On professionalism

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On professionalism

Post  Lorenzo on Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:54 pm

After my experience in FISTF I think I have a better understanding of the table soccer milieu and of the reasons underlying the attempt of turning it in a sport.

It is no chance that the idea originated from Italy.  For the last many years the leadership of the Italian federation has been concerned with issues that are… let’s say, different and more substantial than the good of the discipline. Scandals ensued one after the other and were suppressed by censoring subbuteoforum.it.

These methods have a name and Vincent hit straight upon it three or four years ago, raising much ado.

At a certain point, a decision was made to expand the business. Both the idea of turning the game into a sport and the attempt to seize control of FISTF were born at this time. FISCT (the Italian federation) alone manages an yearly budget of around 40000 euros, half of which has reportedly disappeared into nothingness for several years. Involving the medias, attracting genuine sponsorships and managing their flow at an European level might transform the hobby in a profitable niche venture.

In the end politics are not so different in table soccer and in real life: an élite pursuing its own advantage behind the screen of impressive proclamations, and a herd that plays in its hands out of ignorance and idleness.

However, the attempt never had a chance. It goes up against people’s wishes. Players don’t want a sport but rather a country fair: uncomplicated tournaments, the ranking to spice them up and a few weekends with no wives in attendance. Fun and sociability is what they look for. Besides, age is mounting and with age, conservatism and real-world engagements. There are no unsullied forces to build upon – the twenty-years-olds with fresh minds and lots of free time.

On the Italian forum, aptly nicknamed the sport pub, the idea of turning the game into a sport has swelled because it allows the pubbers to crowd together, blow their trumpets and talk nineteen to the dozen. However, the last thing they seek is a serious project that would complicate their easy pastime and present them with demanding choices. If somebody submits such a project they lose interest right away (or even turn against him).

When the pubbers – in Italy or elsewhere – get up to managing associations, they spawn the awful amateurism (not to say the blatant charlatanery) that characterizes FISTF as well as the national federations: board directors who disappear the day after election or work couple hours a month; posts staying vacant forever; major projects that remain in a limbo indefinitely and then vanish in thin air, lack of any institutional communication etc.

I used to support professionalism. After getting my share of the devotees of professionalism, I can sure live without them. They either grub for money or are pubbers who like to brag upon it, yet have no time or interest to carry out their boasts. No time, because in order to manage a directorship in a barely serious way one has to turn it in a part-time job (to devote 20+ full hours a week to it), and guys with a job, a family, children and tournaments to attend (which no pubber ever dreams of quitting to concentrate on his institutional duties) can not do so.

But they don’t even try. Their mind frame is miles away from professionalism. From Drazinakis sacking me in the awareness that my work was five time his own in volumes and originality, to De Francesco’s eagerness to destroy everything he can not bring under his control, or Capponi dumping FISTF thrice in two years without even calling new elections – table soccer remains the place for moneymaking – or to have a knees up and bring out the brat lurking inside.

And rightly so. If one were to work in earnest he would end up bashing his head against the entire community. When Drazinakis told me I took my FISTF responsabilities too seriously he was teaching me a life lesson. I am a slow learner, but I think I’ve finally got it.
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Re: On professionalism

Post  Admin on Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:26 am

This is the sad reality.

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Re: On professionalism

Post  Janus_Gersie on Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:27 pm

Hard stuff, Lorenzo !
But I think you are close to reality. With one big exception: you are talking of money and power in conjunction with table soccer. This point I hardly get ... :
40,000 € budget of FISCT is no reason to destroy structures ... because even this amount is too small to take a REAL advantage. But if one would do so I would call him/her just stupid. This amount is not worth taking own advantage.

In order to discuss factual about acting more professionally in table soccer I am convinced we must mentally split "sports/hobby" and "business". About "sports/hobby" I don't want to discuss here because nearly everything is already said. So let's discuss about "business": I am fully convinced FISTF needs a full-time "Business Development Manager". Aim of the job:
- Developping/Defining the USP of table soccer
- Finding sponsors as result of the above mentioned USP
- Developping professional ("money-making") structures of special tournaments
- Developping media coverage
- Developping a long-term marekting strategy

In the fist year the manager has to be paid by FISTF, but as of the second year to be paid "by himself" (from the gained budget).

The "sports/hobby" section (FISTF administration) could remain as it is with some smaller adjustments. The admin needs a clear view and vision on how to integrate professional players and amateurs. But this is no rocket science, as all football associations are showing daily on how to manage both sides.

That's mainly all. Yes, there would be a lot of detailed discussions but with a clear strategy it should be no problem to answer all upcoming questions.

But as long as we have "brain-handicaped" people defalcating "kindergarten budgets" due to power reasons our community will remain the same.

