Into the last minute.
Emotions running high.
It’s a corner.
The attackers jostle for position.
Defenders close in.
This is it. Last chance.
All or nothing. Deep breath. Concentrate.
The ball is fired across. Striker slides in. Keeper stranded.
The wee man has done it! The home fans go wild. Extra time!
19 years on and the memories of that 13 year old boy are still strong. For that was a match I went on to win, claiming my first national Subbuteo title. Scottish Junior Champion. The prize? Representing Scotland at the European Championships in Hamburg in 1992. I’ve been playing ever since.
Roll back to 1989. Just another day at Primary School in Broughty Ferry, Dundee. I hear a local boy (Greg) wants to introduce us to a game he plays. A football game apparently. Played on a table. It was called Subbuteo. I’d never heard of it but I was no stranger to a game of “Headers and Volleys” in the park or “Worldy Cup” so we went along to find out more.
Little did I know that that evening would shape my life. As soon as we saw the little plastic men, painted in all different kits, sliding around on their bases, the way they moved when you flicked them across the table, and the things you could do with a little practice, we were all hooked.
The organised game, played in sports halls with referees is a far cry from playing on the carpet on Christmas Day, which I believe was a common occurrence in the 60’s and 70’s (slightly before my time!). While for some it was a chance to live out their football dreams and score goals with their heroes, for me it was more about playing the game itself. (Having said that, Dundee Utd and Scotland always seemed to win during practice matches in my loft).
It’s a skillful game for sure with millimetre pecision required, deft touches and forward thinking. This all happens at speed. Think Snooker: Angles. Weight. Position for the Next Shot. Think Chess: Strategy. Outwitting your opponent. Face to face. Think Football: Tactics. Practice. Match day nerves. Think Winning. Losing. Shaking hands.
Nowadays, staring at a screen is much more popular. Always online. Always connected. I’m a digital artist (www.garethc.tel), video gamer and smartphone tinkerer. If you’re like me, you might struggle to switch off. Becoming a dad, a step-dad and now a fiancé, has shown me what really matters.
So, I have this notion. A movement if you like.
t’s about promoting traditional gaming values. It’s about interacting with your friends and family, face to face, an alternative to video games and online leisure pursuits. It’s about feelings that last. Creating memories. I know that sounds touchy-feely and I’m not saying that table football is the answer but I want to give you and your families the option. Phase 1 of the plan has begun. For those of you that came along to the Subbuteo Open Night in Williamson Hall in July, Thank you. (Special thanks to the volunteers for their invaluable help). I was delighted with the response and feedback. You had a small taster of what will become ‘FlickForKicks’.
f you want to help shape the way forward, you can have your say by filling in a short survey at www.flickforkicks.com/villagecrier
Toshare your Subbuteo experiences, ideas or find out what’s happening next, please get in touch through www.flickforkicks.com I’d love to hear from you.
Gareth Christie Abernethy