A High Schooler's perspective on competitive pinball

By FinnThelonious

May 14, 2023

This story got featured & frontpaged on May 19, 2023

20 days ago

On November 20th 2021, my dad took me to my first competitive pinball tournament, I was 15 at the time. We had heard of these tournaments for a while but had no idea how to get into one. Anyways I entered it, and I was actually doing alright. I actually felt pretty horrible for my dad as neither of us realized this would be a full day ordeal. Much to my surprise (About six hours later) I took home a third place win and a wad full of cash which just about blew my mind! I couldn't wait to spend what I won on the next tournament, and sure enough in a few weeks another rolled around (No pun intended).

I didn't do quite so well.

Not that I did horrible but it was far from a third place win for sure. Anyways that didn't matter, with the help of my mom, I was entering tournaments every Tuesday night at my local arcade and having a blast doing so. The people are always more than kind, and I adored the relative informality a lot have when it comes to games there. One of the guys there always gives me tips for my next ball, sometimes we even talk mid-game about whatever makes it great.

It felt great winning on some games, and just as valuable understanding why I was losing on others. At the end of the tournament I'd make it home at around midnight and realize I'd have a test in school the next morning. Then again it was the next morning, and my English teacher probably wouldn't take a pinball tournament as a valid excuse, though I vividly remember trying once. 

I'm 17 now, approaching 18 this summer and about to go to college for electrical engineering (I want to be a pinball designer when I grow up!) so I probably won't have quite as much time for these tournaments, but they have been an absolutely essential part of my high school life. It's a strange and fascinating world I've found myself in but I'm incredibly excited to find out what's next.

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15 days ago

Nice story, I’m currently restoring a Captain Fantastic. Good luck enjoying your pinball tournaments

15 days ago

One of my favourite games!

14 days ago

Great story. Thanks for sharing. Love that you’re following your passion. Never give that up. Good luck in school.

13 days ago

Thanks for the share. And you will have more time than you suspect in college for pinball if it's a priority to you.
Life is about balance, work hard and play hard!

2 days ago

Love the story! Start another thread years down the line so we know what Pinball company you landed with.

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