(For the remainder of this post “you” refers to the amazing Steph Curry!)
You seem to like (or be obsessed) with games that combine the physical and mental. Of course there is basketball, but I think golf might be a close second. Andre Iguodala wrote in his book, The Sixth Man, that you are very good at pretty much everything and that you were amazing when the team played ping pong. Then there was the ping pong commercial with Serena Williams!
If you are willing to risk a new addiction, pinball is an amazing combination of physical and mental skills. Aiming and controlling the pinball with the flippers takes skill and dexterity. Shaking/nudging the machine is controlled physicality. Every different machine has different rules to learn and strategies to play. Since pinball is a physical (not digital) game, every time you step up to a machine you have to adapt to what happens in the real world. And if you get into competitive pinball, you have to be able to perform when the pressure is on. Pretty cool!
And during these crazy shelter-in-place times, pinball has the potential to be great family fun! Rent or buy a machine or two, and the whole family can play.
My hope is that once you play some pinball you will get hooked.
Now why am I throwing down the gauntlet to one of the most famous professional athletes of our time? Is it because I want to meet Steph Curry? Absolutely! But more important to me is that if Steph likes pinball, millions of people all over the world will be exposed to just how cool pinball is!
Steph is beloved by all kinds of people. Young and old. Rich and poor. People of all races, genders, and nationalities. He remains kind, generous, and humble while being one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and his fans love him for it. Kids all over the country play basketball wearing Curry jerseys, and you can see his jerseys in the stands everywhere the Warriors play.
In contrast, the hobby/sport of pinball is primarily middle aged, male, and caucasian. Recently barcades, family entertainment centers, and women’s leagues, like Belle’s & Chimes, have added a little more diversity to pinball, but it hasn’t been enough to change the product that pinball manufacturers sell. Most pinballs are bought by middle age white men, so most (if not all) game themes and licenses are geared to that demographic, so no one else gets drawn into the hobby. It is a sad circular system.
What I hope is that Steph Curry’s influence on millions of people could change the demographics of who plays pinball. If a more diverse group of people is playing pinball (and therefore buying pinballs), the pinball manufacturers might make games with more diverse licenses, and those games would appeal to people of all different backgrounds.
So I challenge you to play pinball. Try it. See if you like it. And if you do, let people know! Make playing pinball cool to all your fans!
Here is the selfish bit. If you like playing pinball, I challenge you to a game. After the shelter-in-place is over, come to the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda and play pinball with me. It would be a thrill for me (and my family), and a boost to an incredible non-profit that has been closed down by COVID-19
A little context:
This idea has been rattling around my head since June 2019. That was when Lauren Gray started the Backbox Pinball Podcast. Her podcast focuses on the women in the sport and hobby of pinball, and she creates a very open and inclusive environment. At the end of every episode she does her segment, Inside the Pinball Arcade, and one of the questions is “Who would you like to play?” And for the last 48 episodes (at the time of writing this) my answer has always been Steph Curry!!!
I however have no clue how to get in touch with Steph. How do you make contact with a famous person without intruding or bugging them? So this is my attempt to get word out. Hopefully the interconnectedness of the internet can work a little magic.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)