This is going to be a pretty self serving little blurb on what I consider my best tournament to date as a competitive player. This is a long ramble but isn’t this forum all about rambling about pinball?
Yesterday I won the “Pin-Masters of Maine” event, a pingolf event with 25 players and one of a three-tourney series called “Pin-masters of New England”. It was a bit of a drive but I’ve been traveling a lot for IFPA points, and also having placed second in the Rhode Island Pinmasters event I knew placing in the top 50% of the field would likely qualify me for the finals for the series. The tourney was a private collection of mostly classics (18 pins were in the tourney).
My best event from an IFPA points standpoint was my second place in Classics I at PAPA this year, but obviously coming in second is not ever going to be anyone’s “Best” tournament. After that Classics performance I bounced around performing either pretty good (9th in Intergalactic) or pretty bad (47th and not close to qualifying in the Pintastic tourney). I also had a top 16 bye for the NEPL, and considering Suppressed Player wasn’t playing in league this time I felt this was my best chance to win the NEPL (after a 3rd place in November which kickstarted my increased tourney play). However I choked in 14th and seriously started to question whether my Classics result was a fluke and a result of the more random nature of older games.
This result on Saturday at Pin-masters was my most ‘complete’ performance. I won the tournament by qualifying very high and earned a first round bye. This was the first time I had ever been to this location/collection unlike most of the rest of the field; I put up good scores on games that I had 30 seconds or less of practice on. In the semi-finals I won a group which contained the only other higher-ranked IFPA player (a top 100 player who I have a dismal record against). I recovered from a first-game poor performance (last place with a 5) to advance out of the semi-finals. I got to drive the bus in the finals and picked games I knew the other players, who were more classics fans, would struggle with. And finally I absolutely crushed the final 3 game set in finals, with two holes in one and a total of 5 points.
Some other notes: I was really discouraged by a no-nudge tilt on TOTAN during multiball, I flipped both flippers and the game said ‘TILT’ without any warnings, I think it was a bug or error in the game, but it was ruled ‘that’s pinball’. Luckily a Diner game which was looking like a 5 was wiped out by a major and I put a 1 up on Dr. Dude, Diner’s replacement. That really helped level my head as I was steaming about the TOTAN ruling.
After second guessing myself this summer it was really nice to win a tournament by executing my game plan. It also re-energized my commitment to playing tournaments, which comes at a large time, money, and family cost. I should believe I’m getting better by going from 2207 in IFPA to 224 (should be under 200 once this result is posted), but I really needed a solid 1st place finish to boost my confidence.