Pinball players start ladies league, compete in championship

Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 14:40:34-04

BOISE, ID — The journey of that little steel ball is one we can all relate to: navigating life's hurdles to try to reach our goals.

"I'm gonna try to knock down all the target things that there are to knock down... and then I'm gonna try to aim for things," said Debbie Courson Smith, championship participant and league leader.

But for this Boise "pinballing" mom and daughter, it's not just about the flashing lights or heart-pumping music; they're aiming for something greater.

"Women are really good-- they just don't know it yet," said Courson Smith.

They hope to empower women pinball players with their all-female, all-ages league, Treasure Valley Belles and Chimes.

"We talk about the geometry, thinking about planning your shots," said Courson Smith.

And like the flipper hits the ball, she is rejecting any age-old sexism in the game.

"Women are a little bit objectified-- well maybe a lot. And you can look at some of these back-glasses and see that."

But for her, there's power in that.

"It's kind of cool to say, 'Well, I'm gonna take this back," said Courson Smith.

2017 Idaho Pinball Champ Aviana Smith says she even shares strategies she spent years sharpening.

"It feels wrong to share them. But for the ladies, I'm willing to do it," said Aviana Smith. "People going into it really think that it's luck."

But, like life, she says it's not about winning or losing... it's more about having this:

"The courage to try. And I want people to try," said Smith.

So I tried, and I tanked. But with a little perseverance... I showed that stubborn little ball who's boss!

Saturday's tournament starts at 4 p.m. at the Potting Shed at 6207 Franklin Rd, Boise, ID 83709.