2 Years to the day.
It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.
May 11, 2011. Walked into Toys R Us, got a Reflex and Imperial.
May 25, 2011: Ordered blue DM2, 100 count of string and thick and thin YYJ lubes.
May 26, 2011: Joined YYE.
July 2011: Mastered basic binds. Full on unresponsive play.
October 13, 2011, selected as a ForumXpert
November 2011: After getting photos done, announced I was a ForumXPert. This was announced on the last day of a notable Disneyland vacation and I found out while checking in using the YYE application for the first time while waiting for the rest of my family, who were taking their last ride of the trip on “It’s a Small World”.
Also, purchase of few NEW high-end metal, the YYJ Phenom, which is still a favorite of mine.
February 2012: Met “theroybit”. VERY important!
March 3, 2012: Official Sound Production Company for CalStates. Met JD and many other notable players, too many to remember. First yoyo contest I’ve ever been to as well.
May 26, 2012: Official Sound Production Company for BAC. Met Andre Boulay finally, and many other amazing players.
Son impressed Joseph Harris with his skills.
June 2012: Sound production for Horizon YoYoContest
July 2012: Sound Production for YoLexTravaganza
August, 2012: 2A lessons from Joseph Harris.
October 6, 2012: Nationals 2012. Attending only. Still awesome.
January 2013: Made a Yoyo/skill toy group on Facebook. Running meets.
March 2, 2013, again, official Sound Production Company for CalStates
May 4, 2012: Sound production for Kendamay
May 25, 2013: I am the official Sound Company for BAC again.
July 20, 2013: Sound Production for YoLexTranvaganza
283 yoyos in possession as of this moment. 1 not done yet. Another I want to get, not done yet. Many others I want to get.
This whole adventure started with being fascinated with the yoyo as a young child. I received a yoyo, which was taken away some 5-6 months later, after being called names by my parents for being unable to use it. Jump forward from 1978 to late April of 2011, and after a series of doing sound production for some events and a hurting back, I needed to find something a bit less stressful on my body. From out of nowhere, the yoyo came to the forefront. Some fast research and a trip to the toy store later, it was time to get started “for reals” this time.
What have I accomplished? Well, I’m not really sure. I’ve learned how to play with a yoyo, that’s for sure. My main style is 1A(gee, big shocker) and am working on looping so I can get into 2A more. I can do a little 4A and some 5A as well. I’ve also somehow made a name for myself, which wasn’t expected or desired. I like my mostly anonymous existence. I’m starting to feel in my local region a “pillar” for the community, and outside of my local area, a “name” player: someone people can recognize and identify. I guess I should be thankful I’m not sponsored. I don’t think I could handle that. I don’t have to worry about sponsorship though because I’m a horrible player, I’ll never compete, won’t make videos of me playing and can always turn down offers.
2 years. That can be a lot of time or not much time at all. I will say starting as an older player, it certainly doesn’t make things easier. Yoyo is not strictly a “kids’ toy”. It has appeal to all ages.
Besides being a threat to my bank account, what has yoyo done for me? For one, it’s been rather therapeutic. When I am allowed to focus, it’s nice to be able to shut out nearly everything and just concentrate on the task at hand. I suffer from depression and rather than medicate, I use the yoyo as a method of dealing with the symptoms. By simply playing with yoyo, I suppose that it is producing those chemicals that it should normally be making or not making so as to counter-act the depression. The amount of time this lasts can vary from minutes to days. There have been other benefits as well. With the death of a family member(oddly, I found out moments after I ordered the Phenom mentioned above, which arrived the day before the viewing), I’ve found the yoyo to be a good coping mechanism as well.
I’ve began feeling more creative again. One of the problems of my current situation is there just isn’t the room to set up the gear I want to set up to do the things I want to do. My other activities simply take up large amounts of space and involve heavy gear, there’s just no getting around it. However, yoyo is very compact and for the most part extremely self contained and requires less space. The increase in mental creativity really isn’t centered around the yoyo though. The yoyo has been more of a conduit to unlocking those portions of my brain again, allowing other aspects of creativity to come out and be explored. Unfortunately, a lot of adults seem to permanently lose their creativity and imagination as they get older, especially when the get married or have kids or just get too into their careers that don’t really require being creative or imaginative. I think these skills are just pushed to the side and neglected for most people. The ability never goes away, but when not utilized a lot, it tends to sit idle. Many people just don’t re-connect with their more artistic sides after a certain point. People need to try to exercise their entire brain when they can.
