In the latest edition of Weekend Warriors, the human foosball league at Nino’s Tap in Saint Francis is just a year old, but it's already catching on.
“Initially they all thought that we were crazy, and the jury's still out on that,” Nino’s Tap Owner Tony Sanfelippo said with a laugh. “But as the game kept improving we kept making more improvements to the roof and other things, and more and more teams started to come. People started going, ‘Hmm, you might be on to something.’”
This crazy idea started with Tony and his wife Char. It was Char who happened to be scrolling through YouTube when she came across a video.
“And she called me over and she said I need you to build this,” Tony recounted. “This is going to be so much fun for the patrons. And I didn't want to do it. But she kept on me and on me and on me and finally I built it."
Tony built it, and the patrons came.
“You get to meet people you never thought you'd converse with and have a really good time at a bar that's really fun and kind of off the beaten path,” said human foosball player Greg Schumacher.
The game entails five people on a team, one goalie, two centers, and two forwards.
“Each player has to keep their hands on the slider rail,” Tony explained of the rules. “There are tape marks on there and that's where their hands have to stay. If they take their hands off, they can be penalized.”
They can be penalized by referee Lisa Ventimiglia.
“It's a pretty easy job,” Ventimiglia said with a smile. “The players don't get out of line too often…I keep track of the time, the score and dole out penalties, not very often though.”
“You're constantly doing this a lot of times,” she added as she moved her head back and forth. “You'd be surprised how fast the ball moves and how quickly…Sometimes you get some really, really fast-paced games and those are a lot of fun.”
And having fun is what it's all about.
“When my wife's working, and she says, ‘Hey, the smiles on their faces you just can't wipe them off.’ Everyone just loves it they're having a lot of fun,” Tony said.
Should more teams sign up, the league is hoping to add additional playing days in the fall.