GateHouse – I think I ran into a foosball hustler last weekend at the bar.
I can’t be sure, because I’ve never seen a foosball hustler, never considered the possibility that a foosball hustler might exist, never remotely believed that someone could take seriously an activity wherein you rocket a marble across a table populated by red plastic molds with a curtain rod through their torsos, that there would be someone who would look at average Joe Punchclocks in an average bar playing some average foosball and sniff, “These guys are A VULGAR EMBARRASSMENT TO THE GAME.”
In case you’re not familiar, or in case it goes by different names in other parts of the country, such as “table football” or “niblet jousting” or “Martin,” the sport of foosball, it is important to first note, is not a sport. It is a drinking activity, something people do in their basements while the game is on, or maybe when the pool table is broken. It is not a sport that is, for instance, in the Olympics. I think. Hang on, let me Google that. Nope, not in the Olympics. Thought so.
Here is how I play it — and here is how I assume most people play it, unless there’s some sort of mysterious foosball underground I’m unaware of, and if there is, somebody e-mail me about it, because I have to see what you people dress like: Someone puts a ball on the table, and I immediately spin whichever stick thing happens to nearest my hand until one of three things happens:
- My hand gets tired.
- I need to use my hand to pick up my beer.
- Something of passing interest occurs elsewhere, and I abandon the table mid-game. (I do not have the stick-to-it-iveness required of our country’s more legendary foosball gladiators.)
Sure, there are variations on this strategy. For instance, sometimes I will have a teammate, so there will be two of us spinning our stick things in pointless entropy instead of one. This is called “strategy.” Other strategies include ordering another drink, occasionally referring to the other team as “Sheilas” and attempting to psych the other player(s) out by cleverly warning them about something that I invent entirely, such as that they are currently standing in a growing puddle of dog urine (these tactics are not explicitly banned by any official foosball organization that I can find; I Googled that, too).
So anyway, there we are, me and a buddy Adam, engaged with a couple friends in a spirited and nonsensical round of shish kebab-spinning when up ambles an older gent in a loose, partly translucent white linen shirt, slick Vince McMahon hair and a gold necklace that spells “FOOS CHAMP” and looks like it should be located somewhere on Kanye West (Editor’s Note: This detail is entirely made up, but makes for a better story, and let’s be honest, we’re not solving the immigraton problem here).
After a few moments of coolly regarding our game, during which time he is snickering to a neighbor and making offhanded cracks about how good we are at foosball, he calls next and absolutely decimates us in stunningly efficient fashion. This guy took 30 seconds to set up each move, lining up with cold, mathematical precision his every shot, each of which would rocket into the goal and leave a trail of smoke behind. It was impressive to watch the first time. Then we all abandoned the table, because if you ever find yourself in the company of a foosball hustler, there is only one course of action: Get out of there immediately. Unless, of course, you can convince him to step in dog urine.