Rob's Foosball Manifesto for the Net (1997)
- What place does foosball have on the Net? Awareness, Promotion, Growth. Foosball as a sport has been malingering since the heyday of the seventies. There is a pro Tour, but it is very small compared to other sports such as tennis, or other "bar-games" such as billiards. How can we expand the sport?
- The Net affords a ridiculously easy way to reach everyone. Most people who play foosball are only casually interested in the sport. These are the people who have to be reached! They have no idea that there are tournament competitions in their city, and that a professional-table and a Tour exists. The newsgroup rec.sport.table-soccer and Clay's Foosball Source web site is easily changing all of this. Also most new players today are discovering the game in college-- and most college students now receive free Internet connectivity. Bingo. The Internet is the way to reach this new generation of players.
- Better awareness among this enormous pool of casual players via the Internet means that the base of competitive players will grow tremendously, and foosball promotion in local cities will also benefit greatly. Perhaps one day soon, foos may reattain its previous degree of popularity or more. As for the players already involved in competition, the Net (via the newsgroup RSTS) creates a forum for discussions on important issues regarding the future of the sport, and brings together players, promoters, and manufacturer on a regular basis, when they would otherwise be geographically isolated and able to meet only a few times a year. Already we have seen many valuable discussions with which general opinions about current issues became very widely-known so that all participants became well-informed and controversial topics were placed out in the open forum.
- This creates a powerful environment for facilitating real progress in a greatly shortened time frame, whether this progress is rule-changes, policy-making, or if we're lucky, even creating a player-based fooball governing body that we've all dreamed about. The end
The Short History of Foosball on the Net. (with personal bias)
- In mid-1993 I searched the Net for foosball-related resources. None existed. I started a small foosball mailing list, reaching participants such as Jim Waterman and Marv Puha. The mailing list was not automated, but before we got around to remedying that, we organized the creation of our first newsgroup, alt.sport.foosball. This was nice in theory, but groups in the alt.* hierarchy are so poorly distributed that only a few of us received it, and we could just forget about wide-spread distribition. At this time, I wrote a series of FAQ (frequently-asked-questions) files geared toward casual foosers to introduce them to the fundamentals (and the very existence!) of competition foosball. Soon I archived these resources at conrad.harvard.edu through my friend Conrad Nobili (a fellow fooser) and later gained approval for archiving in the widely-mirrored Usenet FAQ archive at rtfm.mit.edu (a.k.a Read The F-ing Manual). However, little by little distribution of ASF improved, and we got enough regular posters and lurkers to attempt to launch a foos-group in the universally-distributed rec.* hierarchy, rec.sport.foosball. This process requires Net-wide discussion and voting in the news.* hierarchy. I drafted the required documents (RFD, or request-for-discussion, and CFV, or call-for-votes). This vote failed, but I started the process again six months later, and voila, early in 1995 we had rec.sport.table-soccer (RSTS). By 1996 discussions on RSTS have involved many key participants in the sport, including the top players and promoters. Clay Gump, a regular poster to the newsgroup started up a Foosball web page, at http://www.foosball.com, and has since expanded it to a huge resource, and even demo'd it at the 1995 USTSA World Championships. Furtheremore, we have had some dialogue with European foosers (e.g. Jupiter and Loewensport tables) and foosers from very different platforms (e.g. Rene Pierre) and even non-foos table-soccer aficiandos of the game Subbuteo. Foos on the Net is here to stay, and hopefully will facilitate the growing future of the entire sport.
- click here for a longer version of NetFoos History!
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