Once a Juggler, ALWAYS a Juggler

By Mr_SoFlow

January 29, 2023

This story got frontpaged on January 29, 2023

53 days ago

My actual pinball journey began around 1980.  Before that, my memory of pins is vague.  What I clearly remember is being at my parents' friends house...a monster of a house with a massive basement that was mostly game room.  Ping pong, pool, foozeball, projection TV and yes, 2 pinball machines.  One of them was the 1977 Evel Knievel.  

There I was. Left to play whatever I wanted.  Well, it was a no brainer since most of the games were 2 player!  I could hardy believe it.  No quarters required! WTF?  After the first game of quick draining, i was hooked.  The EM flow was of course way easier than the most of the games of the generations to follow, but nonetheless, I quickly fell in love with pinball play.  

Everything about it spoke to me, and being the 80's, it was easy to find an arcade and get lost in it for hours or until the quarters I was given ran out.  

Pins, Missile Command, Asteroids and Tempest were my jams.  I had Atari at home, but these monster games were off the hook.  

At the same time as I discovered pins, I discovered juggling balls and other objects...didn't matter which.  If I could fling it, I could juggle it. I brought that interest to the baseball diamond where I became a pretty great pitcher.  

To relax between innings on the mound, I would juggle baseballs.  I became known for it as well as an early and probably my  ill-advised curve ball (at that young age - ouchies and surgery later in life).  

Those loves and lives seemed to connect as I ended up getting paid to juggle for crowds as well as being better than most at pitching and pinball.  It also led me to choose pinball between university classes.  

In 1991, the maintenance man at the UMASS student union wheeled in what looked like an Arnold Schwarzenegger pin.  It was indeed T2 and I immediately got in line to play. Within a week, I had all high scores,  Within a month, I was having withdrawal symptoms because the damn thing was usually unplayable or out of service.  

I vowed to one day own one of these and be able to keep it running well myself.  I had to play Whirlwind, Star Trek TNG, Hook, Star Wars, The Bride of Pinbot and Mortal Combat 1 and 2 instead.  What a bummer (not!).  The machine being down a lot improved many skills T2 did not foster growth in by having me expand my game play.  

When I graduated in 1993, I said adios to my heavily identified pinball life and such, only to return to it when I had my own children.  

Even though I would take them to Johnny Zees arcade in Victoria, BC CANADA and other places that had pinball and stand ups, I secretly wanted to have pins in my own home. Unfortunately, that didn't work out until the summer of 2021. Turns out the Pandemic wasn't all bad!  

While scrolling through the local garage sale app, I found that it had a pinball section.  That was my chance.  I was in a position to own my own T2!!! 

18 months later, I have 6 pins and buy, sell and ship fairly often.  I'll share that story in the next article.  

Thanks for reading! 
Rich 'Mr_SoFlow"

Story photos

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