August 5, 2008 11:39 PM
Foosball tournament Aug. 20 at Dick's
The Colorado Rapids and the Class VI supporters group will host a free foosball tournament Aug. 20 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, in conjunction with a viewing party for the U.S. national team's World Cup qualifier vs. Guatemala.
The tournament will begin at 6 p.m. inside the stadium Cantina. The Nats kick off at 8 p.m.
Foosball registration is limited to the first 50 fans to sign up. Teams will be composed of one fan and one Rapids player. The tournament will feature a single-elimination format, and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.
To register, go to the Rapids' Web site.
I would LOVE to participate in this tournament, but I have to work.
I went to junior high and high school in Manitou Springs, which is home to a world famous arcade. One summer, my best friend and I noticed that a lot of people were having fun playing foosball, but we were nowhere near their level of skill. So we could not join in all their reindeer games.
So we decided to dedicate our free time (and all of our quarters) to getting better at foosball that summer. We practiced and practiced until our hands hurt.
The arcade even had a table on which, if you scored a clean goal and shot it hard enough, the ball would bang off of the back of the goal, down the chute (to the place balls go to die) and would pop up ever so briefly in the goal at the other end of the table. We practiced so much that it became a reflex to reach into the opposing goal when either of us scored on a particularly powerful shot. We eventually got so good at it that we could play for hours on a single quarter, if we were lucky and if we struck the ball well.
So, as Labor Day approached, the time came to challenge the local studs. We walked up to them as they played on either a Friday or Saturday night. We placed a quarter at the end of the table, next to one of the small scorekeeping counters that looked like an abacus stained by cigarettes, pop and cotton candy. The gesture with the quarter signaled that we were next.
To them, we were just two goofballs. They knew us from school, but they had never seen us at the table before. The two of us certainly were nowhere near their skill level! What were these two chumps doing?
Well, we beat 'em. And they weren't happy. So they challenged us again and again, and we beat 'em every time. Finally we told them we'd had enough, and my friend and I walked away from the table. It was awesome.
So I hadn't played in ages ... until a few years ago. My brother-in-law gave us a tour of his new home, including his basement, which has a beautiful foosball table. I said I didn't know he played, and he told me that he often played at CU. He even worked in the pool hall at the UMC, which also had foosball tables.
So he and I played, and he was damn good. It didn't take long for me to rediscover some of my better moves, and we had a good time.
And my son watched us and got quite interested.
At first, my son was no match for me or his uncle (the brother-in-law). But every time we visit his uncle's house, my son and I always wind up in the basement playing foosball.
I'm much better with the row of strikers, and often my games against my son were completely played out between my forwards and his defense and goalie. But because of this, he learned the defensive end so well that I now have a difficult time scoring against him. In fact, now it's no surprise if he beats me or his uncle.
So, on Aug. 20, if you see a 6-foot, 5-inch teenager with longish brown hair who is really good with his defenders and goalies, you'll have an idea of who you're dealing with.
And here's a tip: He knows how to defend the bank shot.