Foosball – not to be confused with football or soccer – is a table game that can be played by two or by four people.
What, you’ve never heard of this game? You can check here for photos of some of the popular tables and suggestions on which would be the best one for you.
Where did foosball come from?
Foosball has long been played in France, Germany, and Italy. Its origins are unsubstantiated, but it was known as a parlor game since about the 1880s in various parts of Europe. Depending on the country – or even the region – the tables and even the rules varied, but the basic idea was to score as many goals as possible. In 1923 the first patent was taken out by an Englishman named Harold Searles.
When did it become popular in the USA?
Despite its popularity in Europe, however, foosball wasn’t introduced to the United States until the 1960. At that time Lawrence Patterson – a military man who had been stationed in Germany — started to import foosball tables from the continent.
While Lawrence introduced the game, it took E. Lee Peppard – a bar owner from Missoula, Montana — to turn it into a national “sport.” At one time there used to be foosball tables in many homes in the USA. From the 1960s to 1980s, these games were also popular coin-operated alternatives to shuffleboard or darts in bars and cafes.
In 1972, Peppard hosted the first foosball tournament with a prize of $1,500. That was a great deal of money when the average annual income that year was $7334.
Given the success of the first foosball tournament, Peppard took it on the road and criss-crossed the country to 32 cities in the United States. Some people became professional foosball players and followed the game. This of Texas-holdem, as it was a similar process of going to the big tournaments in the hopes of winning. Even people who lost kept following the tournament with aspirations of being the lucky one the next time.
The foosball tournaments culminated in the Championship tournament in 1978 with a prize of “100,000, an almost unheard of sum at that time.
How is it played?
Think soccer players on a metal skewer that moves horizontally. Drop the ball and both teams can start kicking it. The idea is to score goals against the opposition.
When people spin the metal bar the players whirl around and, hopefully, kick the ball in the right direction. Pros, however, spend years practicing how to control the ball and they also learn how to pass from one player to another, before they line up for the “perfect” goal
What skills are needed?
The major skill for playing foosball successfully is eye-hand co-ordination. Players have to be able to move quickly to advance. Similarly, they have to keep their eyes on the ball so that their goalie blocking it is almost a natural response.
Predicting how the opponent is going to play also helps win games. People try to anticipate what strategies their opponents will use and then they block accordingly. While it doesn’t always work, second-guessing is always a good skill to develop in any sport.
The action of the foosball games depends on the table type, the age of the participants, and how many players there are. Two people can spar off against each other or people can form a duo and enter as a team.
Foosball is a game for kids through to grandparents and the rules are both simple to learn and easy to remember. Come to think of it, despite the age and agility differences, foosball is a great game for grandmas and grandpas to play with their young grandkids as it makes for a level playing field.
Why should people learn to play foosball in the 21st century?
Foosball is about to make a come back – big time. So now is an ideal time for people to learn now to play the game. That way they can challenge their opponents who are still novices.
Unlike solitary video games, foosball is social. People meet to play; they talk with each other; they mix and mingle. Yes, foosball offers an interactive alternative to people playing with their phones.
How much does it cost?
Decent quality foosball tables start at about $500 and go up to a Teckell Krystall series for $7,500 and up.
A good way to calculate your budget is to figure how often you will use the table. To keep things simple say you and/or your family plays two games a day, which may quickly increase as people find they enjoy it.
At 352 days per calendar year it works out to 704 games every year. If you get a table for $500 it calculates as about 71 cents a game. Really, where else can you find such cheap entertainment that is available for everyone in the family and your circle of friends for that price?