to teach my children, but they were not interested in card games. 

Alexander McCarty: Not really. Younger people, they play different games than whist. I don't know all the games they play, but they don't play whist.  

Hutchins: But it seems to me that they don't like to do card games as much as we did.  

Lillian Swain: This used to be the game way back when, but it wasn't passed on to the young people. They're busy doing other things.  

Allen: It's a way to give back to not only the younger generation, learn a different game, but also helps them interact with elders, in that sense. It also gives the elders something to do as far as honoring what they put on.

Swain: No, you're not tired, you just mad because you didn't win. She’s a good talker.

Virginia McCarty: It takes one to know one.

Goldstein: How did it go today? 

Hutchins: Well, we did not win. We started off like a ball of fire. When the no trump came, it counts double, and we were lost in the dust, but it was still fun.

Geron: The lady there, she was my competition and she kicked my butt most of the night. But other than that, I learned the game and won a few hands.  

Allen: I think I got it now. I'm ready for next time.