YoYo Role Model......an in depth discussion


Icthus and I had a discussion about this topic and he is allowing me to post this with the understanding that we are all very respectful in the way we deal with the topic. This is something that has bothered me recently and I wanted to get other opinions and have an open conversation about it that should create a lot more positive than negative.

The love of anything creates admiration of those who do it very well. I grew up loving baseball and had a “hero” that I looked up to. Many people have sports heros and even others whether it be literature, political, and so forth. We all have people we look up to, even if it is a family member, we want to be like them and achieve what they have, maybe even surpass it. They become a driving force in what we do. The same can also be applied to the hobby/sport of yo-yo’s.

In Yo-yoing there are no doubt some absolutely amazing people. One Drop’s Daniel Deitz who won sportsman of the year at National’s is one such player who gives his time and talent to charity of something he believes in. However, with several of the top tier players and what some may call “legends” of yoyo’ing it isn’t always the case. In a recent post I spoke about a 1A world champion who I absolutely love their style and performance, an amazing yoyo artist. Yet, when I read their public blogs, watched public youtube videos, and even read through some of the facebook pages, I found very profane and wild language/attitude that I was very shocked to see. It also worried me a bit because I know what a huge following he has in the yoyo industry. Especially many who are younger in age as a great majority in this industry is geared towards family and kids especially.

I then encountered another situation that I was shocked by when I watched a video by a sponsored yoyo player of a certain company that was incredibly sexual and crude in the use of their yoyo tricks and this it was rebroadcast by one of the heads of this company on their facebook page who has over 3000 friends, many who are younger yoyo players. Which again has young yoyo players and those with very impressionable minds.

When it comes to impressionable minds one of the people of this board messaged me this: “The part I don’t get is just because some guy can throw, people accept all sorts of over the top behavior from them and put them on some kind of pedestal.”

That is where the point of this post comes in. I believe whether someone wants it or not, when you become famous in any way shape or form, people start following you, and wanting to be like you. We are filled to the brim with positive and negative role models all over the world. However, they are still role models, it is up to them which role they decide to play. That is where it comes back to you, the community. Do you think as a community we should try (like the NFL, NBA, MLB and others do) hold these people to a higher standard and call them out when they do things that are not appropriate or perhaps give yoyo’ing a bad rap? Is family values and morals something of the past and a new standard should be set? Is this really something that should be for family and kids of all ages (including my 30 year old self) Or do you think that it is up to the individual to do what they want how they want, no matter what age or group of people are watching? I mean a free country right? Thanks for reading and I very much look forward to reading people’s opinions!


I feel that if you’re going to join a team you need to realize that it’s not just you that are accountable for your actions if you say or do something you are representing your team/company whether it be good or bad.

It is a very daunting topic, one that holds alot of volatial potential as well. Both sides of how a person should act are equally right. It is a free country and you should be able to do what you want (within reason). But when you are the face of a company or at least sponsord by them you should use some propor etiquite because they didi hire you to represent their image. If the company dosen’t like you representing them the way you are (Just meaning about strong language use and perhaps lude gestures) then they should have the right to want you to change, up to a degree.

Even those who are not sponsered who have become very iconic and have a huge fan base can have mass infuential power.

I think, in my opinion of course, that if you are, or have become, an icon or a well known person in any field you should hold yourself in some sort of propor way. As for me, I feel like people can do whatever they want and most of the time it dosen’t bother me…weather it is profanity or crude motions or language, but sometimes it can get out of hand.

Some people don’t want the spotlight but are good at what they do and then they become famous or iconic becuase of it and they have that thrust upon them, so those people would have a very diffrent view of what they can and can’t do instead of those who want to be in the spotlight.

In summary if you want to be in the businnes or field that you are good at and you want to be famous and be followed then yes they should be held to a higher standard. If you don’t want it you have much more right to complain about it and refuse to aknowledge it but that dosen’t mean that you don’t have it. If someone is doing their own thing and somehow gains a huge fanbase with young and impressionable minds that they didn’t want or didn’t care either way, then they can say that if you don’t like it then don’t follow me or put me on a pedestal.

