Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Playing for Keeps

Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for you if you had just won the championship in a popular sport and were being hailed by the newspapers as "probably the "Best in the World,"....

and almost before the ink had dried......

your Mother protested, telling the world,,  "Champion, my patootie....he ran away from home!

And drove her car up to New York...and brought you back.

13 year old Vincent Sullivan
Well, That's what happened to Vincent Sullivan, winner of the New York Newsboys Marble Championship in 1930.

"He had run away from his Massachusetts home in May 1930 to “see the world.” Vincent came to New York City and had been making a living selling newspapers and residing at The Brace Memorial Newsboys Home, 224 William Street. During his time in New York, Vincent had incredibly won the newsboys marbles championship. James Lee the national marbles champion, was going to play Vincent at Ocean City, NJ in an exhibition match on board The Ecuador, a steamship.   At the last minute Lee’s managers refused to let Lee play the match, so his title would not be jeopardized.  Sullivan’s ability to shoot marbles resulted in the photograph above. Newspapers across the country ran the photo of the freckle-faced boy with the missing front teeth.
The notoriety of this story made national headlines and was followed with offers for jobs, trips and even a movie contract for the urchin marbles champion.  Vincent and his mother left for a tour of South America on July 20, 1930 playing exhibitions in many countries as a guest of the Panama Line, the steamship company."
But Vincent was never the same.  He was badly defeated in just about all his matches after 

He just never "Knuckled Down" to his old winning self.
Poor boy. My guess is that the humiliation was enough to 
cause him to lose his marbles.

More than you ever wanted to know about the game of Marbles

Aggie either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.
Alley A marble made of marble. Alley is short for alabaster.
Bombsies Dropping your shooter on the target marble.
Histing Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting.
Keepsies Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win.
Knuckle down To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb.
Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.
Mibs The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.
Playing for fair All marbles are returned to owner after the game.
Playing for keeps The winner keeps all the marbles after the game ("winner keeps, loser weeps").
Plunking Hitting the targets on the fly.
Taw Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.