September 8th was the fifth meeting of the fifth season of the League, and was the first meeting Chris has missed since he joined during Season 1. In response to this historic non-event, some mysterious prankster posted a Chris-themed motivational poster in the downstairs alcove. “We can’t all be Chris Tabaka,” reads the poster, “but if you can be Chris Tabaka, then by all means, be Chris Tabaka.” The poster was already present when everyone showed up to start practicing, and the accusations soon started to fly. Several people seemed to think I had done it (I didn’t, and didn’t know who did, though I did take the photo used in it). Sarah floated the idea that Chris had done it himself, since he had the opportunity to put it up when he pre-played his “makeup” games the previous evening. Chris, via texts, vociferously denied it, and most people agreed that self-aggrandizement to that degree wasn’t his style. Since everyone accepted Matt’s contention that it was much too nice to be his handiwork, popular suspicion moved to Mike S. and stayed there for quite some time. Mike, for his part, insisted that he would not be able to keep something like that a secret for long. I admitted he had a point, since during the infamous Arcade League disappearing-FunHouse stunt of 2014 he wasn’t even able to go an entire night before confessing.
Chris was the most notable absence of the week; the most notable presence was Allyson, AKA Ally, a newcomer to the league. She was put into a group with me, James, and Sarah, so I had an opportunity to get to know her a bit. She told me that her boyfriend had gotten her interested in pinball and that the two of them had both just been starting to get involved in competitive play. Her boyfriend didn’t come to the league meeting, but I heard from Mike S. that he played in the recent Pinball Pete’s tournament in Ann Arbor and did extremely well, so we’ll have to hope he
stays away joins the league! I was on my best behavior and definitely didn’t do any rage tilting this time so I hope Ally had fun and will keep coming.
I confess I didn’t have much reason to rage tilt this time as it was probably the best league night I’ve ever had. I started Monster Bash during my game of… well, you know. I think that’s only the second time I’ve ever done it at all, so having it happen to me during a league game means that the pinball gods Matt often speaks of were smiling on me. I got so over-excited that I jumped up and down and did the Pete Townshend windmill strum during the starting animation. Then I managed to get 4.5 million on The Simpsons Pinball Party thanks to a frankly lucky break starting Itchy & Scratchy. Believe it or not, Matt said that my score was something like the second highest in the league; Aaron almost doubled it, but I saw a lot of scores in the one millions. That really tells you how ludicrously brutal The Avenue’s Simpsons is. Sarah had extremely unfair bad luck as two of her three balls hit the center post upon launch and then drained immediately, resulting in a 10K score on each. There should be at least a brief ball saver on that game to stop the skill shot from being instantly fatal.
Evan returned for his second league night as I thought he might, despite saying he was just going to drop by once. Once you go Lansing, you don’t go… uh, dancing? Nevermind. The point is, our league has a charm all its own and has a way of bringing people back.
After league, several of us went over to Theio’s for the traditional league night breakfast-dinner (brinner?) and then Mike, Joseph, and I went back to the Avenue to play a round of the board game Betrayal at House on the Hill. Over the summer, we had been in the habit of arriving early on league nights to play, but as of this meeting I could no longer do that. Sadly, class has started up again for me, which prevents me from getting to league meetings more than a few minutes early. So we hung around until the Avenue closed playing Betrayal interspersed with pinball.
Chris had a great week (I guess without our hijinks to distract him during his makeup games) and Alex had a not-so-great one, resulting in Chris closing some of the gap between his second place and Alex’s first, but he still has a ways to go. As for me (hey, offer to write a guest update and you can talk about yourself too), I managed to pull 1 point ahead of my frequent league rival Jake (at 9th and 10th) but am still outside the magic number 8 that will get to play in A division.
For more detail, check the full results for this week. I didn’t take so many photos this time (not ones that came out, anyway; my clearest shots were of the bumper pool table), but there are a few more in the gallery for your viewing pleasure.