Those who have read my introduction will know that I have a passion for pinball. The two things I most commonly hear from people when they learn of my passion for this sport is either “Yo! I haven’t played one of those since I was a kid!” or “Pffft, that’s not a sport.”

Pinball is a game of control. The most common mistake people make is they hit the ball as soon as it comes down, this temporary measure quickly creates a lot of chaos and the ball will eventually go straight down the middle or into one of the side gutters.

This can be prevented by periodically catching the ball and having the ball come to a complete stop. “Nudging” the table is also crucial, however nudging is an art form; too much force and you’ll “tilt” or lock the machine and too little will not affect the ball.

This knowledge is akin to the flick of the wrist in basketball, as one could mindlessly throw balls at the hoop and score, but it is nowhere as effective as utilizing the wrist snap.

Hence, in my opinion, if golf can be considered a sport, so can pinball. I had once taken my friends to a pinball tournament. They said “pinball is not a sport”, yet within 30 minutes of the tournament, they were catching their breath on the couch. Whilst not as tiring as hockey, it is extremely mentally taxing.

But I am not here to teach you to play, I am only providing necessary context. So, why should Merritt have a pinball machine?

Spare change is not where pinball profits come from – it is events. The standard in B.C. is $10 entry fee for one event. This could potentially be lucrative as truly dedicated pinball players will travel far for tournaments, especially if it is sanctioned by the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA).

When I was living in the Lower Mainland, many of my friends in the pinball community would travel up to Squamish just to play in a tournament.

Merritt is situated in the middle of the Lower Mainland, Kamloops, and Kelowna meaning regular tournaments could potentially be lucrative. Merritt also has a good selection of bars and pubs as well as a bowling alley, pinball machines often make nice compliments to these types of establishments.

Currently, according to the crowd sourced app Pinball Map, there are no pinball machines in the Nicola Valley whilst Kamloops has a total of 11 and Kelowna has 13.

But much more than anything, it is a fun night out with your friends and family and could perhaps become a community within the community.