Yellow Cards, behavior and penalties


This thread is like Dennis Leary + the Gasden flag. It’s scary that there are so many people out there that can’t self-regulate their behavior for a few hours when they are out in public. It’s like Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty to shout expletives at the Bride of Pinbot in public, or give me death!”


There is a sign up in our curling club that reads “People who can’t swim don’t blame the water”


Not so sure this is about misogyny as that is the hatred or prejudice towards Women. Don’t think one person here is arguing against that. This is fair enough, but I’d also expect the same if someone says, “Hey, don’t be a dick.” That seems to be wildly accepted but the “Don’t be a bitch” is scrutinized. Both have the same meaning but one is directed towards a male personality trait and the other a woman. Why is one acceptable and not the other (not trying to put words in your mouth, just providing an example which is represented on this forum often). Perfect example. I was moderated (not by you) for almost this same thing and yet the “Don’t be a dick” never was.

Again with the over the top examples. How many times does it have to be said for people to stop? THIS is not the behavior in question. It’s the random “Fuck”, “Bull Shit”, etc or slap to a lock bar that is in question.

Can we, as a group, please stop this crap? It’s not progressing the conversation and it makes us rehash the differences over and over…

I know you and completely respect the amount of control you have. It’s almost Elwin like. But let me throw this back. This is not a debate about if someone can “self control” themselves. This is a debate about if someone “should be forced” to self control. The people in this thread think everyone should be a robot with no emotion at all. That’s not reality in any sport. In any sport you will have your calm people and then you will have others whom wear that emotion on their sleeve. Showing some sign of frustration should be acceptable.

Shoot, in our group of local players I can only think of 3 to maybe 5 top tournament players that have your level of self control (Garret, You, Luke). All of the rest (wont name names as they may get offended) which is easily a dozen players do, at times say a curse word, slap the lockbar or shake a machine. All minor things but as this thread has progressed some of the potential TD’s have already said some of this would be yellow cards and even one said a straight red.

An example. Let’s say I decide to go and try to qualify for TPL this Sat. I get stuck on Star Wars Stern. I plunge the ball and it goes straight left outlane. The game autoplunges (because I’m to slow to react to short plunge) and it auto’s to the left outlane again. I will 90% chance say to that game, “That’s some Bull Shit right their.” I should be ALLOWED to let off some frustration while not creating a scene. To me, something like this should be acceptable in a competitive tournament with something real on the line. Obviously, shaking the machine, screaming at it, hitting it violently, donkey kicking it, etc wouldn’t be. What I’m trying to find is the clear line on what that would be. TD’s in this thread disagrees some will say yellow while others wont. Quite honestly, if I have to police myself to that level then I wont come to events anymore as I don’t feel like I should be walking on egg shells so that I don’t potentially offend someone else for something that is quite frankly, none of their business.


I agree. No yellow card in this situation. I would be shocked if this situation would cause a yellow card at any event.


You know what?

I’m sick of everyone falling back to the extreme cases, so here’s some personal experience as to why I’m backing @unsmith here:

I am a player who likes to be emotional and have FUN. Sometimes ill talk to a game, sing, make an action, etc. When I do so, I have FUN and things are positive. Bad drain? Shake a fist and say some ridiculous words. Taunt the game creatively. Acceptable behavior.

And yet, I take flak for this. Sure it’s a minority, but I have taken shit for having FUN. I’m a considerate guy, so i decided to tone things back out of respect for these folks. I’m not able to be myself, I have less FUN. Then, without a positive outlet to use, I revert to negative outlets. And then people give me justifiable flak for it.

Shit, nothing feels amazing like finally blowing up a game in qualifying, having FUN, and then hearing something that could be seen in certain lights as a threat for being proud of your work and being positive.

I don’t want to play pinball in a world where players feel justified by the rules to stifle and give me shit for having FUN, and there have been many times in this conversation that the tone has been leaning towards that.

