Professional foosball groupies trading table time for sex are a distant memory, but the IFP world championships still draw a crowd, though a smallish one. As Moore stares groggily at the table, a few dozen fans have gathered in the bleachers. By contrast, Spredeman is all fierceness and focus, a by-product of his monkish habits away from competition: lots of sleep, salad for dinner, no drugs, and only an occasional drink. "Basically, I play foosball, fish, and listen to heavy metal," Spredeman says. His wristband reads angel of death. "I will do whatever it takes to win."
As Moore and Spredeman start warming up, a legend of the sport named Todd Loffredo finishes his doubles match and finds an out-of-the-way spot to watch the youngbloods do battle. A lean and twinkly 53-year-old, Loffredo won his first foosball championship in 1976. At the time, booming table sales were supporting the million-dollar tour; cocaine parties were not uncommon. Taking first place at the world championships meant driving home in a Porsche. If you won doubles, it meant a pair of matching Corvettes. "A lot of girls wanted to play with you," Loffredo says. "They knew you were popular, so it was easy. It opened the door." (Such was foreplay in the game rooms of the 1970s.) "We called it signing the contract – if a girl wanted to play, the guys would joke around, 'You gotta sign the contract first.' "
On the afternoon of the big match, Moore looks rough. His Ed Hardy–style clothes are rumpled, and his face is pillow-creased, as though he'd just rolled out of bed. In fact, he had – the night before he'd been up until 6 am playing poker with drunk, stoned foosball pros. He seems totally unprepared to take on his rival: Tony Spredeman, a 29-year-old ex–pipe fitter from Florida with a vicious, aggressive style. Then again, Moore's hangover might prove to be his secret weapon. The last time he faced Spredeman, in Las Vegas, he got so hammered in a casino the night before that he had to throw away all his clothes. "I threw up everywhere," Moore says. "Oh, man, dude, I didn't even know what to do. But I got some food and some energy drinks in me and ended up beating him."
Moore is annoyed by the loss to Spredeman, in part because he's done it to himself. "He's been practicing all day," Moore gripes, "and I just got here at two o'clock." Mary is also unhappy, but her son's loss is a minor worry in the greater foosball universe. "The tour is struggling," she says, "and I don't want to give up just yet." Although Moore and Spredeman might well be the most gifted American foosers ever to play the game (in their world, they're like Shaq and Kobe, Federer and Roddick, foosball commands about as much respect as bumper pool. "My life right now is, I don't work. I just play foosball," Moore says. But the writing is on the wall. "I've gotta get rid of the Trans-Am, basically."