Date #13: Pinball Wizardry…

I don’t remember the last time I played pinball. It’s been tens of years…I found a Pinball Tournament event and thought it sounded like a fun change of scenery for me. I felt a little awkward when I walked into the Pinball joint, D&D Pinball. Event registration, warm up, etc was supposed to start at 6:30pm. The actual tournament start time was scheduled for 7 pm. I got there at 7 and the place was empty.

The owner was on the phone at the service desk, and was obviously pretty annoyed at whomever he was talking to, or trying to reach. I asked him if they were still having the tournament and if he could give me change for a $10 bill. He very kindly responded to me between irritable grumbles into the phone. Yes, he assured me, the tournament was still going to happen. Some of the key players were running late and they were bringing more participants with them.

I got some quarters out of the change machine and decided to get a little warm up while we waited for people to arrive. I was DEFINITELY feeling very rusty with my pinball “skills”. The kind, yet annoyed owner was quietly muttering F-Bombs to himself as he walked through the room taking care of things. He was pretty irritated and wanted to get the show on the road! People finally started to arrive within 15 minutes and we all got registered, paired up for our first round and assigned our first machines.

This was an actual International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) sanctioned tournament and it’s held monthly at this particular Pinball establishment. It sounds official and stuffy, but everyone there was really casual, welcoming and excited to see a newbie. I was still a little anxious and uncomfortable tip toeing into this community of Pinball Wizards. There were obviously some really strong players in the room and I hoped I wouldn’t do absolutely terrible. I decided to shake off my cares and just have fun playing Pinball games with perfect strangers.

We played 13 rounds. I won 3. 😂 I found myself remembering how to play as we got about half way through the night, which was 3 hours of game time. The opponents I played were very kind, encouraging and gracious. I got some helpful tips and watched some good games. I played 2 rounds with the owner, who was no longer cranky, but really jovial and warm. He obviously really loves hosting these tournaments.

I had a lot of fun, met some nice people, and spent time talking to several of them between rounds. I ended up in a conversation with one of the guys about work. He asked me if I worked here in town. Then he started asking me questions like is my passion my paycheck or is work just a job. Then he went down the path of “if you could do anything you wanted…” ugh… This guy was a really nice person just making friendly conversation. So, anything I say about this chat is not to make him look bad, and hopefully I don’t sound bitchy, but I just always dislike this line of questions.

The answer I gave to the guy asking me the work questions was that I’m happy to have a career that is rewarding and challenging that pays me well enough to pursue my passions and live a nice life outside of work. I work to live, I don’t live to work. 🙂 That was it, in a nutshell…He was a very nice guy who was being welcoming and making just trying to make conversation in the Pinball noise. So, I’m in no way bashing him. I just don’t enjoy those questions. We had a fun chat once I plowed through that topic, and he won 10 out of the 13 rounds, 2 of which I played against him.

I have wondered throughout my life what I would do if I could do anything I wanted, and never have a clue. I guess I would travel and eat my way around the world, and experience different cultures, but isn’t that called vacation?! That’s not really an answer for that question. Honestly, traveling and eating my way around the world would get tiresome after a while just like anything else, especially if it was a job.

I love fitness and cycling, but I wouldn’t want either of those as a career because the minute you start getting paid by someone to do your hobby, it becomes an obligation. I would no longer be working out or cycling just for the fun of it. I would be required to do it, whether I felt like it or not, and would be required to perform at a much higher level. It changes the relationship with that passion/hobby, at least for me.

I also REALLY hate the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question. I’ve been asked that in so many job interviews, and the feeling I get in my stomach is the same every time. What in the hell is the right answer to that question?! I’ve never had an exact vision for where I would be in 5 years at any point in my life. I try to make choices that will most likely lead me to personal and professional happiness. I don’t have an exact roadmap for where I see myself in 5 years. I just point myself in the general direction of my professional and personal interests, throw myself into it with all of my might and see where it leads. We really don’t have control over what the years bring anyway. I’ve learned quite dramatically over the last 5 years that you can think you know where you’re headed, but ultimately life has its own plan.

What a detour this post took, but trudging through those job interview-like questions was a part of the evening and this detour happened, so I guess it belongs here. 😂 The Pinball and change of pace was so much fun. It was really a night that was purely and simply about playing Pinball! I felt like a kid hanging out with a bunch of other kids celebrating the joy of the game. I would definitely go and play again! I was encouraged to also try some of the trivia night events that happen in the Downtown pubs throughout the week… I just might! I do know quite a bit of random trivia…

Thank you for reading! 13 dates down, 37 to go!


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