He isn’t talking about sexism, or racism, or machine abuse, or machinegunning profanity. We all know those are bad. He’s making sure, and justifiably so given my personal experience, that we don’t smother the positive by reforming the negative.

Sorry if it comes off as a bit rant-y, but this is something I’m quite passionate about on a personal level.


I am all for this behavior too. Have fun. Show you’re having fun. Creating that positive vibe is contagious and others feed into it. At least I do. In my experience it makes the experience for everyone at the event more enjoyable.


Then please drill that point home. Right now, I can see people (not explicitly the TDs) feeling justified with pushing around people who act positively if they can’t handle a bit of action next to them.


Oh i do. Straight from the Pincinnati website and I say it with EVERY pre tournament speech.

“Taunt the game, talk to yourself, be lighthearted about it, but do not have these immature displays of negativity and outbursts of F bombs. It makes others uncomfortable and it is unsportsmanlike. ”

I guess I could add something like, “being positive, cheering on players, reacting positively to a great ball or game, will never be discouraged.”


I’m just going to say that a lot of onlookers at Cle Pin found it pretty awkward how often you were shouting and throwing your hat after draining in playoff games. I’m not suggesting that it should be a hard and fast punishable offense, but you definitely contributed to shifting the vibe in the room to something less FUN for the group as a whole.


I like to think that I’m a perfect example of exactly this.

This is me shortly after not winning Pinburgh:

There isn’t a single moment where I’m not having a blast. This involves the moments I’m yelling at myself, shaking games next to the one I’m playing, slamming my bottle of water against the leg of a game.

I may get away with some of that because of who I am . . . but I hope that most people understand and see that I’m no way acting out of rage, I’m not there to make anyone else truly uncomfortable or fear for their safety. I’m just there to enjoy the fact that my wife let me leave the nest for a couple of days to do the one thing in life I enjoy the most.


Good! And call me out for it. I’m still learning how to deal with big pressure/long day/circuit situations, and I know I have been and may continue to be a jagoff as I learn.

Doesn’t change the rest of my statement.


Why? How did it personally effect them? it’s not some random dude walking down the street yelling at themselves. They see the context. He was playing in the playoffs of a major pinball tournament. It’s obvious he was frustrated by the situation. I don’t understand how someone could be their watching the playoffs and see this and then take personal offense to him showing his frustration.

Sure, mock him all you want but taking offense to the action is absurd to me. he’s not posing a danger to anyone and could be creating some comedic relief for those that have a sense of humor.


I don’t think there is a perfectly clear line and I don’t think this thread will produce one. Every tournament director has their own personal standards for the unique context and community of their tournament. “I know it when I see it” applies here and everyone sees it differently. If you don’t agree with the way a particular tourney director does it, by all means don’t support the event, create your own tournament/league, etc, etc. As mentioned before, people vote with their feet and the attendance of the event will show if people approve of the way the TD is running things.

If you’re waiting for a perfect definition of what is acceptable that all TDs will agree to follow, you’ll probably be waiting for a while.


It’s my hometown so I knew people there for the show and just casually watching the tournament. I had multiple people tell me “that’s kind of the reason I don’t do the tournaments” after watching outbursts from a few of the louder players involved. I think it’s a reasonable reaction from outsiders who aren’t used to that kind of thing.

Generally speaking, there’s something inherently embarrassing for everyone who has to watch adults stomp around throwing a tantrum about a game.


This topic just keeps going…

Has anyone (especially the people who are feeling defensive of current norms in competitive play) received or seen someone receive a yellow card that you thought was too harsh or unjustified?

Has anyone seen someone at a tournament react in an overly aggressive or sexist or misogynistic manner deserving of a yellow card and not receive one?

I have seen the second multiple times and have never seen the first happen (or even heard about a situation where it happened).

I think everyone’s tendency when we are asked to look at our behavior is to become defensive. This thread has made me think a lot about my behavior while playing. If we are unwilling to think about our behavior or even consider that we might occasionally mess up then things won’t have the opportunity to improve.

