I don't care I don't care how old you are, I don't know a person who doesn't like Skee-Ball. And if I met a person who said "Skee-Ball? Eeeeew I hate that game!" I would question that person's integrity.

To this day, Skee-Ball maintains its popularity because it gives a satisfaction that no other arcade game can. Skee-Ball is a sport for people who don't play sports. You can suck at bowling, but still be great at Skee-Ball. It makes you feel successful, nimble and agile even though you may not have any athletic prowess at all.

You can be old, young, fat, uncoordinated and you can still win at Skee-Ball. It was the original sport for kids with ADD before ADD existed. Considering each game was a 2 to 3 minute affair and a failure could be wiped out in one second with just another quarter and another pull all the lever. So it never got tedious.

Every time the dirty wooden balls wobbled down the chute, you could reinvent yourself. You could have a fresh start no matter how bad your previous game was. As you got better and better at Skee-Ball you would eventually discover the bank shot. The bank shot would really make you feel like a pro.

Whether you were six or 60, there was no feeling like that ball gliding along the track, then skimming the metal rim of the ski ball track at exactly the right angle, then popping up and expertly landing in that tiny evasive top ring. There was a feeling of power in that lever that pulled the balls down; that feeling of the grinding chain inside that released the balls down that chute was a high--A new beginning.

And as you racked up those high scores, that nonstop feed of tickets that came trailing out of the bottom of the machine (that you vaguely knew were there but tried to ignore) added even more to the excitement of the game. It's not like you cared what those tickets could buy! It was just the sheer volume of tickets, the size and length of that strip.

I remember making that top ring on every shot for a perfect game. I was about 14. I feel about that game the way bowlers probably do when they bowl a perfect game. I'll never forget it. It stays in my mind like any of those accomplishments you have as a teen: getting an award, acing a test, hitting a homerun.

But Skee-Ball was better, because despite the noise and the ringing and the clanging and the people bumping into you and your friends saying "come on, let's get outta here", despite the desire to play just one more time, there was no feeling like it.

It was just you and the machine and those nine wooden balls.

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