Plastic Kicks

There are many tables in our lives. Some made for dinner, others for coffee or poker. We gather around them to eat and talk and gamble. Another table, one less frequented, although no less important, changed my life.

A Craigslist-special foosball table jutted out of a sputtering Cadillac’s trunk like a kid’s noggin from a school bus window. My own head flicked between the road ahead and the rear-view mirror. I didn’t want special coverage on the nightly news.

BREAKING NEWS: Two Men Lose Foosball Table on Highway, Kick Bucket.

So we crept home through side streets, my friend at the helm. Finally, after much cajoling, the table sat in our kitchen. It wouldn’t fit anywhere else in our cramped house.

My roommates and I played for three hours that night. And the next. We got good: Lionel Messi fettered to metal bars good. In the heat of games, obscenities echoed off cabinets. Tempers flared. Plastic soccer players spun. Despite jeers, a biochemistry, Spanish, and voice major found common ground: smooth, black particle board. Some bonding happens from experiences, some from routines, and some from plastic kicks.

Ronald Reagan once said that “all great change in America begins at the dinner table.” He should have played more foosball.

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