Also there is that “if you don’t like it then don’t watch it” kind of mentality that is in its own way very true, along with the if you don’t like it then don’t watch it or participate in it.

to be honest I’m going to say that the “normal” kid nowdays uses profane langauge which often involves sexual and crude references. Unfortuantly thats just whats happening. Now, I am in highschool but I have been homeschooled for a number of years. I havn’t had to deal with peer pressure and whatnot as much as other kids my age. Its most unfortunate to say that most of the public school kids use this kind of language and attitude in their everyday lives because thats what everyone else is doing. Yoyoers are “normal” people too so they use this language just like everyone else.
My favorite basketball player was Gilbert Areanas from the Washington Wizards, who was fairly recently sent to jail because he pulled a gun on another player over a gambling debt (guns are illegal in DC). I was killed inside… So when you say your favorite players use bad language… well they could be a whole lot worse.
As for the younger kids… Have you watched some of the shows on cartoon network nowadays? I’ve noticed the shows are getting more and more “adult” i guess is the word. Content is appearing in these shows that I was never exposed to when i was young kid.
So these yoyoers that use this language… They arn’t any different than most of their friends. It’s a shame that things are going this way and this is coming from a highschoolers point of view. I try to keep to the morals of my religion but I’m not sure how other judge right and wrong… maybe they don’t?

I don’t like the fact that tyler severance is covered in tatoos but that doesn’t keep him from being a player I like because he seems like a good guy. although I havn’t been stalking his facebook and youtube etc…

I think that really, trying to call people out on something simply because they are well known doesn’t really do much besides hurt the person who is going to be a roll model for a lot of people. They’re still people, and generally aren’t going to be too much different from anyone else. Actually making an effort as a community to do this would be very stressful I’m sure, and it would probably already happen enough already. Especially if the person doesn’t actually like being in the spotlight in the first place.

As for videos/blogs/etc. with more language/etc… it really doesn’t bother me. It’s going to exist, whether or not it’s about yoyoing. Anything is going to have some more mature content created for it, so it seems somewhat irrelevant whether it’s about yoyos or not. It’s again more of a case of avoiding what you don’t want to watch, and watching what you do.

If someone is on a yoyo team, and are expected by who’s hiring them to represent them, then they should try to represent them, as it’s what they signed up for. But I dpn’t think they should really alter who they are in the spotlight, just to fit someone’s idea of a role model.

The topic isn’t new.

I look forward to following the discussion :slight_smile:

i agree

Everyone is a role model at some time. The problem is we don’t recognize it often enough nor do we care that others look up to us. So if I’m succesful at something and become more visible if I’ve never considered or practiced being a positive role model it’s probably not going to happen.

Being a great positive role model is a concious decision that requires you consider the needs of others and balance those needs with your own. It takes practice, time, and energy. People often practice so they can acquire great physical skills while forgetting or never knowing or practicing the skills needed to grow as a person.

Let’s face it, many are simply taught from childhood that immediate gratification is all the matters, thus the “I’ll do what I want, right or wrong, I don’t care” attitude becomes more prevalent and is seen even in those that have accomplished great things.

Well I quoted no research nor have I offered anything special but it is my opinion and offered respectfully in the spirit of this thread.

I see it like this:

A player (or otherwise activity-doer) acts a certain way. Perhaps s/he uses profane language, perhaps maybe squees like a child when they see a kitty cat or puppy. Either one works.

Being the exceptionally skilled do-er this person is, s/he becomes recognized. They are receiving praise for something, and they must be doing something. But the way I see it, really, is: The person is still themselves. They might use profane language and be heard, or they might see a puppy and hug and coddle it breathless until everyone is gut-laughing in an equally breathless manner.

The person might not want to change just because people are recognizing him/her now. Doing so might put them in an awkward situation. I know I wouldn’t want to be pressed to act any other manner than who I am (especially in an artistic community) just because I’m being watched.

This is just my take on it, based on what I’d personally do.


Nah, everyone is just kinda lame so we mine as well not look up to anyone cause nobody is worthy. Lets yoyo for ourselves and forget anyone else.

Seems like the right thing to do


I am going to weigh in here while openly admitting at the outset I am not quite certain where I will end up.

Many years ago, perhaps before a majority of our readers on this forum were even yet around, there was a young singer who had experienced the huge privilege of commercial success as a performing artist. I will refrain from mentioning his name as it would be inappropriate without his permission. He had landed the theme song for a major, Oscar winning, motion picture which had catapulted him right into the forefront limelight of contemporary recording artists with a few Top Ten hits. Somewhere along the way his life turned a corner upwards as he experienced Christian conversion. Consequently he, for a time, recorded and released a few contemporary Christian songs. Here too he found commercial success. After a time he began blending secular songs back into his repertoire, much to many evangelical’s chagrin. His tour one year brought him to my city for a concert and a christian radio station in our area had him on the phone for a pre-concert interview. The announcer took up a line of questioning about the impact of this singers “ministry” through music. I cannot quote his response verbatim, but it went something like this;

“Hey, let’s all get one thing straight. I’m not anyone’s priest or preacher. When I perform on stage I am not striving to minister to anyone. I’m an entertainer and that’s all I am. I don’t have any theological background. Don’t come out expecting to attend some kind of church service, that’s not what I do. I am a recording artist, a rock singer, that’s all.”

