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November 15, 2001
UPSET at the foosball tourney!!

The Comback...
The one thing that Chad and I definitely did not lack going into the Murray Hill office-wide foosball tournament was confidence. We knew that if we played our game as always, we would be a shoo-in to win the whole tournament. Well, at least that's what I was thinking. All I knew was that Chad has some ridiculous foosball skills and that I was his partner. While I may not be in the upper strata of players, I can definitely hold my own. I just had to make sure I didn't make the 'big mistake'.
There were 16 teams in the tournament. For the sake of time, it was single elimination, one game per match, any goal that goes in counts. These were by no means our customary rules. We always play best of three and only 'clean' goals count. We don't count anything that bounces off a defender or the wall. This meant that a little of our edge was taken away because anybody can find a way to whack the ball in. That wasn't our only bad fortune. We also had to play what was probably the best team of all 16 in the first round. I knew that if we got passed them, we'd have a walk through the park.
It didn't take long for the scoring to begin. Unfortunately, it was all against us. To win in foosball, you have to be the first to score five goals. And in a blink of an eye, after only a couple minutes, Chad and I found ourselves down 4-1, on the verge of a first round elimination (and humiliation). Here's Rob and Matt (from our project) laughing at us while we were getting thrashed. Seriously though, I have to thank the guys and girls from our project for coming out to support us. Anyway, the other team was pretty good. And once they were a goal from winning, our whole strategy had to change. No longer could we afford even a minor mistake.
Going into the match, I was really nervous. But that can't even compare to the way I felt once the game actually began. My hands were literally shaking when I was holding the handles. Just look at the extreme concentration and determination on my face. It was like nothing I felt in a long time. I don't know why. I guess I really wanted to win. Every time I got the ball, I carefully tried sending it upfield to Chad, deathly afraid that I'd send it to the other team. And when it was 4-1, since I was controlling the defenders, I had to put up a stonewall defense. If a single goal rolled past me, the game would have been over.

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