Robert D. Willig '66 flipped his way into pinball immortanty Monday.
With a virtuoso performance on the red bumpers and masterful flipper control. Willig scored an all-time record 2785 on the Tommy's Lunch pinball machino, shattering the previous mark of 2330 held by Jeff Hobbing '66.
The epochal performance started innocently enough, as Willig totalled 450 after his first two balls. But the third ball was sheer poetry. The sandy-haired senior lit all four bumpers almost immediately, caromed the silver spheroid against the century target several times, and made brilliant saves repeatedly. When the smoke had cleard, Willig had surpassed 1900 points -- and everyone at Tommy's lunch knew he might be seeing history in the making.
His hands trembling, Willig lit a cigarette and paused before shooting the fourth ball. He was thinking about a game just a week before on which he had scored 1800 points on the third ball--and tilted. He was thinking of the pool tall in Brooklyn where he had pushed his first flipper, never dreaming that someday he would be standing on the brink of greatness. He was thinking of his mother and father, who more than anything else in the world had wanted their little boy to grow up to be a pinball champion.
Playing too cautiously, Willig scored only 200 on his fourth ball. When his fifth shot falled to light the all-important red bumpers, a hush fell over the crowd.
But Willig began to show the stuff of which champions are made. Deftly he lighted the blue bumper. Then he left the fans exophthalmic with a long flip to the hundred target. After bouncing the ball between the blue and yellow bumpers. Willig was home free. It was a moment that will he remembered as long as The Game is played.