Colorado, The ‘Spiritual Home’ Of Foosball, Hosts Major Tournament

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<p>(Rachel Estabrook/CPR News)</p>
<p>Dan Barber, of Littleton, places the ball on a foosball table at his friend&#039;s home in Arvada where the two men get ready for an upcoming tournament.</p>

Colorado's been called the "spiritual home" of foosball, and a contender for the unofficial designation of global foosball capital. This weekend, the state will host about 300 players from around the world for the state tournament of the game formally known as table soccer.

Jerry Todd of Arvada is among those competing. He has two tables at home, and regularly invites his friends and competitors to practice. He says to him, foosball is a sport.

"A lot of people wouldn't believe this, but it is pretty physical," Todd says. "If you play foosball for three days in a row, your whole body feels it, you feel mentally drained. It can be quite exhausting."

He says some players develop injuries as a result. "Some people try to force shots and they'll have problem with their rotator cuff and different injuries like that."

Many of foosball's top players -- past and present -- call Colorado home, Todd says. But he's concerned about the lack of young players preparing to take their places.

"Video games definitely started the downfall of foosball," he says, referring to arcade games in addition to consoles in family homes. He says European and Asian countries are doing a better job than the U.S. at grooming the next generation of foosball champions.

This weekend's tournament takes place at the DoubleTree hotel in Thornton and it's free to the public. Amateurs are invited to play.

Click on the audio link above to hear Todd's conversation with Ryan Warner. Edited highlights from the conversation with are below.

Todd on why Colorado's a foosball hub: