Skee-Ball redefined with new, national tournament
Skee-Ball, a classic arcade game, is getting a makeover as a nationally competitive sport. This Memorial Day weekend, 64 Skee-Ball players from all over the country tried their luck at the third annual Brewskee-Ball tournament held in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Ditch the Olympics. Skee-Ball is the new sport young urbanites are cheering for.
For three days this weekend, Full Circle bar in Williamsburg was host to the National Brewskee-Ball Championships. Skee-Ball, which pits players against one another to lob small wooden balls up a ramp and into holes for points, has attracted a large fan following since the Brewskee-Ball championship began three years ago.
Eric Pavony, the CEO or "Skee-EO" and founder of Brewskee-Ball, said he got the idea for the championship while playing Skee-Ball at New York's Coney Island amusement park.
"We were playing one day in Coney Island just for fun and all of a sudden I challenged my buddy Evan [Tobias] to what I called a 'Skee-Ball Roll-Off' at the time, and it was a blast," Pavony said. "We said, we've got to do this all the time."
Pavony and Tobias' vision for competitive Skee-Ball leagues across the country has been realized. More than 1,000 teams in New York, Wilmington, Del., San Francisco and Austin, Texas, competed to enter the Brewskee-Ball championship tournement. The goal of the championship was not just to crown a winner, or roller, but also to draw attention to the growing popularity of Skee-Ball.
Pavony said Skeel-Ball is an equal opportunity sport.
"Anybody can be a professional Skee-Ball player. You can be short, you can be tall, you can be a guy, you can be a girl, I've seen it all," Pavony said.
Despite encouraging a wide range of players, Pavony thinks there is one unmistakable super star for the burgeoning sport.
"Joey the Cat is far and away the guy that is going to win the tournament as far as anyone is concerned," Pavony said.
Other players included David "The Bear" Mauler, Brew Baka and Luke Skee Walker.
The Brewskee-Ball championship mixes humor with genuine competition and cheap beer. The bar serves up over 50 types of beer and winners are rewarded with a giant beer glass called "The Brew-Skee Mug."
According to a New York Times interview before last year's competition, enthusiasm for Skee-Ball has helped people connect in big cities. Amy “Doozles” Spencer said Skee-Ball enriched her social life.
“Now all my closest friends are Skee-Ball rollers,” Spencer said. “It’s a community.”
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH Radio Boston.