Many listeners were taken aback. You would have thought he had renounced his faith. The thing is he was right. He had been placed in an unfair position by exuberant fans suddenly thinking he was an evangelist who could carry a tune. He wasn’t. He was just a fellow pilgrim wobbling on newborn legs being overloaded with the burden of being evangelicalism’s poster boy because of his previous fame. The problem wasn’t his sin, it was the church’s.

I well understand the desire to see players of superior skill and renown also fulfill a role of exhibiting honorable social skills which our young kids can look up to and emulate. Certainly if a player is under contract as a representative of a particular company their sponsor holds the right to expect an appropriate public image which will not tarnish the reputation of the company. However when throwers entered the sport and advanced through competitions the position of role model for our children is not what they signed up for. It is unfair for us as parents to expect these champion players to suddenly alter their character because young eyes are now upon them. There has never been any contract containing a morality clause players have to pledge to in order to compete has there? Yes, there are stipulations about music and behavior while competing, but such rules do not follow these players home or regulate their personal daily lives. I fear any attempt to introduce such expectations will be very unsuccessful, unenforceable and meet a disappointing end. Just who would write the rule book, who determines what constitutes acceptable social behavior? If high-ranking players with their names laser-engraved on the sides of pricey yoyos break the laws of our land there are institutions in place to appropriately address things at that point, but it’s not us. If their social life and vernacular vocabulary run cross-grain against how we desire our children to behave, it is parenting, not role modeling which will mould our children’s future in the end.

It is unreasonable to hope victory in competition will translate into conversion of character in daily living.

I typed up something but it exceeded the 20,000 character limit. Instead of editing it, I’ll just say I found out that there’s a 20,000 character limit.

(I do a LOT of creative writing and tech wriging, didn’t realize that if that’s that’s the case, I’m averaging 50K per day then on a slow day)

But, to pare it down:

We’re addressing symptoms and not causes. Parents need to be role models. We can control that. There’s too many “famous meltdowns” and “attention seeking” going on. We have to keep in mind that people are people and most people are going around doing stupid things. That’s life.

I am a parent to my 4 kids. It is my job to be their role model, it’s not a job I take lightly. Despite the yoyo community being family friendly and kid oriented, I don’t think it’s fair to dump that sort of load onto these top level players. Most of them don’t even know who they themselves are yet. The job of role model should not be imposed upon such people. As a parent, it is imposed upon you because that’s your job as a parent. Teachers have this imposed upon them because that’s what goes along with being a teacher. But as far as a “talking head” on the TV or a face or a name, no, I don’t want my kids looking up to someone that I haven’t met or feel comfortable with. I mean, how many of these people might self destruct from the pressure? Yeah, let’s all get that “Charlie Sheen” action going! I feel it’s not proper to have someone be a role model just because of their position, it has to be something they are willing to accept and choose to be so. If it doesn’t come from within, then it’s just fake and it’s not good.

Enough on that for now. If anyone wants my full diatribe, I saved it as a text file. You can email me for it. It could probably use a second draft.

Vic is still playing football, and has many fans. <-- Can’t believe that, I hate him. People need to take their pillars for what they are I think. Instead of believing in something so fake. I’m not sure. I personally think it is up to the individual, as you asked. Just because you win worlds doesn’t mean you have to censor yourself and not retaliate to companies attacking you directly or indirect. Who knows how it started but I know this really isn’t worth discussing. Everyone knows who this discussion is about why does his own name have to be censored just to keep the thread? Everyones entitled to have a tumblr/youtube* and follow the TOS. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!

This is a very intresting topic. I don’t agree with the fact that somebody who has become a role model should alter his behaviour. That’s just a sick and twisted thought… Bye bye personal freedom…

On the other hand. I think people are way too protective of their children. “Ooh no, they read profanity on a yoyo website, his LIFE is RUINED forever now!”… euhm no, they see horrible images on the news, they hear profanity almost everywhere. So what, big deal. Your kid wont be a better or worse person if he read some “nasty” words on a yoyo board. These rules are here now, and I follow them out of respect for the shop/board owners. But it think it’s silly.

