I grew up in a small farm town in northern, IL with little to do and even less spare change to do it. Some of my earliest memories of fun and family were playing an older pin at my cousins home during the holidays. I remember scarfing my dinner just so I could go hang out in the game room and play the pinball machine before the older kids took it over. I still dont know what machine it was and nobody still alive in my family seems to remember either, but I was entralled with it and learned how to 'trap the ball and shoot the spinner' from an older cousin. The control over the game stuck with me for a long time.
Around 7-8 I remember riding my bike to the Hub cigar store/corner market on the far side of town and dropping a quarter into the single pinball game. I learned to nudge and keep the ball alive for a long time, often strecthing a quarter out much longer than my buddies which blew their spare change on the vids of the era. This love of pinball continueed into highschool where I often squirreled away enough lunch money to be able to play the TAF on route and got good enough to regularly leave credits on the game for the younger kids to play. TAF was my first real love affair with a pin. I obsessed over having the high score and every score on the leader board, often bailing out of class or other activities to continue playing credits on the game and rack up more knocks. I also traveled to the other local towns and it was always fun grabbing the HSTD on those TAFs.
For years I thought about having my own pin and at the urging of my wife I finally took the dive into ownership, buying my first game (A TAF; big surprise) after completing grad school. 1 pin turned into 12 in the first 12 months. I quickly learned that pin ownership meant you need to elarn how to work on them. That quickly evolved into moy love of working, refurbing, and restoring. My favorite down time activitiy is turning on some tunes, and digging into a full refurb of a classic. I am fortunate enough to have a SO that loves pinball and has embraced the hobby alongside me. She helps shop out games, plays them (likely more than I do), and in general just likes and supports the obsession of colleciton, restoring, and pinball road trips.
Pinball has grown and evolved for me throughout the years but is the only hobby to keep me engaged. I find that when I get bored of playing, I rekinddle the love of refurbing. If I get burnt out on refurbing, then there is always competition. If comeption gets boring then I have fun meeting new folks from routing some of my decks. PInball is mutlifaceted and I have found that just jumping in feet first and enjoying the journey has been a blast.