today is a good day; the kind of day that gets me stoked to be a yo-yo player.
it got started right, watching some of my friends' freestyles from saturday's national yo-yo contest. it always feels nice when good people are rewarded. i've known zach, tyler, pat, and bryan for years now, and they're all such good folks who care deeply about performing pushing the game forward. i wish i could have been there, but i definitely feel like a better dad for having hung out at home for my girl's b-day weekend.
i brought both my kids to our local yo-yo club, where the toy store employees and i were the only players over 10. club is so hard these days with respect to playing wood. the kids don't get the challenge and aren't impressed by the difficulties of fixed axle. to them, yo-yoing is yo-yoing, just as it should be. regardless, club was fun. caitie hasn't thrown much lately, but she learned mach 5 after seeing it twice. it's awesome to watch some of the returning kids developing from tentative "power throws" to their first whip tricks and boings.
i also started to compile a little video of my 365yoyotricks.com vids for the end of the year. i generally don't like to watch my old videos, but i guess i thought it would be neat to look at footage from months back. it was. it turns out, i'm really proud of some of the tricks i've come up with this year (and the older ones which i've hit on wood). going back to some of the footage from january, when i was just starting to figure this yo-yo out, was surreal. so many sessions. so many spent strings. some of the videos call to mind exactly what i was thinking or stressing about; background radiation coloring a year of experiences. i've played SO MUCH this year. i can't even figure how many individual throws (or snap-starts, god help me). and clasped within the untold hours of footage on my hard drive are hilarious head-bonking misses, multiple moments where alex walks right through the shot (once even grabbing the camera), string breaks, axle-burns, sudden downpours... that stuff, more than the few takes where you nail the trick perfectly, really shows who you are as a yo-yo player.
my simple, sweat-stained oak yo-yo has been the primary constant in my life this year. the seasons have come and gone. my kids have grown up a ton. there's been upheaval at the school where i work. but the cotton string that's slid over my hemlock axles all year has tied things together nicely. i've had to tune and caress this yo-yo into its best possible state for every session. might sound like a pain, but that's what i signed up for. last fall, i felt myself not caring about the little things, and with the 'eh', the little things make or break you. same with life, really, though we do our best to ignore it.
it's hard to believe that this journey is over 75% complete, and that in about 12 weeks i can go back to 2-minute combos, axles that never wear out, and bearings that will keep spinning through any kind of mutated hold.
today, it kind of sank in. i'm going to make it. i'm going to have played one wooden fixed axle yo-yo for a year, straight. and while aspects of the commitment have been harder than i thought, i was right that this was the best thing in the world for me to do. i've said before that though playing with a yo-yo isn't epic or important, but using a yo-yo (or anything) to discover yourself and dissolve your illusions most certainly is. if 'cones to balls' challenged me to rethink the seemingly-trivial, this year has demanded that i rethink the absolutely-fundamental. and in rethinking the absolutely-fundamental, i've been relieved to discover that i still just really love to yo-yo. it's amazing to me that there IS so much to love about such a simple act, even when you're 35 and essentially out-of-touch. those rare moments in which we experience the pure, unmitigated glee of making good on our challenge to ourselves (which is what all yo-yoing is about, really) put into perspective the pettiness of the drama, bickering, and self-aggrandizement that would sometimes drag us down.
anyway, i hope it was a good day for you, too.