You can call yourself Cinderella – Cinderella in English – and not want to become a princess. As a child, it was rather a footballer that Cinderella Poidevin dreamed of being one day. Alas, there was no women’s section in the club of Saint-Martin-du-Bois (Maine-et-Loire), where she had made her debut, nor in that of the neighboring town of Segré. The girl was 12 and no longer allowed to play alongside the boys. She then fell back on an indoor and “manual” practice of football, open to both sexes: table football. Twenty-five years later, she still wears the colors of Segréen Baby-Foot, a club of which she is also the president. Better: since 2019, she is also the captain of the French women’s table football team – “table football”, according to the name of the appointed French Federation.

Three times champion of France and five times world champion with the national team, the young woman with the bronze wrist is one of the headliners of the World Cup of the discipline, organized in Nantes from June 28 to 3 July. Her boss has been “accommodating,” she says, giving her several days off to attend when it’s a particularly busy time. In life, Cinderella is a bus driver, a profession with a strong labor shortage. She drives groups to Puy du Fou, Futuroscope, La Rochelle… A week ago, she escorted Hellfest festival-goers from the car park to the entrance to the site. When her job with flexible hours and her two children aged 9 and 11 give her time, Cinderalla Poidevin trains in a room in her house in Louroux-Béconnais, where she has two “babies”.

bad losers men

One of them, from the Bonzini brand (French manufacturer, approved by sports authorities), was bought from his uncle Régis Berteau, the founder of the Segré club. Foosball is a rather unique family story among the Berteau-Poidevins, almost a must. Three other of his uncles played in competition, as did his father, his mother, his younger sister, two cousins, his godmother, his godfather, his children… His son Corentin also plays in U13. Her specialty is the “out and back”, a technique of rolling the ball under a player’s feet in one direction, then in the other, before shooting. The special correspondent for Le Monde was able to measure its effectiveness – and congratulate himself on having avoided the fanny (when you end the game with a score of 0), with a 10-2 defeat.

Confronting men has always been Cinderella Poidevin’s lot. “They usually don’t like to lose to a woman,” she says. It happened to me, on several occasions, to have in front of me a guy who had it bad after the match, to the point of inventing bogus excuses to justify his defeat, for example that he was not in shape or that the bars of the baby were sliding badly on his side. “Originally a bistro football, table football has long been the expression of a certain masculinity, between aperitif at the counter and bowl competition (when the ball comes out of the goal after being hit hard). Women have been coming to it slowly since the discipline has been structured on a sporting level. “Foosball isn’t just about big arms, it’s also about technique, and you have to be smart,” says the cork ball specialist.

But “baby” isn’t everything. The big project of Cinderella Poidevin, this year, is to succeed in her marriage, planned for the beginning of August, with Hugues, who has shared her life for fourteen years. Nearly 200 guests will attend the wedding, canceled twice in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19. Nothing has been easy, either, in recent months: the wedding rings did not suit, the rhinestone dress had to be redone, the beautician canceled, not to mention the traditional family confusion related to the organization of the plan of table. About the table, there will be no table football in the village hall of Louroux-Béconnais. But plenty of orchids, grown by the couple.