In his own words...
Mark Lombard’s Success Story
I had an unreasonable goal to get my Life-Mastery in bridge (akin to a "blackbelt") within three years, and that is not an easy feat. To get your Life-Mastery, you need to accumulate at least 300 masters points, and every time you win a competition (a three-and-a-half hour period of time), you typically get a fraction of a point!
My progress was rapid, however; I played the game at every opportunity. I enjoyed many successes, and was beset by many failures. I was about 11 masterpoints shy of earning my blackbelt, with about six months before I reached my goal deadline. My partner and I were going to fly to Las Vegas to be in a major regional tournament the following week, and I thought it might be useful to get some coaching on my game. Marta Reis provided me with such coaching.
In bridge, one usually has a 50% game, which is average. A good game is about 55%, and an extraordinary game is 60% and above. I asked Marta for coaching on how to consistently achieve a 60% game, and much to my surprise, she actually coached me on the possibility of 100%! At first, I thought she was crazy, or didn't know what she was talking about—there is no "100% game" in the bridge world. It just doesn't happen. Ask anyone! But somewhere in the conversation, I got a glimmer of the possibility of 100%, and, after some more coaching, I enthusiastically stood for that result.
Two days before my partner and I were to fly to Vegas, we decided to squeeze in some additional practice by playing in the yearly international game, sponsored by the World Bridge Federation. This is the annual game in which all people all over the world participate, and we were competing against hundreds-of-thousands of partnerships.
Well, the unimaginable happened! We had the best game of our lives! We finished with a 76% game, and subsequently discovered that we had bested not only all the players in the USA (some of whom are Grand Life Masters), but also those in France, Bermuda, Russia, China, South Africa, Brazil, and every other country on the face of the planet! We had become world champions!
Now, would that have happened without Marta's coaching? No. My performance would have been constrained by my unseen limitations. I would have played for 60%, and been satisfied if I had even come close to that goal. It takes an extraordinary coach to have you see and grasp and achieve the unimaginable. Someone like Marta Reis.
Mark B. W. Lombard
Bridge World Champion
[Former Director of Admissions at one of Philadelphia's major health-professional institutions]