March 24, 2010

B I N G O !

The last time I played Bingo it was a rainy day in 2nd grade and recess had been canceled. Zooming forward a few dozen years I generally think of Bingo as a game for the generations ahead of and behind me -- but not for me.  Well, I have been wrong!

Over the weekend, I attended a Bingo fundraiser for The Autism Project and had a blast. This was not the Bingo of my childhood: no little plastic circles to cover B11 or N43.  Today's serious player quickly dabs her squares with colorful Bingo markers. Good thing, too, because everyone played at least six cards at a time.

Balls with letters and numbers are still used to randomly select the next Bingo square but now closed circuit TV keeps track of each ball, the numbers light up on a giant board, and each of the game cards is numbered so that a computer can confirm if you really are a winner. Speaking of winning, my second-grade experience taught me to yell, "BINGO!" after making a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal sequence.  Sunday afternoon, I needed help figuring out how to identify a "crazy kite," "crazy T," "small picture frame," or "postage stamp" formation. I never did yell, "Bingo!".

As impressed as I was with all this new technology, talk among the players revealed that firehouse Bingo couldn't hold a high-tech candle to cruise-ship Bingo.  No complaints from me, though.  My friends and I had a surprisingly fun afternoon and even though we were a bunch of Bingo losers, our loss was a contribution to a good cause.

Photo credit: K. Briggs