Montreal

Flippers flying in women-only pinball league

There's a new women-only pinball league in Quebec, and their flippers have been flying since their first game last week.

The league seeks to make the male-dominated sport more inclusive

Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon, organizer of the women's-only pinball league, which meets Tuesday nights at North Star bar. (Submitted by Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon)

There's a new women-only pinball league in Quebec, and their flippers have been flying since their first game last week. 

The point of the league is to make women feel more included in a male-dominated community.

"I really wanted to do my part to make women feel comfortable," said league organizer Charlotte Fillmore-Handlon.

How male dominated is pinball? Fillmore-Handlon said that of the 38,000 people registered in the global pinball rankings, only 2,000 — or five per cent — are women.

The women meet on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at the North Star bar, a so-called "barcade" with eight machines and a full bar. It is the first in the Plateau–Mont-Royal borough since a 1970s bylaw that forbade pinball machines in bars.

How the league works

Women who show up to play in the league will be put into random teams of four, and compete on three different pinball machines.

Scores are added up cumulatively week-to week, but only the top three weeks count. The tournament lasts five weeks, and Fillmore-Handlon asks participants to commit to coming to three of the games.

She added that those just wanting to drop by to play the odd game of pinball would also be welcome. 

In creating the league, Fillmore-Handlon wanted to recapture the welcoming atmosphere that she felt when she first joined the pinball community.

"Surrounding myself with people who were really good and seeing what they could do was really motivational," she said.

"Trying those skills for myself and building that up was a really good feeling." 

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