Until watching the documentary Foosballers, I had no idea foosball was this popular and complex. Lawrence Patterson was the first to bring the popularity of the sport to America and leagues started in the 50’s after the second world war.
Foosball, also known as table soccer, is a sport played recreationally by millions of people in game rooms, frat houses, basements and bars throughout the world.
In professional foosball, the pro- master level is the highest rank one can get. Joe Heslinga directed the documentary that captured the journey of six pro master foosball players practicing for the sport’s biggest championship, The Tornado World Championship.
The championship was named after Tornado because, for a long time, it was the go-to brand for foosball tables.
All of these players featured in the documentary are great in their own right, but one of the players was Louisiana’s very own Terry Rue.
Rue’s whole family plays, and they are billed as “the family of foos.” At one specific tournament, his wife won, he won and his daughter won all in the same day.
Rue started playing foosball first at a skating rink as a kid, but he got his first table in the mid 90s.
“I actually won my first table. At certain major tournaments, first place in the amateur and expert divisions was a new Tornado foosball table shipped to your home,” Rue said.
Later on, he purchased a new tournament table in 1998 and sold the first table to his friend, Cory Taylor.
Rue said he likes to get in a little bit of playing time every day and wishes he could travel in an RV playing tournaments to make a living.
However, outside of the sport, he takes care of his family as chief of anesthesia at Lafayette General Hospital.
It was amazing to see a Louisiana native be featured in such an amazing documentary. Rue said he felt his involvement was lucky timing as well as his good partner selection and being healthy.
“I had a great three-year run in large tournaments. The premise of the documentary was to follow the top players from the Tornado tour. My consistent results had placed me within the top 10 player base. I also feel like our family was in juxtaposition to the perception of foosball,” Rue said.
The director of the documentary first introduced themselves at the US Nationals in Colorado Springs, where they spoke with Rue’s family and made arrangements to come visit us in Crowley.
Regarding advice for newcomers, Rue said first and foremost to have fun.
“No one is a natural at anything when they start something new. Learning basic back and forth movement of the ball between player figures. Try to keep the ball at an even plane while moving it back and forth,” Rue said.
He then added to learn a basic set of passes.
“When you learn these passes, make sure they don’t look the same. You don’t want to alert your opponent to what you’re doing. We call this a tell. You're telling them ahead of time where you will pass the ball,” Rue said. Lastly, he said to choose a shot and practice a lot.
Rue also gave advice on playing styles stating that they are based on personality.
“Some players process at a faster rate. They make you feel rushed for time, while some players are smooth and methodical and are very thoughtful in their process,” Rue said. But above all, you never want to use another player’s style while in a match. “This means you are falling into their game plan which means they now have an advantage,” Rue said.
Before the start of the tournament, his daughters asked him how he felt heading into the Tornado World Championship. He said he felt very good and had a good 1.5 years playing singles, so he was excited and peaking at the right time.
Rue came in third in single play at the Tornado World Championship this year, but last year he came in first in double play with his partner Robert Mares.
Rue put in a lot of work to get to that win.
“I did some self-reflection on the journey to arrive at this point. I appreciated the focused practice and study required to play at this level. To win anything at the highest level you need to have a perfect scenario of events and some luck,” Rue said.
He celebrated by trying to take the moment all in. That same day, his wife, Keisha Rue, and daughter, Sullivan Rue, won world titles in their own right.