There is gambeta, chapita and it is not worth a windlass. On Wednesday nights, the Foosball Meeting takes to the field with its tournaments, which more than competitions are a call to share a moment of camaraderie, good weather. Tasting, scoring, winning is polished along the way.
Plaza Serrano (Cortázar, actually) looks airy and serene after 9 p.m. There are a few full tables, but the one that stands out is the one with the huge trophy, with hanging medals. There, at the door of Diggs (Serrano 1580), Romina Rascovan, creator of Encuentro de Metegol, writes down the first players and outlines the grid for the night.
Romina, a resident of Villa Crespo, started the tournaments in July 2012 in a bar in Abasto, in tune with her childhood memories: “As a girl I used to go to the Miramar games, where I always spend the summer. I have the memory of playing with my family. When I grew up, I rediscovered table football at Henry’s Le Troquet bar (Bustamante and Guardia Vieja). He left work and the dynamics of the bar was “winner stays on court.” I thought about organizing a tournament for everyone to play several matches. The idea was to spend all night playing. I started it with a lot of heart, passion and energy.”
First the friends banked the move, but soon fans arrived who agreed with the proposal. Gabriel says that a year and a half ago he attended the Foosball Meeting, he already considers himself a regular: “I was looking for something like this on social networks. I stopped playing for many years and wanted to return. Here I felt well received, having a place of reference is good”.
There are also those who come more for the taste of the encounter. Cecilia tells us that she does not play foosball, but she was encouraged to come when she accompanied her friend Paula de Ella; since they both play for the Potrancas women’s soccer team: “She saw it on social networks and we came. It’s fun, it’s good that these spaces are there, like board games, because they are inclusive”.
Romina brought the Abasto Foosball Meeting to the Café San Bernardo in Villa Crespo, a Buenos Aires icon of board games. Tomás became a regular at that time and celebrates: “People are very cool. Playing foosball is connecting with my inner child and bringing it to the present, stopping thinking about everyday problems for a while and meeting cool people”.
Then, the chopped arrived in Palermo. On the first floor of Diggs there are community planks under colorful garlands and in the background, with a window over the eighth, are the two foosballs. To one side, Romina supports a blackboard with the grid and the couples of the day. The tournament begins with simple but categorical rules: you win with four goals, there is no turnstile, a midfield goal on the first play is invalid. The rest is style, quality or luck.
The ritual here is a crossed handshake between the two couples who play each match. Some are tighter than others. Success doesn’t get away with it and laughter always prevails in the end.
So that every Wednesday the Metegol Meeting is active, Romina makes an effort to organize, spread, not leave any detail to chance. She has become an undisputed reference in the matter and many people, from her place, help to do so. The Metegolazo company donated a foosball for the tournaments. There are those who gave medals and there are even people who collaborate by editing videos to give more momentum.
For Romina, the greatest recognition is that people come back: “It is designed so that it starts and ends on the day. It has a social approach, not so competitive. People who play very well are interspersed with those who are just starting out. The idea is to have fun. There are prizes and medals for the winner, but also for the last place. There are raffles for beer, for fries. It matters that people come, have fun, have good weather, want to come back”.
She highlights: “I consider it important to carry out this project as a woman, in an environment that is linked to the masculine. I organize mixed and women’s tournaments to promote and give visibility to women at a time when there are deep claims of this type.
Metegol meeting is a social meeting place, community sports and also a place to claim your free practice. Gabriel, in his twenties, remembers: “Before, the kids used to get together in the kiosks to play foosball, that’s no more.” Several attendees have similar memories.
Romina says that since the Metegol Meeting they are struggling to discontinue an old Buenos Aires ordinance, No. 36,115 of 1980 (consolidated text as of February 29, 2016 by Law No. 5,666), which considers metegol a table game (bets ) and therefore its use is prevented during school hours from Monday to Friday by those under 18 years of age. They call the foosball games “mechanical games for the practice of table football”.
“The access of minors who carry supplies or wear school uniforms or clothes will not be allowed,” says the rule, which adds: “Premises may not be installed less than two hundred (200) pedestrian meters from the entrance of an establishment, official or private, intended for primary or secondary education; The premises may only be enabled in commercial areas and must be at least five hundred (500) pedestrian meters away from each other.
Romina says that from San Bernardo a petition was promoted to gather signatures in order to discontinue this ordinance. She said that, unofficially, Buenos Aires officials were notified of this situation and stated that they will work for it.
While this situation linked to regulations and bureaucracy is resolved, Romina points out that her goal is to make the practice of foosball grow. Think of regional or national tournaments, in greater diffusion. However, she is aware and celebrates that the soul of this project is “generating a beautiful space for the other, a place where people feel comfortable, enjoy and want to return.”