A Reporter Goes to Bingo

Today we bring you a slightly different news story WDW-ers!

Helen Mead, a newspaper reporter, has given an account of her experience of going to play bingo, and we’d like to share it with you!

What do you think of her observations? Agree/disagree with any comments. Let us know!

“Last week I introduced my ten year old nephew to bingo.

We had gone to Scarborough and he was intrigued by the banks of coloured squares and the walls of gifts ranging from giant teddies and board games, to toasters and kettles.

We sat down to play on the few spare seats not occupied by octogenarians.  Obviously seasoned players, their fingers moved like lightning. It seemed like we had only just started when someone won the game.

A couple of games later and we realised that we were not up to it. Some of the elderly players were using six boards at once and were three times faster than we were with one.

We also asked a member of staff questions, which isn’t the done thing. One thing I’ve learned about bingo is that you need to hit the ground running. If you don’t fully understand it, find out before you sit down to play.

The withering looks from dyed-in-the-wool players reminded me of the time my friends and I joined a proper bingo club where people played for big money.

We went along for a bit of fun, but we had no idea how serious it was, how, if you so much as cough during a game, you attract terrible glares from those around you.

One of my friends was actually told to remove a bangle as it occasionally knocked on the table as she marked her card. And you really have to concentrate. My brain ached at the end of the evening.

I later learned that playing bingo is good for your brain – research has shown that, on tests measuring mental speed, ability to scan for information and memory, regular players are faster and more accurate than non-players.

Older players outperformed younger in the Southampton University study, suggesting that keeping the brain active keeps it sharper for longer.

Despite these benefits, my friends and I didn’t return to the club. It was fun, but more expensive than we’d imagined. And we didn’t come anywhere near winning the jackpot, a game played not only between local club members, but national too.

If I’m honest it was a bit scary, and I don’t know whether I’d have had the nerve to put my hand up for a win in case I’d made a mistake.

I’d told my nephew about bingo lingo – two fat ladies and legs 11. But sadly they don’t seem to use it anymore – probably down to political correctness. At least the caller introduced each game with the traditional “eyes down”.

Predictably, between the four of us – two adults and two children – we didn’t win so much as a One Direction key ring. The penny (or 2p as they are today) falls were far easier on both brain and pocket.”

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