70-year-old Kenny Bourbeau of Barnstead, New Hampshire loves playing pinball. He's been playing for decades and playing competitively for over 10 years at locations all across New England as a member of the New England Pinball League.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the US, the hobby and the community that Kenny loves so much came to a grinding halt. It was a tough time for everyone that loves pinball and looked forward to getting together with friends to have a beer or two and play.

When Tokens Taproom in Dover, New Hampshire announced they were opening up again, it was a bittersweet moment for Kenny. He had been a regular at Tokens and wanted nothing more than to be back inside, having a beer and playing some pinball with his friends, but he was also cautious.

Kenny has had open heart surgery and is still not quite ready to head into a bar to play pinball with his friends. But he can't stay away either.

"Few stop & realize we make most of our friendships at work," Kenny wrote in a Facebook post to New England Pinball League members, "But what if you've been working alone at home for 22 years? For me, that's where pinball comes in...
I've always loved playing from the time it cost 5 cents a game to machines that have dollar bill and credit card slots. But the underlying thing is the people I've met and call my friends. At 70 with a history of open heart surgery, I have to wait for a vaccine before I can join you again, but you folks are in my heart and mind every day. Don't be surprised if you see me OUTSIDE a league location some pinball night just to see my friends."

On Tokens Taproom's opening night Wednesday, Kenny said he'd be outside on the sidewalk just to say hello to everyone. Tokens owner Josh Hynes replied, "Kenny...in all seriousness I will push a pin(ball machine) out to the sidewalk for you if you come."

When Kenny showed up, look what he found.

Tokens Taproom
Tokens Taproom

A few friends stopped by to play pinball in the safer, outdoor environment with Kenny, and he said a few of them beat him but, "I'm not that good."

It's not how well you play the game Kenny. It's how much you enjoy the time you spend playing with the people who call you their friend.

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