The finals were scored as is apparently standard for Professional and Amateur Pinball Association contests. The four players would all play four games. First place on each table would get four points; second place, two points; third place, one; fourth place, would be thanked for participating this time. Whoever gets the most points wins the competition and so on.
I forget which the first two games were and it doesn't much matter. The last game was Fish Tales, which after all hadn't actually broken down or anything earlier. We just failed to read one of the scores reliably before it was too late. That wouldn't affect us again. Between four players and the designated scorekeepers we'd at least keep track of who won and who didn't, the important thing. So it was back in, and after the usual sorts of turns of fate we got to the last ball. The third player was, if I remember right, WVL, and he was coming back tolerably when he suddenly dropped the ball from the right flipper. This was bizarre, and heartbreaking, but it is the sort of mental error every player makes. It just seems to happen more when the stakes are higher.
Only he hadn't make a mistake. The flipper had broken, as the next player confirmed. It had broken in a familiar way: pressing the flipper button made it snap up, but the flipper didn't hold. On the last player of the last ball of the last game, and about fifteen minutes before midnight, we finally had to scratch, and restart a game.
This has got us wondering; it sure seems like games break down a lot during league or tournament play. Is it just that they're played more, and more continuously, and this encourages transient glitches? Or is it just that glitches happen every so often and the greater time spent being played means we're just there to see it? Unanswerable without serious research, of course.
Nothing to do but go to the backup table. This would be Indiana Jones, which skilled players can take forever on. CST, for example, can start playing that game and finish up sometime the following Thursday. This also dashed our hopes of finishing before midnight. It'd take about forty minutes for everyone to finish playing. Meanwhile bunny_hugger and I held our breath, because this Indiana Jones also has a known yet transient problem. It can get a single ball stuck in the idol lock, and somehow try every possible way to get a ball free except dropping the plastic gate that holds it trapped. It'll drop the trap when the ball isn't there, mind. Just not when it is. It's infuriating and we just dreaded the prospect of it happening again.
It didn't. We got out of the game safe and sound.
CST won, breaking his streak of getting third-place trophies made by bunny_hugger. But he could take that. J M came in second, and RLM in third. WVL, sadly, had faded at the end of the night and took fourth place.
He would have his consolations, by which I mean, first, finishing great. Second he'd get 2.42 points in the International Flipper Pinball Association's rankings. With that, now, the majority of his points come from the three pinball tournaments bunny_hugger has run. That mostly shows how few things he goes to; besides the league, still undervalued, he doesn't make it to very many things. Shame; he's a better player than his ranking suggests. Anyway, we're doing our bit to fix that.
Trivia: Michigan did not require schoolteachers to have at least one year of training until 1925. As late as 1928, a teacher with three years' experience could obtain a lifetime teaching certificate. Source: Michigan: A History of the Great Lakes State, Bruce A Rubenstein, Lawrence E Ziewacz.
Currently Reading: Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival, Peter Stark.
PS: How Interesting Is A Football Score? and if you say ``it isn't'' then go turn in your junior mathematicians badge.