TUCSON, Ariz. — Ever thought about playing pinball competitively? Well, these women do it once a month, and they call themselves the Belles and Chimes of Phoenix.
Ever thought about playing pinball competitively? Well, these women do once a month.— Veronika Vernachio (@vvernachio) July 20, 2019
They’re an all women pinball group called Belles and Chimes from Phoenix. I’ll have more on how they’re starting the first all women pinball group here in Tucson tonight on @kgun9. pic.twitter.com/6jyXn9P0LD
It started as a way to give women a chance to play pinball, without being the only woman at competitions.
"For a woman who is just like, hey, I'd love to jump into competitive pinball, it can be a little intimidating to walk into a room full of men who maybe don't see you as an equal pinball player. It's a way to kind of break down that barrier," Tournament Director of Belles and Chimes Tracey Lindbergh said.
For these women, pinball is more than just a fun arcade game.
"It's just one of these things that seems so simple. I've always loved pinball," Belles and Chimes participant Teresa Clement said.
Clement lives in Marana, but commutes to Phoenix just to be part of Belles and Chimes. Clement said pinball has always been a big part of her life, so it is worth it.
"I think my very first pinball machine was when I was about 4 years old. My cousins had one when we lived in Iowa. It was the greatest thing. You'd go in the basement and just bang around with the cousins," Clement said. "Then, I actually met my husband when I was in college and our first date was playing pinball over pizza and so it's kind of been a personal heart string for me."
Clement hopes to bring her love to pinball to other women by bring a chapter of Belles and Chimes to Tucson.
"It's always been a relatively low percentage of the overall pinball population that is women. and so that's another purpose of Belles and Chimes is to change that, so that we have more women playing in the open tournaments too," Lindbergh said.
For anyone that wants to participant, the organization said people are always welcome to any of their events.