Because the idea of ​​a summer without table football scares us so much

Because the idea of ​​a summer without table football scares us so much

Shore, shot, goal. "Stu-tump". The foosball table. The thud of the ball hitting the metal part of the goal. Monetina, new dull noise. Then the hail of balls that come down for yet another game. Unmistakable sounds that have been the real summer hit of many of our holidays. For a few hours, however, it seemed that the music was destined to change forever: the owners of many bathing establishments decided to remove the table footballs from the shores after the news spread that the Customs Agency would have taxed the owners of table football, as happens for those who have slot machines and video poker in their business. In reality, things are slightly different: it is true that there is a need for a "clearance to operate" the table football and ping pong tables and it is true that there is a risk of penalties of up to 4 thousand euros. The Customs Agency has made it known that to comply with the legislation it is sufficient to produce a self-certification.

A family around a foosball table in 1958

Jon Brenneis / Getty Images In the meantime, everything has happened. Protests from the owners of the establishments and also from future bathers. In fact, can you think about a summer without table football? Many, probably, would continue to quietly enjoy their holiday on the beach, of course, but if the latest analogue entertainment has resisted the digital tsunami, perhaps, it is because each of us has linked a memory, a friendship, a meeting or, why not, even a love. Summer or not, it doesn't matter. Because the emotion of a "roll" is something very romantic that takes us back to when we were children and, standing on a chair, we tried to turn the knobs as if they were the blades of a blender. The same goes for the "Stu-tump" that we heard, a little older, when we conceded a goal: that annoying sound was a thud in the heart. sleeves and put the ball back in the center to try again, in an attempt to transform that same sound into the most beautiful melody in the world which, only for those few moments, gave the sensation of having made it. And again: how many fights for the "queen ball", accompanied by the battle cry "whoever does this, wins". Discussions that lasted until the next match, or until the mound of flickering coins crumbled over one of the two doors.

Table football, a social game Lucio Dalla and Gianni Morandi play table football in Morandi's house in 1969.

Umberto Cicconi / Getty Images What could be similar between table football and slot machines? Probably nothing, despite the pennies. The assumptions are completely different. At table football, in fact, you need at least two players to play, even if the maximum is obviously four. Not to mention the group that is created around, between "fans", "experts" or simply "curious". Here, this is the difference: in foosball, you play together, even if you are opponents. There is no counter: the pathological mechanism can hardly be triggered and, probably, this also depends on the place where the table football is positioned: among the people, in front of the sea. Like the pedal boat and the slide for children. Because everyone, absolutely everyone, has played the most successful game from the post-war period to today: from Gianni Morandi and Lucio Dalla (as in the photo on the side), to Pope Francis. Foosball fosters relationships and does not hinder them, as happens when you are alone, in front of a monitor, in the back of a bar waiting to see three identical figures. An example? In 2016 the youtuber Canesecco, thought of placing a table football next to some bus stops in Rome, to deceive the long waits of the passengers of the capital. The result was a hilarious video: many people, thanks to the foosball table and the company of other travelers, did not even notice the biblical delays of the buses or, at least, faced them with a completely different spirit.

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The places of foosball The places, we said, are important. The beauty of a game at sunset, with the sun setting into the sea, is unparalleled and the same goes if you play in front of a bar in a square in a village around Italy during a warm summer evening. However, very often, the reverse mechanism occurs, in which it is precisely the table football that transforms the frame: leafing through the possible photos to be included in this article, for example, images of table football came out that returned to give a faint light of hope. in places that had seen little hope, such as in contexts of war and poverty. In the first shot, the children of Bissau, the capital of Guinea, spend their day with an old table football, while in the second an American army soldier in Mosul, Iraq, plays together with some kids in the street.

Children play table football in the Mindara neighborhood of Bissau (Guinea) in 2013

XAUME OLLEROS / Getty Images

US Army soldier joins Iraqi children in a game of table football on a street of the city of Mosul (Iraq) in 2005

CRIS BOURONCLE / Getty ImagesBut football is also family, home. For many, the pastime par excellence has kept company in the two years of pandemic that we have behind us, entertaining parents and children, grandparents, uncles and nephews during the endless days of quarantine. After all, just a ball and a pinch of imagination are enough.

Symbol of a culture Among those red and blue men who eternally scrutinize each other impassively and proud, there is the history, tradition and culture of a country . Our. Table football, in the Italian collective imagination, is a bit like the sea (not even on purpose): it is always there, stationary, in the background, waiting for someone to come back to restart the magic. And, like the sea, it has inspired songs and films: it is a sort of engine of life, around which things happen. It is the center of Ligabue's Bar Mario, despite the fact that four of them try to smash it, it is the game with which death idealized by Lucio Dalla prefers to play in the song The Last Moon, but it is also the place where according to Renato Zero "for a dose give away destiny ”in his Life is pulling us.

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Love can also break out around a table football table. Massimo Troisi explained it to us best in his latest film Il postino. The passion between Beatrice Russo, the granddaughter of the owner of the town tavern played by Maria Grazia Cucinotta, and the postman Mario Ruoppolo-Troisi was born around a football ball. The two play while remaining silent: Mario, admiring the girl, immediately falls in love with her. In the background to their eyes only the sound of the ball hitting the edges of the table and slipping with the usual metallic noise. Shore, shot, goal. ““ Stu-tump ”: it can also be the noise of love.

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