The way Subbuteo is currently acting shows in the right direction. Even if it is hard to find distributors in some countries, e.g. Germany. Negotiations are struggling and already some prospects waved aside. Maybe we all backed the wrong horse with our hobby .....
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Re: On professionalism

Post  Lorenzo on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:43 pm

Janus, in case you get a chance of living couple years in Southern Italy (almost all members of the latest Italian boards are Sicilians or Southern Italians) we’ll talk again about it.

As far as your ideas are concerned, the sporting and managerial facets can hardly be divided. Any responsible manager would soon require in-depth, comprehensive changes to the game rules and tournament routines.

Just to name one example out of many, any development project should focus on media coverage. Alas, the game is not watchable in its actual form. Its spectacularity ought to be massively boosted through the introduction of a (short) time limit to ball possession, in order to enforce a gameplay with long throws, the ball in motion and swift, unpredictable changes of front. The rules should be changed to advantage the attacker, discourage tactical faults and cut pauses down. I was going to submit a 40-pages research paper on topic at the time that I was sacked.

Now, can you imagine the pubbers accepting such a drastic reform to their drowsy pastime, one that would totally reshape the gaming hierarchy, turn bodily fitness and nervous stability into crucial factors, and so radically demote the fat, the old and all those accustomed to a slow style of play?

Frankly, I have had enough of pubbers, groupies and Sixpack Joes. Table soccer can live its final years without my contribution.

PS: I now see that Horta resigned in September. What a bunch of jesters! The table soccer scene reminds me of Macbeth’s monologue: ‘tis

but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
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Re: On professionalism

Post  von K. on Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:14 am

Spot on, Lorenzo! I really wish you will contact me if you're ever in Finland. It would be nice to meet you and discuss everything but TF, for starters life.

As a person who through his work and hobby has some knowledge of italian ways (also southern), I can easily understand what you mean, and see the truth in what you write.

I also was blind and thought people really cared for the game when I was a candidate and active in discussions. Now I thank destiny that I didn't become President to waste my time on the farce that is FISTF.

I saw the truth maybe 2 years ago when I stopped being productive in discussions. Then I decided that I will never use my time for this again, except playing´like an amateur and enjoyng the game. I'm happy that you see the truth, but I dislike that you wasted your time for FISTF.

I repeat, if you're ever in Finland, I'd like to meet you. In here you would even enjoy playing!

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Re: On professionalism

Post  Lorenzo on Sat Feb 01, 2014 4:00 pm

Vesa, not FISTF but the tablesoccer community is a farce. Even De Francesco is allowed to be such a calamity only because the average pubber is so much lower than he is; in an environment of eager, intelligent (or even eager only) persons DF would be a non-entity.

Yet if the world were populated with eager, intelligent people it wouldn’t be the cesspit that it is.

As a side note, I posted an expanded version of my first post on the Italian forum: http://www.subbuteoforum.it/public/forum/index.php?showtopic=21045&pid=362410&st=0&#entry362410
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Re: On professionalism

Post  Admin on Mon Feb 03, 2014 3:40 pm

And you didn't get much feedback from Italians...

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Re: On professionalism

Post  Lorenzo on Tue Feb 04, 2014 4:42 am

Admin wrote:And you didn't get much feedback from Italians...

You ought to know that in sport pubs feedback is awarded for jests, pranks and dream-talk, not for serious reviews, especially those exposing the quackery of the pubbers’ chitchat. What could they say? They half-know I am right and they couldn’t care less. The very few persons with a minimum of genuineness still there voiced their views.

Years of abuse and censorship together with the gradual thinning of the movement have turned subbuteoforum.it in a shadow of its former self.

As a side thought, what has become of Subbuteo Flash? I can imagine that you froze the magazine in disgust towards the pubbers’ unresponsiveness, and that they scarcely took notice.
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Re: On professionalism

Post  Admin on Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:37 pm

I stopped the Subbuteo Flash for several reasons:
- being fed up of people who say "I don't have the right to express personal views in a newsletter"
- being fed of getting no help from the belgian clubs (never sending club results or local news)
- being insulted by a well-know player from Belgium because I didn't talk enough of his son who was number 1 in the U12 category (of course it is easy to become world number 1 when Daddy pays a lot of trips abroad to win easy points but in no case you have the right to say the same kid was trashed by 6 goals against an unknow Italian kid)

Small game, short-minded players, a majority of unable "officials", that's what the subbuteo world is all about.

The same people just say "WASPA is bad, WASPA is against FISTF, WASPA is not table football".

That's just too much for me. None of them could count the hours I have spent for this newsletter only "for the love of the game".

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