Also just wanted to say that the times I am angriest about a drain while playing competitively are the times that I am most insecure about whether I am a good player and (more importantly) whether people will notice that I’m a good player. I think people who rage and rage tilt are actively harming themselves and their ability to play well.


I feel like I have to contribute at this point. It is widely acceptable to want to have fun at tournaments and be playful during gameplay ALTHOUGH you have to take into account how that appears from the outside. Sure a lot of us yell at the game but is smacking yourself in the head often during gameplay “FUN”? Do you think someone observing a tournament would be like “oh wow they sure are frustrated…they are actually abusing themselves and sign me up!!”

OR from a personal experience, I was at Fight Club. We were at 5 players, me, another new female player, a league member, and @ScoutPilgrim. You unfortunately were the one person knocked out in that round. I can understand being disappointed but I personally witnessed you take your shoe off and throw it. Is that FUN? We laughed very uncomfortably and someone else commented that you needed a hat. Throwing anything during a tournament is UNACCEPTABLE. While I understand you are still learning how to censor yourself, I did not feel acknowledged at all after that outburst. It killed the vibe and I know the new player wasn’t keen on being around that kind of scene. Do outbursts personally affect others players? YES. It takes them out of their focus, screams unprofessionalism, and kills the FUN vibe.

In the end, we are seeing players and tournament directors speak up about player conduct. It is our job to listen and take the time to see where we can better our local pinball scenes. Do we want new players to join and completely be turned off by an outburst from grown adults? Do we want to constantly witness this type of behavior? Or are we going to nitpick what is FUN or not?


If the behavior bothered you, instead of “laughing uncomfortably,” why don’t you simply ask him to stop acting like a dork? Hiding your true feelings and not providing feedback doesn’t help people learn their behavior isn’t the best.

I also lean towards letting players act however they wish, as long as they’re not bothering neighboring competitors. Perhaps not throwing things, but self taunting, talk, whatever… why does someone acting silly make others feel uncomfortable? I played with Pilgrim at PGH and it was a blast. No church service tournaments, please.


Yes and I vocalized my displeasure for those other people getting penalized. Also, some of the reactions to video’s posted in this thread also are being used in my judgement for how well this is/would be enforced.

yes and no. But not most cards are delivered in private as a side bar conversation and not made publicly so this one is hard to judge. Here is the hard part of this one. It has to be seen by an official and officials aren’t always around. Does it happen, I’m betting so.

I can agree with this. Before placing 4th at TPF I was a lot more laid back as nobody noticed me. After this I constantly hear things like, “You beat Brad? You know he placed 4th at TPF and 9th in state.” It added a level of pressure that is 100% mental for me.

Quite the contrary. If I’m overly frustrated and don’t have a way to remove that frustration I’m dead in the water. Once I get it out of my system I’m normally pretty good. Sometimes its a “that’s BS” at a game or if I’m really upset with myself I will walk off (some may call it storm) and distance myself from things for a couple mins. I’ve even at times gone outside and yelled “argh!!!” to let that frustration out. It’s how I was raised. If I got mad at home we were taught to go into our room and just punch a pillow if we had to. My parents felt it was better for us to do that than do something else. Moral of the story, we all let frustration out in different ways. It’s really of nobody else s business how I do it as long as I’m not being violent towards you or breaking any laws.


Why does the gender of the player matter in this instance?

Also, it extremely funny when Adam M does this, at least from the streams I’ve seen it and heard people laugh about it. This is the problem. Some people laugh at it while others get offended.

I personally think that it’s silly but it’s not my place to change their behavior. It did no personal harm to myself or the venue. In fact, it became a running joke.


I have spoken to him before about certain behavior. More specifically game abuse. How many times is it necessary to mention stuff is not cool? In the future I will be more direct since it has been ongoing with other players in my league that I want to step away from the competition scene locally. I have zero problem with game taunting aside from cussing up a storm since our league/ tournaments are open to all. I have many problems with the other actions that go with it.