I don't understand the sport of curling. Isn't this really just shuffle board on ice? And why would anyone watch this on TV? So if curling is considered a sport, why can't pinball?

Maybe I'm a little biased here as I am a lifelong pinball enthusiast, or as others would call me: geek. To those people I say, "I'm a geek but those people sliding a stone across ice using brooms aren't?"

Okay, mini rant over. However I'd like to bring attention to the fact that curling and pinball have some things in common. Both require objects to be aimed at targets. Both require finesse. Both require training and practice to be the best.

Merriam-Webster defines a sport as "a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other." I know what you're thinking. Pinball isn't a physical activity. Well I'll grant that physical activity in pinball is not what you'd see from marathon runners, but it does exist. You won't score big if you don't nudge, hit, slap or even move the machine to get the ball to go where you want it to. I've worked up a sweat in pinball competition, and not just because I'm a bit heavier than I should be.

Pinball has even become a spectator sport. Pinball tournaments are now broadcast live on papa.tv with live commentary and interviews, just like any major sporting event.

Really what I'm trying to say here is that pinball is having a resurgence and it's really fun to play competitively. I'll be headed to Pittsburgh in March to compete against 400 players from all over the world. I played last year and had the time of my life. I even finished in fourth place in my division which was pretty sweet too.

If you've never played pinball, or you haven't in a long time, you should give it a try. I've made a list of some links to pinball resources if you'd like to get into the game. It's a lot warmer than curling.

  • Coast City Comics, Congress Street in Portland -14 pinballs waiting for you to play. Best public location to play pinball in Maine
  • Pinball Wizard Arcade, Pelham NH - Over 100 pinballs and almost 200 classic arcade games to play. It's worth the drive.
  • Lanes & Games, Cambridge MA - If you want to play the latest and greatest pinballs, this is the place. It's also worth the drive. Bowl and eat and make a day out of it.
  • papa.org - The Professional and Amateur Pinball Association. A one stop resource for pinball news, events, game play tutorials and live broadcasts of tournaments. Their facility just outside of Pittsburgh houses the largest collection of pinballs you are likely to ever see and is where the largest tournaments in the world are held.
  • New England Pinball - A Facebook group for members of The Boston Pinball Association. The group comprises people from all over New England who love to play pinball. You can learn about the New England Pinball League and participate in local tournaments held on a regular basis in Gorham and other areas in New England. You'll need to request to join the group, but tell them Jeff sent you. We're always looking for more members interested in the game.
  • Portland Pinball League - A group of pinball players that meet at Coast City Comics Sunday nights to play. A great group of people.


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