SPEAR: a 9NEWS original. Watch all the episodes now on the 9NEWS YouTube Channel.
A note from Tom Cole, 9NEWS Photojournalist and the man behind SPEAR:
"Getting to meet all the people in this project has been a great experience.
Mike Bowers is probably the most colorful other than Tom Spear. Bowers has so many stories both in and out of foosball.
In Episode 5 we bring Bowers back for some closing words and thoughts. But, the last word goes to Tom Spear when we listen to him after he won his last big title in 1994."
"This project is over but the story of Tom Spear (I’ve been told he prefers Thomas) is not. Tom is a father, a grandfather, a son, a brother and an uncle. Some haven’t seen him in years.
He has had his run-ins with the law. He has made some bad decisions.
At a very young age he raced motorcycles and traveled the Front Range with his dad to compete. He tried body building and various other sports.
And, of course, he is a world champion foosball player. Even he can’t give that away.
He was good at everything he did.
He made some instructional foosball audio tapes which even I understood and I know very little about the sport. I’ve been told he even recorded a song or two.
Now he is homeless. Doing what he wants? I’m not sure.
I wish I knew Tom before then.
I know this, he touched a lot of people in his life and gave away a lot of his possessions.
People have his autographed foosball cards, championship ring, hall of fame foosball jacket, trophies and newspaper clippings. Many have great memories of a man described by Mike Bowers, a foosball world champion himself, as “a lone wolf.”
Some of the questions I had about Tom Spear have been answered. Some have not.
Did he ever get professional help? How does he survive the winters and what is his world like now? And why Arvada?
“He can disappear," says Barbara Parker from the Rising Church in Olde Town Arvada.
I see it differently. He just won’t reappear.
He slowly faded away from foosball, making random appearances in small tournaments and then he just left the sport behind.
I’m not convinced his accomplishments hold all that much meaning to Tom.
The only thing he may hold close to are friends and getting through the day. And like everything else he has done in life, he seems to be doing that very well in his own way."
SPEAR, all episodes streaming now here.