Now about sponsoring, yeah, it’s up to the company to see if they still want to sponsor a certain player.
They should have absolutly no say in how the player they sponsor acts. If they don’t like it, then quit sponsoring him… Plain and simple as that… They don’t own them…

Ow yeah, people who get offended by profanity or other post on the internet, you should get therapy…
It’s the internet, don’t take it so seriously…


when it comes to the point where you’re a sponsored player. The company that sponsors you invests actual money in you as a player, in order to represent the company and promote it, directly or indirectly. A sponsorship is an investment that has, amongst other goals, vocation of making the company earn more money.

So from this point on, I think a sponsored player is expected to be professional in his/her attitude, due to the fact that a company has to be able to rely on their players.

The thing is, the community is still very young (as a community, but also the players, most of the best players should be between 16 and 25 years old nowadays, or so it seems) and I feel that many players don’t understand the responsibility behind the fact of being sponsored by a company.

Obviously, famous players are looked upon by younger players, therefore they become role models and whatever they do, younger folks might tend to replicate.

So it all comes down to how the brand wants to be represented.

Fame goes to your head, you feel that whatever you do, people will like you and listen to you, fame can change a perfectly nice person into an awful jerk, or make you even better.

I think someone like Zammy for example would benefit for fame and responsibility of representing a company because of his general attitude, he can transform the pressure into positive stuff.

Others will not be able to handle it. It depends on the personality.

But of course, it all comes down to how a given company chooses its team members. Some will focus on skill, others on personality, most on both, some will try to look for players who already fit their philosophy (I’m thinking about duncan for example, correct me if I’m wrong here)

I like the example of Amy Winehouse, guys like Kurt Cobain, they were amazing artists, but obviously struggled with fame and despite their art, they had a negative influence on some kids (didn’t a few kids commit suicide back when Kurt Cobain killed himself?)

When young teens look up to you, you have to realize that they’re building themselves as individuals, they’re just right out of imitating their parents and at the point where they emulate their idols, singers, bands, yoyo players, athletes etc…

We all know that kid, young, white, good family, fairly rich even, and the kid listens to hip hop (don’t get me wrong I LOVE hip hop, but most of the scene is the archetype of horrible role model, specially the most popular one). So the kid ends up acting out “gangsta”, up to the point where he could even end up doing illegal stuff and get in real trouble, having an influence on how he will conduct his life as an adult, later on.

Being a role model is a very important task, and you don’t always choose to be one, to some people, it’s just too much. Some will hide behind the whole “I’m just being myself” excuse and turn their lack of courage (to stand up and rise to the task, which can be very hard, improve themselves and grow into a better, more positive person, a good role model), they take it and try to sell it as “honesty”.

If being yourself is being an ass, whether or not you’re famous, you WILL gain in improving this and becoming a nicer person. You will still be yourself by being positive, you’ll just be a better version of yourself. there are places and times where it’s ok to just “let go”, when you’re in private, with your friends etc… but when you’re in public, when your actions WILL, whether you like it or not, influence younger kids on how they’ll conduct themselves in the future, I think it’s your job to make sure you don’t just go out and influence them in a bad way. If you’re famous, you want to do whatever you can to make their life better, not worse. And obviously, whoever you are, if you’re at the point when you’re famous, you do have many positive stuff you can share with the kids.

being nicer is not about changing who you are, it’s about becoming a better person and stepping up to your responsibility. About knowing yourself, about knowing both what’s good and bad in yourself, focus on the good and fight against the bad stuff, everyday.

When you are given the chance to be a role model, famous and successful, you have the rare ability to influence people life with the way you conduct yourself. But then it’s your choice on how you’re doing this.

Ask yourself the question “how you want to be remembered?” (regardless of the fact that you’re famous or not, if you are, more people will remember you tho)

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I think you’re wrong Hadoq. It’s not the role models that have to take their “responsibility”.
Nobody has to be possitive or have a possitive attitude, if they don’t want that, it’s their choice.

It’s the parents that have to raise the kids, not some guy they like on the other side of the planet.
You see that a LOT nowadays, parents failing to raise their kids properly and then "they blame it on Marilyn manson(or Jensen in this case ;D ) ". They should teach their kids to be themselves instead of a copy of their role model(s)…

Also good and bad are not the same for everyone.
It’s a matter of ethics, and it’s not for you, or the community to decide what ethical beliefs somebody can or should have and if they are right or wrong.

in a perfect world, I would be totally wrong.

