austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

It's the time to put in practice what you've dreamed about

The weekend after the Pinball Pete's tournament came the largest pinball tournament bunny_hugger and I have been in yet. This was the Fremont, Michigan, National Baby Food Festival Open. Also, Fremont, Michigan annually has a National Baby Food Festival, with events and a parade and a county-fair-style midway set up right through the main streets of town. Also, Fremont, Michigan is a place which exists and everything. It's about an hour north-ish of Grand Rapids, just far enough from Muskegon and Grand Rapids that it's got some character of its own because you can't drive to a bigger city for stuff you need, and interesting-looking shops that were closed because everybody was at the National Baby Food Open.

Or at least they ought to have been. The tragic side of things is that just as we got to the pinball open's venue --- the banquet room for a restaurant --- a major storm rolled through. It didn't last long, but it was just long enough to force the cancellation of the parade. This was the first time in the festival's 25 years that the parade was cancelled and we gather that it screwed up everything since that was the main event of the day and, without the parade, the carnival rides and attractions would lose most of their attendees. The rain threatened to come back several times during the day, and did by the time we were leaving. It's a shame for the carnival organizers, though.

bunny_hugger and I did take time to walk the midway and appreciate it all and get a little disappointed they didn't have a roller coaster. They did have a merry-go-round running at four rotations per minute, so there's that. While we were walking along our pinball friend CST came running up from behind and, passing between us, shouted ``Free ice cream!'' But he was so swift about it that bunny_hugger had no idea what he was yelling or even, for a bit, who it was, and she was startled enough to almost drop her soda. What he was yelling about was that (back at the restaurant) they were giving ice cream to the pinball players. Still, this was weirdly exuberant for him. (As I remember it we did get back to the restaurant and they had cake; I'm not sure what exactly the flow of free stuff was.)

Ah, but how about the tournament? That was organized into two contests, a main and a classics tournament. The main tournament was on six ``modern'', post-1990, machines. The classics tournament was on three games, Tri-Zone, Genesis, and Jungle Queen, from the 60s-to-80s. Also they had a Cyclone and a Gilligan's Island which were not part of qualifying for either modern or main tournament, but which could be used for match play by qualifying players.

I qualified for the main tournament, which was gratifying. More thrilling is that bunny_hugger also qualified for the main tournament in the upper, A, division. It was a close thing, yes; had the person who headed up B division spent his qualifying rounds a little more wisely, and gotten a bit luckier, he might have knocked her down to the top of B. But he didn't, and in the main tournament she went on to do quite well, tying with one of the state's pinball family scions and placing ahead of some others.

For me, while I did well enough in the main tournament, my real glory came in the classics tournament. Between a couple of good games, and working out what if anything to do on Genesis (one of the contenders for ugliest back glass art of all time, although I don't think it's that bad) I was able to get to the semifinals, and finish in third place. That's my best finish in any tournament.

And the thrilling side effect of all this? With the points for this tournament I was launched into the top thousand ranked players in the International Flipper Pinball Association's standings, and to the 11th-ranked player in Michigan. Excuse me, to the 11th-ranked player in Michigan! I've since dropped to 13th (a tournament came up in Grand Rapids that I couldn't make), but still. If state finals were held today I'd have an invite.

And even more thrilling? bunny_hugger received enough points for this to be ranked 18th in Michigan. If finals were held today she'd be second alternate, with I think a fair chance of playing for the state title. And there's a number of tournaments yet to come this year.

Trivia: The 1910 edition of the Cyclopedia of Law and Practice devotes fifteen pages to explaining the issue of search and seizure in American law. The 1932 edition takes 114 pages. Source: Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America, Peter Andreas.

Currently Reading: American Fairy Tales, L Frank Baum.

Tags: pinball
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