Jewish Journal

IN A RUT???????

by Elaine Sandberg

April 18, 2011 | 12:02 am

                            IN A RUT??????
I received a call from a former student the other day and we caught up on the news—mostly good, I’m happy to say. 
She soon got around to the purpose of her call—she wanted some advice about a problem she was having.  It turned out it was a problem I’d been aware that some newer players have, as well as some more experienced ones.  I’ll call it the “Being Stuck” syndrome. 
“I seem to play the same hands over and over,” she said. “I don’t play lots of different ones. It makes me nervous”.
Mah Jongg is supposed to be fun, not anxiety-producing.  But it seems that for some, it is. But it doesn’t have to be.
Playing unfamiliar hands, like doing anything unfamiliar , results in a feeling of discomfort —it’s only natural.  But the more you do the unfamiliar thing , the less anxious you become. And avoiding it,  just prolongs the anxiety.
So it is with Mah Jongg hands that are outside your comfort zone. I know for me, the first time I try one of them can be really uncomfortable, the second time, a little less, by the third time, it’s OK . The more you try new hands, the easier it gets. And winning with a new hand is even more fun.
Another one of the benefits of having a wider repertoire of hands at your command is the more hands you are familiar with, the easier it is to find a hand to play when you first look at your tiles.. Another is it’s easier to find a hand to switch to, when necessary.  And when there are Exposures,  it will be easier to spot the hand opponents may be playing. And more rewarding, because you become a better, stronger , more versatile player. 
So hopefully I have convinced those afflicted with Being Stuck Syndrome that the benefits to overcome it more than justifies the effort.  Be persistent and You Shall Overcome!
Til next time,,,



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A kid from Brooklyn, a graduate of Syracuse University and an immigrant to California via Palo Alto, San Juan Capistrano, finally, Los Angeles, I have been here for the past 15...

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