Posted: Nov 18, 2014 10:53 PM EST
Updated: Nov 18, 2014 11:00 PM EST
By MAC KING, Fox 5 News Reporter
New York News
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -
On a frigid night in the West Village, perspective takes us from a world where yellow and black men flip over their heads and fly horizontally in eternal pursuit of an orb launched around their walled enclosure at incredible speeds to a couple of lonely tables in the middle of a busy bar where a cluster of normal-looking adults gather every Tuesday to play foosball.
"It's weird that I judge my friends on how well they play foosball," Victor Lam said, "but I'm getting over that now."
One need only watch the 42-year-old Lam wrap his handles or 46-year-old Will Arguedas lube the table bars or 26-year-old Ellen Moon smack the ball wherever she pleases to understand one chose the wrong opponent for a casual bar game. But this group of pros and experts and Ellen, a bona fide foosball world champion, learned the game the same way we all did.
"Played in college," Ellen said.
"It was the thing to do," Victor said. "We would drink and play foosball."
"Just hitting the ball is a major accomplishment in the beginning," Will said.
Those humble beginnings should sound familiar to those of us who turn to the bright lights of a foosball table on slow nights in a dark bar, but the way these competitors now describe the game recalls something more serious.
"It's the closest thing to boxing there is without punching each other," Will said.
"I like to optimize things and performances," Ellen said.
On this night -- a weekly, open-to-all, tournament night -- from a wide angle, the world of competitive foosball looks a lot like the world of non-competitive foosball.
"On a good day, it's 90 percent male," Ellen said.
But tighter shots reveal the handiwork and strategy of professionals. And while Ellen, Will and Victor seem friendly and relaxed with so little on the line, they assure us when they travel to championship tournaments all over the world and the lights come up on tables wiped down, their perspective changes.
"Oh, yeah" Ellen said. "I get very serious, especially when there's a trophy or money on the line."