The concept of play is often lost on adults. We grow up and we are expected or demanded to give up nearly all elements of our childhood and “behave like grown ups”. Once we reach a certain age, we’re expected to “mature” and “grow up” and told that “play is for kids”. Obviously, I don’t subscribe to this, but I’m not going to delve into all my childish behaviors here. While most adults restrict play to sports and board games and things of that nature, these are all tried and true activities that serve as good play. Some of this play has more benefits than others, such as the sporting activities translates to good physical exercise as well. We all need to play in some way just to help us relieve stress and let the mind be freed from some of the confines of the day to day existence we may have parked ourselves in. Yoyo is no different, except it’s based around a toy. Because the yoyo is still largely considered a kid’s toy, many adults aren’t really drawn to “childish activities”. If one is willing to put down such thoughts, one would really open their mind to a lot of alternative yet fun and enjoyable activities. While I am definitely in favor of the yoyo, I feel any and all skill toys are suited for nearly all ages. Skill toys largely cross the boundaries of gender, race, ethnicity and religion, which is especially true for yoyo.
On a recent trip, my only escape was through yoyo. It is hard to completely escape when it’s 90 degrees and like 80+% humidity and any movement results in sweating. I don’t think I could have tolerated this trip at all if all I had to do was read, sit around or just sit still and sweat profusely, Through this, I learned the hard way the value of gloves while working on 4A and getting minor string burn on my non-throw hand. I’m not advocating the use of gloves, but I am saying that I understand and see an actual need for this. I may invest in some going forward.
While yoyo has given to me, I have tried to give back. I think probably my greatest contribution is the Facebook group I formed, which has provided a focus point for people closer to me to come together and enjoy all skill toys. With the kendama/yoyo cross-over thing going on, this has provided yoyo people a chance to try kendama and kendama people a chance to try yoyo. It’s also let yoyo people try more yoyos.
While it’s something I must do for pay, I feel my contribution to the yoyo contest environment has been mutually beneficial. As many of you may know, I am the official sound production provider for CalStates and BAC, and it appears I will have this job going forward. If you guys can help, I’d like to take Nationals too. My objective is to design a compact and portable front-end that I can carry to events and then use a provided PA when I’m unable to bring my complete system(s) with me and travel for yoyo contests as the production provider. I feel that in general, most yoyo contests are not taken seriously by those not on the inside. One of the ways to overcome that is to do things right, and by doing things right it means providing great gear and have it be run by audio professionals. I take my role as a sound company as seriously, if not more seriously, than the competitors and even the vendor. For me, this is fun, combining two things I enjoy.
As a result of my willingness and ability to work super cheap, I have been able to allow groups such as the organizers of BAC and CalStates to be able to use my services. With that same mindset, I’ve enabled other groups to be able to step up the quality of their events as well. It’s important for me to be able to share my talent and gear with others. There’s no point in having great audio gear if all I want to do is just have it sit in the truck.
Along with this, I actively went after CalStates and BAC. Yoyo has re-ignited that spark under me and fired up that aggressive drive that made me one of the top audio engineers in the nation. However, I’m lacking in the marketing aspect. I’m good at what I do, and I find the best way to tell people about it is to simple do the job.
I’ve contemplating quitting. A lot. It’s gotten dark at times. It has gotten way darker than any of you might imagine. It’s not an area I’m gonna discuss. Despite thinking about quitting, it’s also drawn me back and prevented me from doing something I might regret, even if the regret might not have a change to exist.
Like with audio gear, I think most people are probably of the opinion that I’ve acquired a rather decent collection of yoyos. While the numbers are large and there are some low-cost plastics in there, most of the stuff is expensive stuff people don’t normally have access to. I’m fortunate to again be in the position of being able to share this collection and let people try my stuff. A lot of people want the models that I have, but being kids or not having a ton of money, expensive yoyos present a serious financial risk that often can’t be justified on the chance of the yoyo not matching their preferences. I know I’ve both saved people money and caused people to spend money based on trying stuff in my collection.
I’ve learned a lot of other things. Because yoyo is no longer just a simple toy, I remember my first melt-down of information overload with all the information. After I was able to absorb and digest that information, I was able to proceed. I’ve since become really good at cleaning bearings and getting optimal performance. With a set of bearings not meeting my performance requirements, I’ve got stuff to experiment with to learn new things. I can silicone any compatible yoyo. I’m teaching others how to do these things as well.
Right now, I’m preparing for multiple things, including BAC. I wonder what the next year will have in store for me.
Thank you for tolerating me and putting up with me. It’s much appreciated.