Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oathbreaking and Other Worldly Adventures

back home.

this has, without question, been the best summer ever. i say that at the end of a lot of summers (though not all of them). but this time for serious. between two trips to disney world, two weeks in hawaii, worlds, and a thousand adorable memories of my kids scraping knees, splashing in pools, and blowing bubbles as they feel their way through existence... 2012 is victorious.

worlds was such a spectacular time. as one of the old guys, it's so special to watch people grow up and grow into themselves while still remaining true to simple happiness (as yo-yoing is wont to cultivate). i will intersperse some pictures from the trip, beginning with this shot of sid, whose rosen-carpet camo shirt made his torso difficult to see.

this was the first time that i've taken only one yo-yo to worlds (technically i brought a backup of the 'eh', but never needed to use it). the complications inherent to my one-yo-yo-for-2012 adventure were immediately apparent as i pulled up to the rosen. tons of people wanted to try it, and everyone seemed to like and appreciate it, which made me happy. when they handed me their yo-yo's, however, all i could do was kind of stare at them and 'heft' them a bit. a couple kids wanted my opinion of this or that metal, and i had nothing to give them beyond 'it has a nice weight' or 'i really like this step here'. it was strange, and an aspect of this challenge i'll not miss.

this was also the first time that i've left the rosen so frequently. for whatever reason, i kept waking up early. since this is a sin and an abomination among most yo-yoers, and the only people in the event hall at 7am are those who haven't gone to sleep yet, i just kept walking and did some mornings at disney world, which, despite my obvious and debilitating addiction, i had never done alone! i've heard people say 'oh it's no fun without the kids,'... which is a complete crock. it's EXACTLY as much fun, just with less whining.

the contest itself is always less interesting to me than the silly little events which surround it. i don't mean to minimize the freestylers - i love the drama and artistry of the finals - but it's always very serious and tense, and that's not why i yo-yo. things like playing butterfly horse while having freestyle rap battles are a pretty solid metaphor for why i yo-yo (it probably shows). butterfly horse was amazing, and i did better than i thought, unseating rick wyatt in the semis. nate sutter was too much for me, however, and i flaked out on miggwave (formerly known as shockwave). had john bot performed his new experimental style (in which you throw through the collar of your sweatshirt with your arms connected), he probably would have won. also, YES, my participation implies that i cheated on my 2012 commitment. I DID PLAY A BUTTERFLY (actually 3 of them) IN BUTTERFLY HORSE. somehow, i feel like it's not cheating if it's something planned rather than impulsive... ok, it still is, but if that's the only asterisk on the year, i'm just fine with it.

anyway, i did better in the fixed axle throwdown (during which i went back to the 'eh'), which is my favorite event at worlds by far. over the years, the players have completely reinvented it to fit their desires, and now, it hardly resembles a traditional yo-yo contest at all (for which i am very thankful). it starts with the 8 best, most creative and dedicated fixed axle players we (or drew) can find. the 'wheel of penalty' decides a trick category (this year included 'unattached', 'repeater', 'pause', 'picturesque', 'big air', etc), and players vote with their shoes for the best trick. whatever its level of official sanctioning, winning it was pretty much the best thing i've ever done in [quasi-] competitive yo-yoing, and the trophies by 44rpm and TMBR Toys are so much better than the actual worlds trophies, it's kind of a disgrace (see below).
wheel of penalty is always memorable. i'm not sure how 2 not-chubby asian kids were able to withstand both team chubby lovin' AND the yeti, but i guess it happened! almost as entertaining was takahiro iizuka's accidental nap in the main hall. i don't think he had been asleep 2 minutes before people started building a chair-fort around him and stacking trash on his head. every year, some poor soul crashes at 3am to the delight of all. he was good about it.

the freestyles were fantastic. i wasn't universally able to pick the winners, but i think all of them were deserving (if that makes sense). my personal favorites were maya and tyler's 5a, brian's 4a, hank's 3a, shu's 2a, and harold's 1a. i'm always awed by how much guts and poise it takes to keep control on stage, but still be dynamic. every year, we get treated to freestyles like that, some of which earn trophies, and some of which do not... they deserve more than that, regardless.

kudos to my friend and teammate, sebastian brock, for organizing a exhibition of freestyles from competitors who didn't make it into finals. although i had already bolted and was passed out like a proper 35 year-old in serious sleep-debt, it's the best idea ever and, by was all accounts, a great way to end the event. the representation of team spyy was teeny (me, gary, sebby, and nate), but i think we made up for it with our enthusiasm. i love those guys.

i should mention that there was also a dance party after finals, which i did not understand at all (granted i am old, and cannot be expected to understand such things).

the elephant in the room was (and remains) prague. i'm not associated with the guys who are planning to reboot worlds in europe for next year, and i don't have much to say about that here... other than i think it will be an amazing contest, and that i think it's time for a change. yes, i had a great time at worlds, just like i do every year. yes, i'm very thankful for the work that greg cohen and his volunteers have put in over the years. i have benefited immensely from having worlds so convenient to me. but it's static. it's stagnating, and yo-yoing stagnates with it. now you have some awesome people who know modern yo-yoing and modern yo-yo contests and want to take the best aspects of worlds and make it even better AND provide exciting, potentially rotating venues to make it a truly WORLDwide event.

No comments: