[Ed's note: Check out the corresponding video!]
Prince and his pals aren't making Milwaukee proud these days, but that's okay. It just gives Brew City more time to throw its weighty support behind another of its own: Tony Spredeman, a 23-year-old sprinkler fitter who is one of the world's top 10 foosballers. What's the reigning U.S. Open Singles titleholder's not-so-secret of success? Mastery of the dreaded snake shot, of course.
The snake shot was made popular in the 1990s by foos legend Terry Moore. Nowadays, it's in the arsenal of nearly every fooser worth his Mountain Dew. Still, Spredeman deems himself one of the top three practitioners of the art out of the more than 50,000 who face off in sanctioned competitions across the globe.
To set it up, Spredeman steadies the ball by pinning it with the middle player in his three-man row. He then dribbles the ball between his center and either of the players flanking him while holding the handle with his wrist—a wonky grip that hides his intentions but will also generate enough power for the shot.
As Spredeman rocks the ball, he looks for holes in the D. "You have to read them," Spredeman says. "Are they racing you to a hole and challenging you or trying to get you to shoot where they want?" After isolating an opening, he brings his center into contact with the side of the ball by either pushing or pulling the rod.
At the same time, he whirls the handle once around, resulting in a rocket that skitters forward with a billiard-trick-shot spin that's tough to defend. Spredeman takes care not to exceed a full rotation or lose contact with the handle, knowing full well either would be a violation that would result in loss of possession.
When all goes to plan, Spredeman scores. If he's the first to do it five times he wins the game, and is that much closer to another title (matches are best-of-three or best-of-five). And to giving Milwaukee sports fans a reason to cheer.