Foosball unites lonely students

“You can tell we're all single, we have really strong wrists,” said Ryan Bolton, scrutinizing his own skill. I was in the Capilano Students’ Union (CSU) lounge, following a rumour. There, surrounded by four second year Stage and Screen Acting students, two on each side, was the table, upon which the game known as doubles foosball was taking place.

Jennifer McFee, who played goalie and defence was baffled when she found out it was a new addition to the Maple building. “It's a new thing? It doesn't seem like it.” Undoubtedly, the table has seen some use before being rescued from the R building, Capilano's graveyard of movie props and unwanted furniture. A tournament grade table, it is not.

The foosball players have been so abused that electrical tape has been applied to keep them attached to the poles. The white team itself looks particularly roughed up, with the goalie playing without a head. The match I came upon was Guys vs. Girls, and although the girls' team were roughly 20 points behind, they seemed to be getting the hang of it. I noticed that the students seemed to have little regard for the rules of the game, as foosball poles were viciously spun. I asked them why they played this way, to which they claimed ignorance. Indeed, like most everything in life, there is an extensive list of rules for foosball, spanning from what to do with a dead ball to proper serving etiquette. These in-depth rules are predominantly adhered to by professionals, although it can't hurt to adopt some of them into casual play.

If the table grows in popularity, you may start to see students pulling off more complicated and advanced passing and shooting techniques to give themselves an advantage. It’s difficult on the CSU table, but not impossible. The rapid passing technique “tick-tacking” and controlled shots like the intimidating “snake shot” are essential to reaching the upper echelon of play, but are in no way necessary to having a good time.

The history of foosball is uncertain, with both the Germans and the French taking credit. The French inventor Lucien Rosengar, who also invented the seatbelt and the front wheel drive, is sometimes accredited to foosballs invention. He worked for a German car company during the 1930's, explaining foosball's seemingly simultaneous appearance in both Germany and France. This flies in the face of the theory proposed by the theatre students and myself - that the game was originally constructed with pool cues and cork in a bar in Ireland.

American companies began to manufacture tables in the early 90s, and as the game grew in popularity, the same companies started throwing  tournaments to endorse their product. Currently, the leading foosball manufacturer is Tornado, which puts on the biggest American foosball tournament, the USTSA World Championship, which took place this September in Texas. Apparently, professional foosball can be quite lucrative, as it paid out $100,000 USD to the winning team.

As foosball is immediately accessible, without  complicated controls or a steep learning curve, everyone could give it a shot. It's free. It’s also rumoured that the arcade machines will be removed, so perhaps this will be a more successful alternative.

For those interested, small tournaments also take place weekly around Vancouver (Check out, so getting a team together at Capilano and taking it to a competitive level is not out of the question.

//Marco Ferreira

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