The last school bell has rung for the year, and as families re-orient themselves to the fact that it’s summer, they are finalizing their vacation plans. And if you’re anywhere near the Jersey Shore that means a trip there, be it for a day, a week or longer.
And if you’re going to the Shore then you’re definitely going to be playing Skee-Ball on the boardwalk. Again this summer another generation will be introduced to this fascinating game by their brothers and sisters, parents, grand parents or aunts and uncles. Whoever it is that makes the introduction will put them in front of an alley show them how to roll the ball and then wait patiently for the new inductee to follow suit.
The machines will clang, the balls will clank their distinctive sound, the tickets will burp out and another generation will know the thrill of the ball flying over the ski-jump, holding their breath, and waiting to see which ring it will fall in. And that will be the beginning of their best memories at the Boardwalk—playing Skee-Ball.
At the end of it all, they’ll take their modest number of tickets and redeem them for a small trinket. The more seasoned will horde their tickets until they have enough to cash them in for something more substantial, like the ginormous teddy bear.
Have a great summer, roll some balls and collect those tickets. And if you feel just a bit nostalgic while doing it, give a nod to Joseph Fourestier Simpson, the man who invented the game and gave the world our first taste of Skee-Ball in 1909.
Happy rolling and have a great summer!
About the author:
Thaddeus Cooper is the co-author of Seeking Redemption: The Real Story of the Beautiful Game of Skee-Ball, a deep dive into the history of the game. You can find more information about Thaddeus, and his co-author, and their book, at: http://www.nomoreboxes.com/.