MSU students, professors and alumni are among the people who flock The Avenue Cafe at Lansing with its bimonthly Lansing Pinball Competition.

The Lansing Pinball League was a brainchild of Matt Pries. He started it in 2013 with only his roommates as members. Pries recounts, “The whole thing started because I wanted more pinball machines by where I live. The first night (of the league) it was just me and my roommate.” But in few years it grew to be a pinball haven for many Lansing, Flint and Grand Rapids residents.

A Math professor named Russel Schwab said that he was hyped when The Avenue brought in pinball machines and noted, “Every time they brought more machines in, more people came in.” The fifth best pinball player, Chris Tabaka who was a former adjunct professor at MSU said that he doesn’t just come to compete.

“(I like) the camaraderie, I’ve been in leagues across the state, and this is the most laid back and mellow,” he said.

The camaraderie, and the interaction is what brings people to the Pinball League. Tabaka said, “With this league, it’s all about the people. Where else are you going to find a bunch of PhDs drinking beer and BS-ing?”
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