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The "making" of a skully cap
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Make the perfect blaster on the stove with some wax

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"Making" skully caps (for example, loading a beer cap with wax) can be an important and creative childhood ritual. Below are comments from Streetplay members about this great activity.

The right cap for the situation

What I remember best about playing Skelly was the variety of pieces we'd use. Usually we'd use bottle tops from soda bottles. Of course this was before the twist-off tops so the trick was to get the top off the bottle without bending it. Sometimes we'd melt crayons into the bottle tops to give them weight--then we could blast the opponent's top down the block. Sometimes we'd have an open game where you could use any type of top you wanted--large jar tops were particular favorites. These had to be big enough to maximize the chance of hitting your opponent, but not too big to fit into a destination box.

The wickedest thing I remember was, when you landed in a box and your opponent was sitting on the box edge, you could put your top right up against his and kick then as far as you could. You got to go to the next box, but your opponent might need the rest of the day to get back on the court!

-Bob Pesner

The evolution of the skully cap

Streetplay CEO's wife, children, and friends customizing skully caps
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Crayons, bottlecaps, and fire are used to customize skully caps
Our game-play equipment evolved over the years like one of those "tools made by man through the ages" charts you'd see in your 4th grade social studies textbook.

At first we used the bottlecap, specifically from beer bottles (the twist-off variety, which didn't get dented by a bottle opener upon removal). Lots of glide, but very light, blastable, and didn't hold up great under car tires. We found that new bottlecaps had new paint on them, and they glided better.

We then filled bottlecaps with wax, usually from a crayon. They were still fragile, but still glided well even with the additional weight. A weighted cap was good for blasting an unweighted cap, but when everyone's cap was weighted, it didn't much matter (physics and all). Since some labor went into putting wax in a cap, we began to scratch an "x" underneath the cap, using the cap itself, and then picked it up from the street if a car was coming so it wouldn't get damaged. This is akin to what golfers do on the green; I think we invented the technique and the PGA picked it up.

The next step in skully cap evolution was the "push-up ice cream pusher." Back in the day, Good Humor sold ice cream in a cardboard tube called a "Push Up" (I think). The plastic thing that pushed the ice cream made an excellent skully cap (excellent glide), but it wore out quickly and was very fragile. Luckily, you could replace them by buying more ice cream.

There was a spate of bizarre caps at this time of evolution (mayonnaise lids, Heinz catsup bottle caps) but one was notable: the glass cap. The glass cap was obtained from the ring atop the neck of a non-twist-off beer bottle. To get this cap involved much labor, as you would rub the top of the bottle repeatedly over the bumps of a manhole cover, hoping that the ring would crack off just right. It did about 10% of the time. This cap would glide like crazy, had no blasting power, and worked until it broke. Cars running over this cap didn't much hurt it, but the final step in Skully Cap evolution did: the steel chair glider.

The steel chair glider was found underneath your desk in school. You removed it using a bottle opener you sneaked into school. If you were smart, you'd liberate all four gliders so your chair wouldn't rock. It was the perfect skully cap. Impenetrable to all elements, great glide, and blasting power. Some of these caps were big, some were small--if you were lucky, you had more than one size cap. I still have mine to this day!

-Hugh McNally

Special caps and trade secrets

I've used almost every top imaginable. Pop off and twist off soda tops, glass rings from the bottles, etc. I had a top for every situation. I even used the plastic covers from coffee cans, I'm talking the 3 lb and 5 lb cans. You had to see the looks on the other kids faces and the fights when I took one of those out. One of my favorite tops was the white plastic pop tops you used to get from the prescription medicine pill bottle. In the days before child proof caps.

Another favorite was the desk and chair gliders from school. The secret to a good top was the weight. The large tops were good for blasting the other kids tops into the next neighborhood but for normal game play you needed a top that was as low to the ground as possible and heavy. 95% of the time when people tried to blast me, they would just wind up flying right over the top of my cap and chasing there top down the block.

My secret to making a good top (since my days of playing skelly are long gone I guess I can let it out now...). Like I said it was the weight. The way I accomplished this was to take a medicine top or later on, a chair glider. Before I would melt the wax in it. I would place a penny or a nickle, depending on how much weight I wanted, in the bottom of the top. Then I would melt my wax on top of it. This would give me a small heavy top that would glide the length of the street if I wanted it to.

-Mike P.

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