I’m a parent, I meet with other parents everyday, believe me, many of them don’t do what they should and all the education the kids get comes from TV and… role models.

it’s very unfortunate, and as a parent, I have no fear of exposing my kid to the most horrible role model there is, because I know I’ve done my job.

but the REALITY is, most parent leave their kids education to TV and whatever. Go out and see it for yourself.

So no, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of role models, it’s wrong, but nonetheless, it is.

Someone has to step up for the kids

where I live

  • the parents don’t do what they should
  • the school is horrible (more than 50% of the kids coming out of high school to college can’t spell)
  • the medias are dumb (I think it’s everywhere the same at this point)

so all the kids have is role models

for the few who have parents who actually care, this is a non issue. I agree with you, it’s the parents job to make sure their kid grow up right and become a fully assuming individual.

Yes, but truly, if some person wants to be an idiot, it’s fine by me, but everyone would gain by having a positive and constructive attitude. Of course it’s not always possible.

yes, they should, most parents have kids for the wrong reasons and once the kids are there, they’re doing it the easy way, TV, video games and whatever happens, happens. it’s a tragedy, but I see it everyday, go outside a school when the parents are waiting, listen to the conversations they’re having together, then how they talk to their kids. it’s a tragedy.

dude, no disrespect but when you go out and insult people for no reason, it’s a bad attitude.
when you go out and teach kids to do something, help them becoming a part of a community (yoyo community), it’s a good attitude. there’s no ethics here, there are cultural differences between people, obviously, for example cursing that is very frowned upon in north america, but is totally ok in most europe.

but even in europe, we know that cursing is not a good thing, we just have developed a better tolerance towards it.

it’s tiring when you try to make a statement and people just pull the “perfect world” counter argument.

we’re not living in a perfect world, there are many (not most, but many nonetheless) parents who don’t provide their children with a proper, or even any kind of education. Some kids have nothing but role models to look upon.

No one wants to step to the task, saying “yea it’s not my job to educate these kids, it’s their parents/school/whoever but not me”

but someone has to step up for these kids because when a kid can’t rely on his parents or school for his education, he’s pretty close to fail his life all together.

we’re not living in a perfect world and we won’t as long as people just try to blame each other rather than help each other.

You’re right. We don’t live in a perfect world. But that doesn’t change the fact that role models don’t have a responsability concerning the raising of kids. I understand what you are saying. And if the role models would act more postively, it would have a better influence on the kids. But, they should have the choice to wether they want that or if they just want to live their lives the way they want to and feel like.

That responsability still lays with the parents, if you want to get closer to a perfect world, it’s not the attitude of the role models that has to change, but the attitude of parents. If they fail to change their attitude for the sake of their own kid(s), why should a complete stranger do it?

On the other hand, having “better” role models doesn’t help at all. The kids still just copy the behavior of the role model, wether it’s “good” or “bad” behavior doesn’t really matter. They should form a personality of their own…

If people want to be positive role models for the younger members of the community, then awesome. More power to them. It shouldn’t be mandatory though. Honestly, if the more conservative members in the yo-yo community expect everyone else to live up to their moral standards, then they are only setting themselves up for a whole lot of disappointment. It isn’t our job to teach their kids right from wrong, is it? I didn’t think so. So if the parents can’t hack it when it comes to raising their kids, then they have no business shifting that responsibility on others. We are not obligated to be shining examples of morality to your children.

Also, considering how many adult throwers there are, why does everything have to remain so kid-centric anyways? That makes no sense to me. Now don’t get me wrong here. I know that the kids make up a large chunk of the community, and that they are the future of the sport. What about the 21+ players like me though? Why not cater to people like us for a change? By trying to keep yo-yoing so pure, wholesome and child-friendly, it only makes this look like a hobby for squares, IMHO. But if we started approaching things with the kids’ gloves removed for once, and making things edgier, we would probably see the sport gain a whole lot more mainstream attention in a quickness.

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Not really sure what you mean by making yoyoing more for adults? Are you going to give the yoyos crude or vulgar names? I don’t really see how that’s going to bring more adults. What exactly is too child friendly other then yoyoers not cursing around kids? You need to realize that a yoyo is still a toy even if you paint it jet black and write vulgarity over it with blood.

When it comes down to it they shouldn’t have to be a good role model but they should be. There’s no denying that it’s better to a good role model then a bad one.

I agree that they shouldn’t have to be put in that position but they are so they have to make a choice whether to be a good role model or to be a bad one. No one should make that choice for them other then their team or themselves.