Isaac Bowen and Ryan Harvey know that their sport’s glory days are, for the moment, behind it. The best player in the world, Belgium’s Frédéric Collignon, is a car salesman by day. And while foosball has deep roots in Portland—the uncle of the game’s British inventor lived here when he gave the game its first U.S. patent in 1927—only a handful of local bars have tables. Oregon’s foosing community remains a small, tight-knit group. But Bowen and Harvey, who occasionally make trips to Vegas for competitions, think foosing is overdue for a comeback. “I think video games are eventually going to fall,” Bowen says. “And we’re gonna be ready.”
To stoke the flames of a foosurgence, Bowen has organized a major tournament at Blitz Ladd this weekend. It will feature 10 tables and openings for amateur and pro players. The biggest cash prize of the tourney is projected at $1,440. “We want the old players, the people who are hiding in the corners,” Bowen says. “We want them to see what competition is like.”
Bowen and Harvey taught us a few beginners’ tricks on our rather shabby in-office table—here’s video of the pair demonstrating the techniques below.