I’ve been playing foosball for a long while now. I picked it up while I was working for Symantec; since then, whenever I join a new company, I always lobby to have a table brought in for “in house” entertainment value. Besides, most people like to play it and it’s relatively inexpensive (as far as gaming tables go). Interestingly, Building 5 already had a foosball table in the 2nd floor “lobby”, where people can play during lunch and after 5pm – why the time limits? The table – and the players – make a good deal of noise that used to carry to a near by conference room, so most people only play after 5. What’s so strange or unique about this?
The game play. Most new players, when they start playing foosball, will constantly spin their players in a vain effort to score. This is what’s known as flailing [it might be a hardcore term, but it’s definitely what we called it at Symantec and since the players are flailing about the rods, it’s accurate enough] and experienced players hate it. In fact, in the “big book of foosball rules” it is illegal to rotate the men 360 degrees, much less endlessly spinning them. None of the players here flail, myself included.
And what’s so strange or unique about that? Still nothing. That is, nothing until I saw one particular player and this wild offensive move that he pulls off. I’ve watched him do this move with any of the men on the field, but it’s most effective with the front line of offensive guys. He takes the ball and rolls it until it’s just in front of the guy. Then he brings the guy backwards until the boot of the dude is on the ball. He then sets the shot by rotating the player onto the foosball. When he’s ready to shoot, the action off the foosball carries the boot into the ball at an extreme speed. No lie: I can’t see the ball in motion. Neither can most of the defensive players. I hear the *smack* of the ball, followed by the *chachunk* of a foosball goal, but I don’t see the shoot.
Yeah, so that’s impressive, but what’s that got to do with Microsoft? Nothing, really. What’s particular to Microsoft was a conversation about this shot. Someone asked the guy, “Hey, I thought you weren’t allowed to spin the guy all the way around – doesn’t that make it an unfair shot?” He replied, “Oh. It’s OK, actually. The shot only spins the guy about 340 or 345 degrees around, so it’s not a complete revolution.”
That is explanation that I would have only ever expected hear here.