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Words from Will

posted Dec 14, 2018, 6:25 AM by Aaron Williams   [ updated Dec 14, 2018, 6:25 AM ]
Many of you know that Will Krusa is moving soon. More than anyone else, Will is responsible for the growth of the pinball scene in Tennessee. He asked me to post the following.

If I could get sappy on everyone for a couple of minutes.  As 2018 and a year of pinball comes to a close, as well as my time as an official Tennessee resident, I just want to take a few minutes to reflect and look at how far we’ve come.  Pinball has been a part of my life now since I was 10 but in terms of competition, I have only been competing in pinball for a few years now. Attached are the results of the first competitive pinball tournament I ever did.  Back then the tournaments were ran by Aaron Williams and they were a monthly event. (Yes we only did 1 tournament a month in Nashville. That’s really funny to think about now. We would struggle to get 5 or 6 people to these tournaments.  Again that’s really funny to think about now.) I met Aaron through the pinball tournaments and we would travel around to the various big pinball shows together and play in the bigger tournaments. A Tennessee state championship was talked about but we couldn’t garner enough interest or create enough events to warrant one and with dwindling attendance, we stopped the monthly tournaments.  During the hiatus I grew restless as we would still do Game Galaxy launch parties when a new game came out and I’d get a taste of pinball competition but it wasn’t enough for me. I started traveling to Chattanooga for non IFPA league nights that they would do every Wednesday to get my fix.

Two things really inspired me to start doing the tournaments again.  The first was Chris Warren who called Tennessee out on pinside around the end of 2016 asking why we didn’t have a State Championship yet.  We had location pinball but it seemed like nothing was happening anymore competition wise. We had also just had our first Nashville pinball show ran by David Corrigan in 2016 with a massive pinball tournament there ran by David Yopp, (more on him later) I decided to try and get things moving again to see if we could get something started.  The second thing that happened around this time (and I forget how this invite landed in my lap but I think it was Richie Townsend who gave it to me) but I got this invitation to a split flipper competition at a place called Ravens. I scratched my head. What is Ravens? Is it a bar? How did I not know about this place? Turns out Ravens was a private business owned by two guys named Seth Steele and Scott Holdren and they were pinball enthusiasts and they had 30 pinballs in their place of business.  At this split flipper tournament these guys got 50 people out to play pinball. 50 freaking people!!!!! I realized that these guys were doing it and that there were people who generally wanted to play more pinball. I grabbed Scott and asked him have you ever wanted to try doing a league? He said he would love to start doing a league. He and Seth designed the Nashville Pinball League logo and Nashville Pinball League was born. We ran the first league March 2017 at Ravens and it was the highest turnout for anything we ever did at that time.  It combined new pinball players with the hardcore old school people who used to do our monthly tournaments. Several renditions of the league have played all over Nashville at Ravens, Headquarters, Game Galaxy, as well as Cobras.

Around the middle of 2017 David Corrigan calls me up on the phone.  

David:  “Hey Will I got a guy I think you should talk to”  

Me:  “Ok. Who is it?”

David:  “His name is David Yopp.  He’s out of Memphis. He ran the big tournament at the show.  Anyway it sounds like he’s trying to get a state championship going as well and I think you guys should connect.”

In that phone conversation David told me about the pinball arcade he was going to start up called the Retro.  He told me about the Memphis scene and all the things that Ace had been doing with Memphis Pinball and Memphis Made.  He said we should run a State Championship this year and form some sort of group for all Tennessee players all over the state to connect to and talk about competitive pinball.  The TCPA pinball group was born from this and from there the Memphis vs. Nashville rivalry was born and that is when things really blew up. We ran the first ever Tennessee State Finals at the Retro arcade in Millington on January 20th 2018.  Ben Liggett became the first ever Tennessee pinball state champ.  

Starting in March of this year we have done at least 1 pinball tournament a week in Nashville.  At least 1. Some weeks 3 or 4. We get a solid 15 to 16 people each one of these with a healthy mix of the casual pinball players to the truly dedicated.  By the end of this year there will be more than 100 pinball tournaments that have taken place this year alone in Tennessee. As I have typed this tonight, I am running a strikes tournament at No Quarter where we have 18 players on a Thursday!  The selfie league at No Quarter is blowing up and has brought in even more players. There are selfie leagues being started at Game Galaxy and in Memphis as well. Music City Pinball has opened its doors to us every Wednesday to allow us to play their games and to provide us another place to get our fix.  There are countless people to thank for all of this and I’ll probably call you out over Facebook for all that you have done. It’s been an honor to play with you and I hope to play more pinball with you in the future.