It isn’t often that you are reminded of your yo-yoing past. Playing with a yo-yo is one of those things that you easily forgot you did until you are reminded that, yes, you too once practiced a completely useless skill for hours until you could look cool for your elementary school peers. Reminding me of all of that was this video, posted on the page of a Facebook friend.
The guy is obviously a sham who has no skills in yo-yoing whatsoever, but at least he tries. And he got on TV, which is more than my yo-yoing ever got me.
I bought my first yo-yo when I was in third grade, a scrawny little white kid in a suburban Japanese elementary school. Yo-yos were the hot new toy in Japanese youth culture, with the accompanying TV shows and manga series and how-to books that come with every new marketing scheme. Mine was a purple and black Yomega Steal
th Fire, a wing-shaped yo-yo good for doing string tricks but lame if you wanted to do any serious looping. Soon I added a glow-in-the-dark Duncan and a Yomega Stealth Brain (the type that automatically retracts after a certain time) to the stable. These were all pretty cheap yo-yos, with solid bodies and plastic bearings. With lots of practice I could soon do all of the beginner tricks, almost all of the intermediate tricks, and a few advanced tricks. I was still behind my best friend, though, who could ‘yo’ like nobody’s business.
Despite my relative ineptitude I kept up yo-yoing until seventh grade, when it was just not cool to do that kinda stuff anymore. The year before I had bought a Yomega RB2 that had a metallic ball-bearing axle - a huge step up from the plastic ones. I could throw that yo-yo down like a crazy man and have it spinning harder than a cordless drill in the hands of Michael J. Fox. It unlocked a few more advanced tricks for me, but soon ended up in a box in the closet.
I still have that yo-yo and know where it is, now ten years later. I can still do some of the tricks - tricks that I couldn’t teach anyone else but can still do because my hands move automatically from the countless hours of practice. I pick the RB2 up once in a while because it’s a fun reminder of childhood. Playing with a yo-yo was something I genuinely enjoyed doing, regardless of how useless a skill it was. That’s still all it is - a fun diversion - and certainly not a way to get infamous on Wisconsin local television.