Tuesday, December 18, 2012

winding down...

So it’s the end. Pretty much.

I’ve got, what, a couple of weeks left? “Not with a bang, but a whimper”, as Eliot said. I truly can’t express enough gratitude to accommodate what this whole experience (and this whole year) have meant to me.
  • To Steve Buffel for enabling it from the start, and for repressing what would have been a very natural desire to say “hey jerk… remember all that stuff I’ve done for you? Just play my metal yo-yo’s, ok,”. Instead, he made me a truly legendary wooden yo-yo, and supported me full-on.
  • To Steve Brown, who thought it’d be alright to give me a weekly spot to share the tricks I felt like doing, even though the vast majority of yo-yoers don’t do fixed axle on the regular.
  • To Colin Leland, who has pushed the standard of what wooden yo-yo’s can do harder than anyone, and who agreed to help SPYY share the ‘eh’ on a level I never thought I’d get to see.
  • To Drew Tetz, with whom I’ve had a running video-text conversation throughout the year, and who is using fixed axle to dictate “the shape of tricks to come”. It seems like not a week goes by that one of us doesn’t text the other “Is this yours? Have you done this?”
  • To the other Light Sleeper Society guys who got on stage at Worlds and gave me their shoes, that was certainly the most amazing extrinsic honor I have received in yo-yoing (or COULD receive, more like).
  • To my kids at school and at club, who have been so hilariously patient with me as I’ve tried to teach them Kamikaze and White Buddha using fixed axle. After the first few weeks, they realized ‘yeah, he’s gonna keep this up,’ and resigned themselves to learning tricks with the yo-yo dead.
  • And, to all the people who sought out my stuff, who sent me messages of support, or who have given wood a more legitimate shot lately. It’s really gratifying and humbling to be part of this movement of renewed appreciation and trick progression.
I’m a little anxious about the prospect of just grabbing a random yo-yo and walking out the door with it. I’m not sure how easy it will be to go back to playing "just anything". I definitely miss playing 2-handed, but aside from that, I kind of doubt that playing with a bearing will be substantially more fun than what I’m doing now. I’m fairly confident that I’ll feel really bad about my “regular 1a” and its degree of deterioration, but we’ll see. I’m so excited about the directions fixed axle is going that I’m sure I’ll still spend a lot of time doing that (certainly more than just on “Fixed Friday”).

I’m not good at tying a bow on things and saying “that experience is over”, but I suppose that’s the natural consequence of beginning a year-long commitment and seeing it through. In terms of what it’s given me… Aside from a very obvious and intimate (gross!) acquaintance with my yo-yo, I definitely feel I have a better sense for what will and won’t work before I throw down. I’ve got a much more intuitive sense for my own throw than I did a year ago. When you can only really do a trick if your throw is up to snuff, it becomes pretty evident when one is off-kilter. I never had a big hang-up about dings or vibe with any yo-yo, but the last few months have taught me that banging a yo-yo (even a wood one) off of all manner of creation and inducing a vibe that would rival a heavily caffeinated Charlie Sheen can still be perfectly manageable in terms of completing tricks. I have no beef with those that like their yo-yo’s clean and pretty, but it’s neat to have experimented with slamming one yo-yo again and again and still being totally in love with it. I've broken into new personal territory with respect to tuning a yo-yo into its best possible level of play, breaking in axles, and eeking out the dying embers of a throw’s energy.

I would absolutely recommend this experience to anyone. I mean, not having a one off wood yo-yo made for you or anything, but dedicating yourself to one throw for an extended period is a pretty cool exercise. It’s pretty crazy, the degree to which I’ve come to associate myself with the ‘eh’, and not at all because of the name. When one thing goes everywhere with you for a really long time, it kind of takes on the flavor of your experience (and vice versa, I guess).

I think regret is a choice, and generally not a very good one, but I do regret losing the first ‘eh’ with which I began the journey. The one I’ve played the past 8 months is just as wonderful, but I wish I weren’t the type of person to lose things (although it IS the first yo-yo I’ve ever lost – go figure). I kind of wish I didn’t get so much attention for the things I do. Obviously, I make videos so that people will watch them and enjoy them. I write blog posts so that people will read them and think about them. It’s neat to get praise, but I also do those things to challenge myself and dissect myself. It’s probably pretty distracting, both for myself and for others, to get credit for stuff that is supposed to be about ‘arriving at truth’ and I wonder if some of the meaning gets lost.

And so the toys go winding down (to quote Primus). My only resolution for 2013 is to try to be a good person and to make every throw count. I have never, ever, ever been more stoked to throw, which at the end of a journey like this, is a great thing to be able to say. I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season, and sincere thanks for reading about my frivolous toy-playing adventures.

... oh, and i apologize for the caps. i don't know what happened.

1 comment:

The Anunciation said...

Check out Ann Connolly and Seth Peterson from Yo Yo Factory in this cool video coming from Arizona.