What are the rules of air hockey and what is a spin?

Strong Museum Of Play, Rochester, NY, 11/21/18. [Photos: Leslie Kramer]

(l) David Kramer; (r) Audrey Boyce. National Museum of Play (formerly the Strong Museum of Play), Rochester, NY, 11/21/18. [Photos: Leslie Kramer]

In April 2017, Walcott teenager Kevin Paul represented Team USA in the Foosball World Cup in Germany.

In April 2017, Walcott teenager Kevin Paul represented Team USA in the Foosball World Cup in Germany.

In High School, in our basement, my friends and I played thousands of hours of foosball on an attractive, imported Italian set.  Over time, I developed an over weaning hubris that I could defeat all comers.

One Saturday, my father and I signed up for the New York State Foosball Open at Monroe Community College. The first harbinger of the afternoon came when our opponents carefully unpacked and wore expensive black gloves designed for better hand-rod traction.

Leslie Kramer at the National Museum of Play, 11/21/18 [Photo: David Kramer]

Posing as an armless blue foosball figurine, Leslie Kramer at the National Museum of Play, 11/21/18 [Photo: David Kramer]

When the first ball was dropped I “spinned:” my rod completing a 360 degree rotation without touching the ball.  In our basement, spinning was allowed.  Not so in tournaments — firmly announced by our opponents — where spinning is deemed an illegal move.

If we scored one goal in our two successive losses, it was charity on behalf of the gloved, non-spinners.  Traumatized, I gave up foosball. At some point, the attractive Italian set was given to a recently immigrated Turkish family with young children.

So, it was with trepidation that I joined my sister Leslie and her daughter Audrey — visiting from California — for an afternoon of foosball and air hockey.

First, we retrieved leftover Museum tokens from their last visit. The tokens were kept in Grandma Anya’s “found money” purse.

As Anya traversed the streets of Manhattan in the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50, 60s and 70s, every time she found a coin, she placed it in the purse.  Upon her death, the purse was bulging with Roosevelt dimes and wheat pennies.

Anya never spent one of the coins. They were kept for good luck and, given her charmed life as an actress on the Yiddish Stage in Moscow, USSR during the Revolution who in retirement ran an import shop on Main Street in Rochester, NY, the purse worked its magic.

Audrey with Anya's luck found money coin purse at the National Museum of Play. [Photos: David Kramer]

Audrey with Anya’s lucky found money coin purse at the National Museum of Play. [Photos: David Kramer]

The matches were not without controversy. As seen in the photo with the red defenders upside down, Leslie appears to have “spun.”

While the photo seems to indicate spinning, when interviewed Leslie denied any culpability. [Photo: Audrey Boyce]

While the photo seems to indicate spinning, when interviewed Leslie denied any culpability. [Photos: (l) David Kramer; (r) Audrey Boyce]

When interviewed Leslie denied any culpability, declaring that photographs can be misleading, “fake news.”

At one point, Audrey did score a goal against my red men.

(l) Audrey celebration; (r) David scoring with eyes closed. [Photo: Leslie]

(l) Audrey celebrating; (r) David scoring with eyes closed. [Photos: (l) David; (r) Audrey]

Announcing I could beat Audey with eyes closed, I did, exorcising those demons from the New York State Foosball Open.

Strong Museum Of Play, Rochester, NY, 11/21/18. [Photos: Leslie Kramer]

Strong Museum Of Play, Rochester, NY, 11/21/18. [Photos: Leslie Kramer]

I knew that in air hockey Audrey is a virtuoso. To counterbalance her skills, I developed some unorthodox strategies.

Leslie was suspicious and dowloaded the “official” rules of air hockey from her phone. The Museum itself has no posted regulations.

According to Air Hockey Rules For Amateurs: Simplified Guidelines For A Better Game , Leslie claims I commited two misdemeanors:

From Air Hockey Rules For Amateurs: Simplified Guidelines For A Better Game

From Air Hockey Rules For Amateurs: Simplified Guidelines For A Better Game

Leslie grimaced when I whacked the puck over the center line’s plastic shield directly at her.  Supposedly, such was another infraction.

From Air Hockey Rules For Amateurs: Simplified Guidelines For A Better Game

From Air Hockey Rules For Amateurs: Simplified Guidelines For A Better Game

"That's a foul." [Photo: scofflaw]

“That’s a foul.” [Photo: scofflaw]

SOUNDS OF THE GAME

NOTE: As seen in Not Earl Lloyd. But a painting of Dolly King, the first African-American Rochester Royal, at the Edgerton-R Center’s beautiful mural, in 2016 I did make a brief foosball comeback at the Edgerton-R Center.

Dropped ball in motion. Foosball and art at the Edgerton-R Center. 8/24/16 [Photo: Sherod Smith, staff member]

Dropped ball in motion. Foosball and art at the Edgerton-R Center. 8/24/16 [Photo: Sherod Smith, staff member]

NOTE: As for PONG, I don’t consider directing ones box/racquet across the service line to be unlawful.

PONG at the National Museum of Play. (l) Audrey; (r) David. [Photo: David Kramer]

PONG at the National Museum of Play. (l) Audrey; (r) David. [Photo: David Kramer]

SEE ALSO

Chess across the ages at the National Strong Museum of Play

IMG_1606

with Nicolas Ricketts, collections curator and board game specialist 1/13/16 [Photo: Shane Rhinewald]

Monopoly at the Strong Museum. And the world’s shortest Monopoly game.

aUDREY

Audrey came all the way from Northern California to see Darrow’s iconic ur-set. [Photo: David Kramer, December 31, 2017]

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    • dkramer3@naz.edu
      Reply

      Here’s the law: No Spinning – A spin is a rule for when the rod completes a 360 degree rotation without touching the ball. This is deemed an illegal move in the rules of foosball.

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