Yesterday I said goodbye to my foosball table as Brian’s friend Keith moved it away to a new home in Brainerd.
The table had been with me since I was six years old. Dad purchased it from a bar on a family vacation in the mid eighties for a reasonable price. The bar owner had thought foosball was obsolete since he was making much more money on Packman arcade games and so he wanted to get rid of it. I actually remember the first time I played the game and became quite frustrated at getting my face beat in by my father. However, that did not deter my love for the game as I kept playing it every chance I could get my hands on a quarter.
As a child, in my more lonesome times, I would play against myself using both hands to govern each team in contests that could last for hours (it’s easy to play defense against yourself). I even devised an elaborate tournament between different teams I creatively named and drew up brackets to see where they won and lost. I even named certain players in reward for their offensive or defensive abilities. One of my long time dreams was to glue some orange yarn on the head of one of the defenders and name him Alexi Lawless.
I learned a lot of good skills on the table. At youth group I prided myself on beating everyone into submission without even using the offensive players. My high school friend Erik and I spent a week arguing over things like creation and evolution and the existence of God and finally came to believe there was only one way to settle the dispute. Of course it was no contest. If only all philosophical questions could be answered so easily. But in college I would soon meet my match. At the Lake Street house Dave BryanEhr regularly routed me with extreme efficiency. We made a rule that you had a take a swig of beer every time you scored a goal so you would become less coordinated as time went on. After losing a lot I would finally defeat Dave until late in the evening. However, if we joined forces we were pretty unbeatable. In a bar downtown we held the table for quite awhile against some pretty stiff competition.
The best foosball story I have comes from one of those very contests where I scored a goal and it was incumbent on me to take a swig. Since we were playing so often our beer budget was strained and we decided to get the cheap stuff to save money. A 24 pack of Blatz was about 10 bucks in those days. For some reason I thought I had a fresh can sitting on the table, but it turned out it had been sitting down there for a couple of days. As I triumphed in my score I took my reward in hand brimming with the foulest tasting swill you could imagine and guzzled it heartily not knowing the surprise that awaited my condemned tongue. I gagged and spewed it all over the table. Dave fell to the floor laughing as I sprinted upstairs to wash my mouth out with soap. Now I know what two-day old Blatz tastes like.
But the glory days would be short-lived. As I moved around the cities the table spent time in another man’s house and did not see much action. The last few years it has had little use as one of the star players for the red team suffered a career ending knee injury.
Now that I am moving into a tiny apartment in uptown I just don’t have room for it and decided to sell. I wanted it to have a good home. When Keith came over with his family the immediate response of the three six to ten-year-olds was to get a lively game going with (as always) multiple balls. Of course I couldn’t help but school them like my father had me, and of course, like when I was a frustrated kid, they came back for more. I said to Keith, “You want it for fifty bucks?” Another satisfied customer with happy children.
But before he came to pick it up I had to play one more game.
Twenty-three years of good service will not be your last. Good bye old friend.