austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

She said that she was sorry, that I was a little bit late

We would miss most of this flame war. We were busy celebrating our anniversary. Yes, there's a story about that too; it's coming. But first some backstory.

Rocket Robin was not the only pinball tournament in the latter half of June. One of the state's top players, who has tables in some Flint-area bowling alleys, held one too. That was the Saturday before bunny_hugger's tournament, when we needed time to prepare. It was also the day after our Cedar Point trip, so we needed time to rest also. Given all this we decided with regrets to skip the tournament. He'd expected we would be there; especially given how tight the state rankings look to be this year, how could we pass it up?

We weren't the only people to skip the tournament, though. Particularly, another of our Flint-area pinball friends had decided he was boycotting this guy's tournaments and league. This was the immediate consequence of some hard feelings regarding his launch party for the Ghostbusters pinball game. The tournament-organizer managed to snag for himself all the prize goodies, like translites (the print for modern backglasses) meant for the tournament winners. He won them honestly, mind, but already had some, and had plans to sell the excess. It's the longer-term consequence of a bunch of tournament and league rulings that could be read as seeking to maximize his personal earnings, a danger when you're the tournament organizer, and own the machines people are dropping coin into, and you're one of the sure bets to at least place if not win the tournament altogether. You can imagine being called, if quietly, on it can add to tension.

So as we got up for the day bunny_hugger's Facebook friends warned there was an awesome spectacle breaking out. And it was a flame war superficially about there being too many pinball tournaments, all draining the attendance from one another. That things were better off in the old days when there were a few tournaments a year that everybody got to. And it was terrible now that there was something every week and each drew only a couple people.

From this we infer that the Saturday tournament drew a smaller-than-expected crowd. And someone might infer that he was angry we didn't go to his tournament. But no, or at least not out loud. He was clear, repeatedly, that bunny_hugger's tournaments were great and deserved far more attendance than the Rocket Robin match got. It's hard to read the whole flame war, which I believe got mercifully deleted as we were driving home in the small hours of the morning, as a pure statement that competitive pinball in Michigan ought to favor a handful of major events rather than the small-stuff-every-weekend it's heading towards.

Since we happened to be away from home all day, without smart phones that would let us accidentally get involved, we were able to glide unscathed through this massive online pie fight. We got out of it with a bumper crop of gossip.

Trivia: The 1900 Paris Olympics drew thirty countries, 34 sports, and 58,731 participants, of whom 1,587 were foreigners. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.

Currently Reading: Fastpitch: The Untold History of Softball and the Women Who Made The Game, Erica Westly.

Tags: pinball

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