Who are still playing ...In Monroe Country there is the Monroe County Marble Club Super Dome, where every day you can shoot homemade marbles and play against the guys who 'whipped the world' in an international tournament..
The Super Dome isn't like most domes, it's more like a shack than an arena and before sunset everyday men and kids down on their knees and flick marbles until nightfall at the Marble Dome.
It was build in 1988 but looks 100 years older , with insulation hanging from the rafters..
If you don't have your own marbles, you can have it made, but their not cheap.Paul Davis sells his custom flint marbles for $20 each. Some the size of jawbreakers, but mostly the regular size.Granite marbles come in colors from black to white with tan marbling.They play a game called Rolley-Hole which is played by using their thumbs to make three evenly spaced holes in the double-sifted, water-packed, fine yellow dirt. They aim their marbles at the holes..
Each 2-member teams must shoot for these holes, and each must get his marble into each hole three times,down the court,back and down again.
At the same time, players try to knock opponents marbles away from the holes they're trying to hit.
In 1992, they heard about an international marble tournament in Tinsley Green, England, south of London, where men have been playing marbles more than 400 years. Members of the marble Dome wangled an invitation to participate. Most of them have never been as far as Louisville, let alone London, but they took their handmade marbles and went.
When the boys from Kentucky got there, they had fun teaching others the Rolley-Hole, but they had to learn right away the game of circle-type marbles that they played in the tournament.
In spite of that, they played so well in the British Marbles Championship that the other competitors hardly had a chance. In a sign of good sportsmanship they allowed the Brits to score once before beating them.
In the final international tournament, they became the world champions, winning with a score of 10-0.
They returned to Kentucky where the Louisville Courier_Journal headline was "Thumbs up y'all/Good ol' boys, simply marbleous, whip world!"
Women do play in Thompkinsville, but it's mostly a man's game in the Marble Dome. The annual dues are $20 per person, which keeps the lights on and pay for the wood to keep the stove going in the winter so no body's fingers freeze.
There, in the evening shade in Monro County, the world becomes a big blue marble where the men are champions ---at least until their wives call them to supper.(mostly done by Janis Turk a freelance writer in New Orleans)
When I was a kid, marble playing was a big past time...We would play for hours, taking each others marbles in a win..I was a fair to good player, so I never played with my best marbles as I was a poor sport and didn't want to lose my cat eyes and the copper colored ones that I loved..I remember there was one game we played, don't know if it was something we made up or it's a real game. But we would spit and then have to set your marble right on the spit or as close to it as you could get...I remember having an advantage as I have a space between my teeth and could spit so far no one could could reach it...I can still remember the feel of the Texas heat as it scorched a hole on the top of my head and the taste of the dirt..Beats the hell out of any video game the kids play now.