After handily defeating Pitchfork Media with their coverage of Menomena’s Record Store Day foosball challenge, Team Mercury cockily strode into Jackpot! Records Saturday afternoon expecting to triumph effortlessly over the local indie rock band with their crackerjack foosball skills. Team Mercury grabbed their ticket and waited for announcer/DJ Danny Seim to announce their number.
Team Menomena came amply prepared, backed by what seemed to be multiple corporate sponsors: Offensive lineman Justin Harris and defense/goalie Brent Knopf were attired in matching Adidas warm-up garb, Asics, and upside-down-swoosh Nike headbands (does that make it “Ekin”?), and were fueled by cola, Oreos and cheese doodles. Conversely, Team Mercury came armed with street clothes, chewing gum and mild hangovers. When Seim announced number “147,” offensive player Alison Hallett and defensive lineman Ned Lannamann took their places on the poles. The ball was dropped into play, and the match began.
Hallett scored the first goal and was kindly congratulated by Harris and Knopf, a surprising tactic that threw Team Mercury. "You mean we're going to be good sports about this?" she asked, puzzled.
Pleasant civility was not the only trick Team Menomena had up their sleeve, either. Danny Seim played a serious of marijuana-themed songs on the turntable, including "Mary Jane," "Rainy Day Women," and a spoof of Joan Osbourne's "One of Us" that swapped all of the original lyrics with pot references. The song was so awful that Team Mercury had trouble concentrating on the game.
Still, Team Mercury's lead continued until the score was 5-3, at which point Lannamann's iron defense crumbled. Menomena, realizing they were being too nice, decided to actually take the game seriously and handily scored 2 more goals, bringing the game to 5-5.
"Match point," announced Seim solemnly. "Quiet, please."
A hush fell over the crowd as the ball dropped into play. It traversed the field back and forth, with Lannamann and Knopf each determined not to let the final goal past their little goalie-man thingies. Then Hallett pulled a surprise move so unconventional that neither team was prepared for it. It was effective, too, resulting in the winning goal--however, Hallett had inadvertently kicked the ball in the wrong direction, thus scoring on her own team.
"I think we played a good game today," said Lannamann. "We came onto the table a little cold, not really warmed-up. Menomena, on the other hand, had been playing foosball all afternoon and were surely at the top of their game. Also, I had just eaten a bunch of free cheese samples at the Farmer's Market, so I was feeling a bit logy."
Hallett concurred. "We learned a lot out there," she said. "Foosball's not really my game, though. If this was an air hockey match, their asses would have been handed to them. But yeah, I learned a very important lesson: Do not score on your own goal. Otherwise you will lose."