In Chicago, the dedicated rollers who are willing to travel the globe in search of Hundos are members of an elite squad, known as The SKEE League All Stars. These are their stories:
Last week, Timmskee “The Elephant“, Kevin “McSkee” McGhee and I (Mike “Flava Fraz” Fraser), traveled to Baltimore, MD to compete in a “National Skee-Ball Championship.”
The event was hosted by a group called www.socialleagues.com, which has affiliated skeeball league locations running (rolling?) out of Denver, Charleston, Manhattan and Baltimore. They opened up the possibility for outside team’s/ leagues to register online and join, so that’s exactly what we did.
The Quest: To bring a champskee-ionship back to Chicago!!!
The Event: The tournament was broken up into two days, with both an individual and team tournament.
For the individual tournament, each roller got to roll ONE round of 9 balls and the TOP 16 scores moved on to a head to head bracket for a one round roll off.
It’s worth mentioning that the bar had 4 “Alley Roller” machines – not Beerball, not traditional skee-ball. I can’t even find a stock photo of these types of machines online, and they were a little wonky. My best guess is that they were customized Ice Ball machines, which aren’t my favorite. It became clear from the onset that banking against the side of the lane was NOT the ideal strategy, which put our whole team at a disadvantage.
One machine in particular had something weird going on with the ramp, and the ball would pop up and hover like there was an invisible forcefield preventing the ball from hitting the 50. NOBODY wanted this machine.
Results: I made it into the Top 16 with a qualifying score of 300, and Kevin (the event’s reigning champ) was forced into a roll off with a score of 270. Note – Kevin was the ONLY person rolling for straight hundos, and even though he put up an event high 630 in practice, the balls did not land favorably when he needed it. Tim did not qualify and was not available for comment.
Our final hopes were dashed when I lost a coin flip sending me to the shitty machine, where I lost in the Final Four to the eventual Champion, Aaron Re (aka SkeeBall King, aka SBK.) I first met Aaron last year on the boardwalk of Wildwood, New Jersey while competing in the “Skeeball World Championships” at Ed’s Funcade. He’s a very nice guy, extremely consistent, and a die-hard skeeball fan. He even made an entire (mocumentary) movie about his trials and tribulations on his quest to win the World Championship, which he successfully did the following year. I actually own the DVD if anyone wants to watch it… It’s pretty funny.
Here’s a video I took of Aaron’s championship match against his arch nemesis, Joey “The Wolf.”
Ironically – Aaron and I both graduated from Ball State University.
As I mentioned before, aside from Chicago and Aaron’s group from Pennsylvania, this event primarily featured rollers who were members of the aforementioned social leagues. It would be really cool if someday we could orchestrate a legit, best of the best, nation-wide skeeball tournament. #lifeskeegoals
Now, on to the team tourney!
Our Chicago swag was on point with customized SKEE LEAGUE embroidered track suits.
Saturday’s Team Championship was a “World Cup style” group play/round robin, with the top 2 teams emerging from each group into a Top 16 championship Bracket. So basically, there were 8 groups with 3 or 4 teams and all the teams played each other, with only the top two moving on to the next round.
Each roller rolled 3 balls, splitting the round of 9 balls amongst the team. High Score Wins. Best of 7 games.
We won our group outright, going 3-0 in our matches to reach the sweet 16. We felt pretty confident going into the final bracket, but again, the banking against the side of the lane proved to be too inconsistent for these machines. We were no match for the team’s who had perfected the “up the middle 40’s” and were eventually eliminated in the round of 8. :/
Of course we would have liked to do better, but overall, I’d say we held our own. Most of all, it was a lot of fun. Baltimore is a really cool city, and I cannot say enough kind things about the fine folks heading up the various city’s skeeball leagues. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. It was great to connect with so many people who share a love for the great game of skeeball. You all are certainly welcome in Chicago anytime!
Till next year!
ALL for SKEE and SKEE for ALL
PS. Don’t EVER eat at Mo’s Seafood. Bleh…