Foosball Shenanigans canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

Monday, March 16, 2020
Spirit Lake junior Gavin Siemers smiled as he and his teammate Justin Shaw scored a goal against high school Principal Casey O'Rourke. Shaw demonstrated some of the game's fundamentals for a group of Spirit Lake students in December.
File photo

It started with foosball tables being donated to local school districts, and the Shaw Family had hoped their vision for a local foosball tournament would come true this weekend. But with gatherings over 50 people now discouraged by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, organizers have decided to cancel the inaugural Foosball Shenanigans event.

The weekend tournament was scheduled to take place at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center March 20-22, and bring players young and old pro or amateur. Bob Shaw said the event has at least been successful in generating interest in the sport among local students, which was the family's ultimate goal.

Bob and Kate Shaw are best known as the couple who operates the ice cream truck in the Iowa Great Lakes. They have watched their son Justin compete at high levels in the foosball circuit.

"It started out as a frustration for me as a dad," Bob said. "I always told Justin to get a real job get a real life. His life has been foosball. He's traveled all over the world, and he's done well with it."

The father said he became an advocate of his son's favorite sport because of the enthusiasm he's seen among local school administrators in establishing their own foosball teams. Local businessman Neil Slater purchased some of the first foosball tables for local school districts in late 2019, after hearing the Shaws' plans. Shaw feels the game provides another opportunity for students who are not involved in athletics or the arts.

Justin said his love of foosball gave him a degree of independence and freedom as he met competitors, helped set up and tear down tournaments and honed his skills.

"For me, it turned into an opportunity to compete on the U.S. team, and I got to play in Europe in both Turin, Italy and in Hamburg, Germany," Justin said.

He and teammate Ryan Moore won the gold medal in Hamburg during the 2017 International Table Soccer Federation World Cup. Justin and other professionals were slated to teach young participants some foosball fundamentals Saturday morning during the event.

Organizers had made arrangements for 20 tables four of which were to be exclusively for youth play. A handful of youth events among the 15-plus planned for the weekend were to be free to register, in order to spark greater interest with young players. Justin had hoped to see around 60 participants ranging from several of Iowa's neighboring states compete for several thousand dollars in prize payouts over the weekend.

His father said organizers may give the tournament another go next year, but he was optimistic the group's efforts so far have laid some groundwork among the local populace.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: