Hi, how you doing? It's been a while since I was last at your venue. Sure I was there on Wednesday evening to watch my South Melbourne play, but last Saturday's Hellenic Cup match day was the first time I've been able to spend an extended period of time at Ralph Reserve for several years.
I see you have a little covered terrace now. Very nice. Sure it faces the setting sun, and the rain will get through the gaps during the winter, but it's better than what a lot of clubs have. And your souvlaki, while a little salty for my taste, was still good value for $7. Throw in a soft drink and it';s an even tenner, no need to fiddle around with change. And the lady working in the canteen said she'd made it extra special for me. But despite all your improvements, I was most astounded - and as you'll see soon, disappointed - by one of your lower key acquisitions. It appears you now have a pinball machine tucked away behind the pool table.
But not just any pinball machine - a Family Guy pinball machine, a table I haven't played yet. It looked a bit sullen sitting hidden away in that corner. But it caught my attention anyway. Surely it couldn't have been as bad as the Pirates of the Caribbean table. Was it worth my time and money? Sadly, no. And not because it was a poor table - it's because you hadn't even bothered to turn it on. How can you have a pinball table and not have it on?
It's hard enough to find a pinball machine these days in Melbourne, thanks to the gradual death of video game arcades across Melbourne (except for those ones allegedly on Russel Street which are allegedly just a front for drug dealing, allegedly) - and most of those offer the same stupid music or dancing games or one on one beat em ups.
Back in my day lost weekend at Melbourne University, when I wasn't trying to lead John Stockton and the Utah Jazz to NBA Jam glory, I was across at the pinball machines - Dr Who, Indiana Jones, some blasted fishing one, Last Action Hero. At the old Playtime on Bourke Street, they had that soccer with the moving goalie, and sometimes he worked, sometimes he didn't, and one time he wasn't even there! Oh, and the dollar coins I threw into that slotted abyss at Highpoint! Those dreadful Star Wars tables, the legendary South Park table with the flushing toilet, the too easy but logical Monopoly table and the tolerable because it was the by then only one left Elvis table.
Um, where was I? Oh yeah. Good folk of Panellinios. I am a sad case, yes. That is why I hang around soccer grounds where there is scarce interest from even the most diehard of soccer fanatics. But during that down time of half an hour on Saturday, while Heidelberg and Brunswick City warmed up, the former with a slimmed down Tommi Tommich, after he allegedly dropped 20 kilos after allegedly being dumped by his girlfriend - wouldn't it have been better for me to get out of the sun and away from the old men, and wasted some idle time, and maybe even earned a replay on Family Guy pinball?
There's a reasonable chance I will still be the same sad case next week. Will you have your pinball machine on then? I'll have a dollar spare just in case.
Professional sad case and pinball aficionado, despite my poor aim and reflexes