When you think of Skee-ball machines, you think of arcades. But now, Skee-ball machines can be found in bars too.
Skee-ball was created in 1909 and the first Skee-ball tournament took place in an Atlantic City arcade in 1932. Fast forward 80 years, and now you can compete with a beer in hand.
Giovanni Marcantoni began his own business: Play Big Apple, which incorporates competitive leagues for Skee-ball, bocce ball, and other games and sports.
“It all started when I started the Baltimore bocce ball league,” Marcantoni said. “The Baltimore bocce ball league blossomed and it started to be something where we had multiple locations across Baltimore and I was still doing it part-time and we kept looking for something to do in the winter. I thought about it and I was like, what about Skee-ball?”
But Marcantoni was still working his day job in addition to his Baltimore leagues.
“I decided to quit my job when, I was just getting so bogged down, literally probably working 40 or 50 hours a week on the Skee-ball and bocce leagues, on top of my job,” Marcantoni said. “And I really wanted to start New York City Skee-ball. And I just thought, to really come into New York and do this, there is just no way I can have a full-time job.”
Now, he has Skee-ball and bocce ball leagues in cities all over the nation.
“When you are 28 and all of a sudden you own your own company and this is your full-time job, you’re like ‘oh my god, this is great, I can do whatever I want’,” Marcantoni said. “But you very very soon learn that your entire life is now your job. And you are always on. And it becomes you. It defines you.”
(For the sake of full disclosure, I am a member/serious-Skee-baller in Marcantoni’s NYC Skee league.)