Heather and Mike S. Win Super-Ball IV

Regular readers know I am a strong believer in the adage “better late than never.” So with the new season beginning in just a few hours, what better time to report on May’s post-season Zen (split flipper) tournament? Look, I went to Europe almost right afterward on important philosopher business. And then the rest of June I… er… nevermind, let’s talk about the tournament.

A row of Zen hopefuls.

A row of Zen hopefuls.

Super-Ball is a tradition that goes back to the first season of the Lansing Pinball League: a post-season, just-for-fun, tournament in which people are partnered up and each take one flipper.  Since attendance was low, Mike S. suggested a round robin tournament instead of the previous double elimination bracket, followed by a final best-of-three playoff between the teams with the best record.  Teams were formed by pairing the top seed with the low seed, the second-highest with second-lowest, and so on.

An odd number of participants left us with a problem which Mike S. resolved by suggesting that the lowest seed could be on two teams.  The lowest seed, Greg, didn’t want to be on two teams, fearing he would have to stay too late.  Matt made an executive decision: since it was Mike’s idea, Mike would be on two teams.  Mike S. ended up paired with both me and Mike B.

Zen tournaments are as fun to watch as to play in.

Zen tournaments are as fun to watch as to play in.

Naturally this ended up with the most ridiculous possible situation.  Both Mike S. teams ended up playing each other in the finals.  Mike S. promised he would not favor either team but would play his best in each case, and he played the same flipper with each person.  As a result the “Mike factor” was equalized as much as possible and it pitted me against Mike B. in a sort of grudge match, since Mike B. was the one to knock me out of the end-of-season playoffs in B division.  Mike S. and I ended up narrowly edging out Mike S. and Mike B. to take home the trophies.

Mike S. and Mike B. playing

Chris calculates what went wrong for his team while others watch Mike B. and Mike S. playing one of the final games.

The trophies this time were topped with pseudo-Grecian athletes holding laurel wreaths.  I have named mine “Alcibiades.”

Afterward there was a Theio’s after-party, which Chris failed to show up at despite promising he would get to Theio’s at least once this season.  We’ll have to get him in Season 5.

Mike S. and Mike B.

Mike S. and Mike B. challenging Mike S. and me for the trophy.

Mike S. and Mike B. finishing a ball.

Nothing beats the wonderful feeling of accomplishment you get from ending a ball!

As usual, you can find more photos in the photo gallery.  See you next season!

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