No vacation to the Jersey Shore is complete without having your hand at Skee-ball. I start this post knowing little about the history of bowling’s humble cousin, but having recently encountered a bank of Skee-ball lanes in Hull, MA at one of Nantasket Beach’s old-fashioned arcades (where one of the machines stole 50 cents from me), several vivid flashbacks to my youth in upstate New York were aroused (can I say “aroused” or has Viagra trademarked that word yet?).
A more recent visit to the southern New Jersey town of Cape May informed me that maybe I was wrong about Skee-ball in my home region of Syracuse, NY. I spent many a summer on the Jersey Shore in the greater Atlantic City area when I was a youth imprisoned by the family vacation. Maybe that’s where I first rolled a Skee-ball up a lane at an area of variously sized and located circle targets valued between 0 and 50 points (although I'm trying to verify if the target values have changed over the years).
It always helps to orient yourself relative to kitschy Americana by calling up Wikipedia or seeing if the kitschy Americana in question has its own website, and I wasn’t surprised to find that skeeball.com exists and is active.
Not only that, but the game was invented in Philadelphia, a Pennsylvania city that practically lies in Chris Christie’s New Jersey, and furthermore the very first national Skee-ball tournament was held in none other than Atlantic City way back in 1932. So, yeah, Skee-ball has some serious New Jersey street-cred.
As with every arcade game, Skee-ball pays out in paper tickets called scrip. Once you accumulate a million scrip, you can buy a piece of bubble gum.
Rather than waste my quarters on accumulating scrip, I hereby challenge Chris Christie to a Skee-ball tournament anywhere along the Jersey Shore. Winner gets to drop the presidential candidate of their choice into icewater via dunk tank.