I felt it would be fair for me to say that Mike had always been kind to FAST.
When a larger pinball company threatened not to come to Expo unless they were given the vendor hall location Mike had already assigned to us (which was tradition, you get first shot at last year’s location the following year), Mike and I worked out a plan that turned out great.
I understand the stress and exhaustion associated with a pinball show through my experience with the NW Pinball Show. I know that when the show is on, I am not always the most eloquent to those in the trenches with me, but the passion for a good show experience is always there.
The biggest factor in the success of a pinball/arcade is the people involved in making it so. Our NW Pinball Show is non-profit and run strictly by volunteers. By the time the doors to the show open to the public, most of the people involved in the show are already exhausted and would love to go take a nap. Hanging out with our friends and seeing the joy of the show attendees recharges the batteries.
In my opinion, it is unfortunate that Rob and Mike could not have worked things out together offline and in the name of a great show. When we were contacted about coming to Expo “Mike is not involved anymore” was pitched as a reason to come. Really soured the conversation for me from there out. The people involved were never a reason for us coming or not, it was the time and money it took to pull off a worthwhile trip to Chicago.
Pinball shows are where we get to hang out with our FAST friends and see and share their awesome pinball projects. Now that we have friends all over the world, we have gotten pickier about how many shows we can allot the time away from work/families and money to go to. (I do think a FAST European tour is in order!)
While I may give grace to how people present themselves when in “show operation mode,” I don’t feel the same way about people unwilling to work things out offline. Great shows don’t get debated or argued into a success in a public forum, that work is done in planning meetings by those committed to the shows success.
Rob & Mike (and any other core show people) for the sake of the Pinball Expo tradition, get in your cars and meet up in person, on neutral ground someplace and work this stuff out offline.