Man, was I surprised and…
Man, was I surprised and excited to find this site!! First off to Hugh McNally…You’ve done an outstanding job of putting the rules together in an articulate manner. Very professional. (It reads like it was written by a technical writer.)
Anyway, I played Skully (or Skelly?) growing up in the Bronx and Queens. The game was slightly different between the neighborhoods I grew up in.
In lived in the Bronx until second or third grade. I remember playing first with the broken necks off Coca-Cola or Heinekein bottles which we removed by running the neck-end of the bottles over a manhole cover. Eventually we began using the glides off of the bottoms of chairs and desks. (The desks had large glides, while the chairs had smaller ones.) I remember melting down Crayola crayons into the gliders. (It was pretty cool trying to customize the colors in your cap for that unique look.) I remember just using the plucking technique. There were two: 1)Flicking the middle finger from contact with the thumb (for power shooting, i.e.- Blasting or for long-distance shots) and 2)Flicking the index finger from underneath the thumb, while using the other three fingers as a brace (much like when shooting pool). This technique worked best for finesse shots (i.e.- hitting your opponent soft enough to keep him around for bait on your next shot, or when shooting around the Skully so that you didn’t get stuck inside, or overshoot your intened box.)
After moving to Queens (Springfield Gardens area), I remember using the caps off the Dellwood milk containers. We started weighting them down with candle wax. Wax was surpassed by Playdoh or clay later. But eventually the preferred top came to be the bottoms from Push-Up ice cream. We’d weight them down with multi-colors of clay and scrape them against the ground to help smooth them down underneath. They were awesome!!! We would even put a chrome tire valve cap (taken from a car or bicycle) in the center of the cap and use it as an aiming site!
The other technique that I was introduced to in Queens was called, “Flying your cap”. This was usually used for covering very long distances (i.e.- shooting back into town to become (or after becoming?) a Killer.) It could also be used to shoot at any time. (It was preferred when shooting from corner to corner across the board.) This is how we did it:
1)Place the cap in between your thumb and the first digit of your middle finger
2)While keeping your forearm parallel to the ground and against your waist, pull your arm back
3)Push your arm forward briskly, while flicking the first digit of your middle finger forward (much like when some flicks away a cigarette butt)
The top should now be propelled forward as it rotates (from the flicking of the finger) and should cover a long, or short distance (dependent on the force of the forwrd arm thrust and the flick of the finger).
Using this technique you can hit your opponent from long distances. (Think of the little pistol with the rifle stock that Lee Van Cleef used in “For a Few Dollars More”).
I also remember the start line being far enough from the “1” box that you’d be better suited trying to “fly your cap” than to pluck it. The shooting sequence of players was determined by the closest one to the “1” box. I also remember the fun of blasting your opponent so hard that he’d start rolling on his side all the way out of town (he wasn’t allowed to stop it on his own.)
I live in California (Bay Area) and am 33 now, but still love to play. I’ve shown this game to my nieces and nephews and they all love it!! I’ve also shown it to a few of my buddies and they love it too! It’s like being a kid all over again. I just moved to a smaller town outside of San Jose, and intend on teaching the kids in the neighborhood and in my new congregation how to play this truly timeless game!!!
Anyone out there, please feel free to e-mail me at:
thunt [at] obsidianinc [dot] com or NYsquared [at] aol [dot] com
P.S.- I also have fond memories of playing Stickball (played in the street or between two walls of a school builing), Ring-O-Leavio, Punchball (with the sponge ball or Pinky), Roundup, Freeze Tag, Dodge Ball, and the favaorite with the girls…Run, Catch, and Kiss.