Sorry, it’s kind of a long story:
I woke up Saturday morning on Bainbridge Island, WA in 61st place of IFPA-9 with 58 points. I hoped that 96 was the cut-line that year (and not 98, like in Sweden at IFPA-8) so all I needed was to finish 19-19; I even had two “outs” and didn’t have to do a “Full Sutter” (Robert Sutter went 21-21 in his last two rounds on Saturday of IFPA-6 in London to make the cut from last-ish place…). I played like shit on Friday, but I also had a fair amount of bad luck too with groups and game selections (I blame the stupid IFPA game selection software!!) so I tried to remain optimistic while I still had some life, My first game of the day was on Todd’s very nice playing Transformers LE, and even though I could have gone last, I needed to shake things up, so I chose to go first and put up a huge ball 1 and went on to win easily. Game 2 was on Cyclone, and I got to go first again (since I won the previous game) and I remember hitting the right ramp twice right off the bat and think here I go again, but just missed the Jackpot on the third shot and left a bunch of points on the table, On ball 3, I was looping out the center shot and had the million lit, but failed to make the shot and Danny Backglass beat me by like 100k. ok. That was one of my outs gone. The “old” game for that group was King Rock up in the garage, and I had some good luck on the game and was able to take first comfortably with a couple of double bonus collects, so I finished with a 19. Cool. half way there. My last group was T-Mac, Sanjay, and a European player I didn’t know and we were all in the same boat - one of us needed 19 points to get to 96. The first game was on a pretty wicked playing Cirqus Voltarie. So, of course, everyone else in my group blew it up and going into ball 3, I was in 3rd place with a few million and needed to get past 25 mil for second and 35 million for first (did I mention that this was a wicked playing CV ??!!). I had a Juggler/Ringmaster stack all setup, but drained out after my second Juggler lock (the ball kicked out from the Juggler and when SDTM. I remember the instant I tilted that ball and knew that my Tournament was over. Best I could do with a 3rd in the first game was 17 and that would not be enough. I feel to my knees (we were all playing in our socks down in T-Mac’s basement, so it was easy in defeat. I quickly went through the five stages of grief on my way up to game 2. I was out at that point, but I still wanted to play my best and finish strong. We had a great match on Embryon for Game 2, and I needed a big ball 3 to come back and get the win. The final game of IFPA-9 for me was on, what at the time was just an ordinary, tilty Old Chicago (Although, just about 18 hours later, it would become the infamous tilty Old Chicago…) I played the game well and made a couple of great outlane saves and I remember laughing at myself because I was suddenly able to play so calmly and well after the pressure of qualifying had been lifted on that game of CV… Unfortunately, though, I housed my double bonus ball 5, and T-Mac was less than 10k behind me with a ball to go… I remember walking out of the garage to take a deep breath that I was done and I was congratulating a couple of guys sitting out in the driveway and when asked, I said… “Well, I could end up with a 17 this round, but I would need Todd to drain right about…” and just then, I heard a collective groan come from the garage as Todd drained out his last ball just a couple thousand points short of my score. I was happy that I played better on Saturday, but frustrated that I would miss the cut at 94 points… So you can imagine my absolute euphoric disbelief a few minutes later when Josh announced the cutline at 94 points. Even though it was 7 players for just 1 spot, it was a new life!! Looking back at the results, it was just insane that the cutline was 94. If any of the 7 players had just one more victory in that last round, there wouldn’t have been a playoff and the final round scores of the 7 players were 17, 17, 11, 7, 5, 5. My good luck continued because the selected game for the playoff was Tron, which I had already played well in group play on Friday, and my position was last player in the first group of three, and the other four would play after us. Now some players might like to know going into a big, all-or-nothing game what the scores were from the first group, but I am not one of those people! So to me, it was perfect; I just had the beat the other two guys in my group and put up a solid score and the rest would hopefully take care of itself. My luck continued as neither of the other two players in my group seemed to know Tron very well at all (it was pretty new back then) and both started with less than a million points on ball 1. I started off my first ball really well getting to Quorra MB and cruised from there to finish with around 40 million (old code, so scores were a lot lower back then). I then just had to wait out the other 4 player group, which seemed to take an eternity. I didn’t watch the game (so maybe Raymond remembers what the scores were ?) and probably clocked in a couple of miles of pacing around Todd’s expansive driveway waiting for it to end, but I survived the 7-for-1 playoff and made the Finals at IFPA-9… That was a Sweet Pinball Moment ™.