Skeeball: My First Love

NPR recently aired a story about a Skeeball tournament in Brooklyn, NY.

I listen to NPR all the time, so I can’t believe that of all stories, I missed this one! You see, I have Skeeball in my blood.  I was so excited to read about this tournament, and so disappointed that I didn’t get to participate!

I grew up in a Skeeball arcade—literally. My grandfather was in the “amusement” business in Rockaway Beach, Missouri (the now-famous Branson area), and he and my grandmother moved to Panama City Beach in the early 1950s, opening a Skeeball arcade along with baseball batting cages.  My parents moved to the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches in the ‘60s and took over the operation when my grandparents died, and I lived the first six years of my life in a small apartment in the back of this Skeeball arcade on Long Beach.

My brother and I went to sleep each night with Skeeballs rolling against the wall on the other side of our beds, the ringing bells, the click-clack of the Rolodex-style metal scoreboard, and the grind of the lever that was pulled back to release the balls after inserting the nickel (yes, nickel!) into the coin slot serving as our good-night lullaby. These are happy memories.

Eventually we moved to a “real” house, but I still spent a lot of time at Skeeball until I moved away to college (and even after that). And I could still roll those balls up the alley for hours on end.  It’s addicting! Video game, X-Box, Game Boy, Wii?  Not for me. I like my games the old-fashioned way.  Skeeball will never go out of style!

Look for me at the tournament in Brooklyn next year. I can roll a mean 450!


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2 Responses to “Skeeball: My First Love”

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  2. Ed Sanders Says:

    I was honored to work for that family business for 10 seasons…your Dad a great man and I miss him and your Mom a lot. And your brother I still consider one of my best friends. Feel like I still have a little Skee-Ball in my blood too sometimes!

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