YO!

15min

Sophomore Harold Owens has practiced with his yo-yo for years and has even made up a few tricks of his own

By Tommy Sneider
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What made you get interested in learning yo-yo tricks?
My friend Mitch brought in a yo-yo in seventh grade and he was really good and I thought I would be able to do it too, so I did and I got pretty good at it.

Are there different types of yo-yos that help you do certain tricks better than others?
Yeah, there are certain yo-yos that are strictly for sleeping where they just sit there. My favorite is the one I used at the talent show where it actually contacts your body. I like the flames on the side because it was my first yo-yo that I actually got so I have a pretty good connection with it.

Describe your favorite trick.
I would have to say that my favorite trick that I do is the thumb grind because it’s pretty much when you put the fingernail side on the yo-yo and the audience can never figure out what is happening so it’s always a good crowd pleaser.

Why did you decide to participate in the talent show in the fall?
Actually I didn’t actually decide to do it until the day before, because I needed some money to get another yo-yo and my friends said that there was a talent show that you could get money for it and so I thought it would be a good idea.

How much time did you take to practice your routine?
Before the talent show probably about two hours at home. I also learned some backstage, because after school I couldn’t get a ride home so I had to stay at school that whole time so I practiced after school the entire day until the talent show.

Where do you learn your tricks?
I get that question a lot, it’s a good one. When I very first started it was just a matter of watching people who were really good at it like on YouTube and stuff like that. So for the first couple weeks I would watch stuff on YouTube and I tried to replicate it. Once I learned how to do it, you can just kind of branch off and do your own stuff, that’s what I’ve been doing for about two or three years now.

When you perform for others, what kinds of reactions do you get?
I tend to whenever someone asks me to show something to their friends I’ll do kind of a basic trick, like I think it’s really easy and they always seem to be really amazed. I’ve never seen it from the other person’s perspective, so I guess it just looks really cool.

What’s the hardest trick you know how to do?
Usually the hardest tricks that I do seem to be the ones that look easiest to people because people can’t tell that it’s hard because I do it so well. One of them is the windmill where instead of having the string attached to your finger you have a counterweight at the end of the string and you hold on to that and its pretty much just a balancing act where you have to balance the two together.

Do you make up some of your own tricks?
I make up a lot of my own tricks actually, most of them. You draw from pretty much the same basic skills that you need to do tricks to make your own moves and things like that. But yeah, most of the skills I have learned from other people and then you make up your own tricks.

When do you think you started becoming good with your yo-yo tricks?
I actually was not very good for about the first month. It was static development, I didn’t get very far. But after about two or three months I started to learn things every night and I’ve practiced every night since then and it keeps on getting better and better.

Is it more of a hobby, or do you think you will try to earn money in the future?
I like to think of it as more than a hobby, I hope I never stop. I’d love to figure out a way to earn money off of it. It’s a crowd pleaser evidently.

What is the hardest part about yo-yoing?
I would have to say that the hardest part is that you mess up so much because it takes so long to get good at a certain part for a certain trick. I’ve seen people try and they kind of get enthusiastic for a while but then once you start messing up the frustration just makes it hard. So probably just sticking with it.

What advice do you have for others who want to get interested in it?
Try it if you think it’s fun if you think it’s cool. Stick with it, like I’ve seen people try and just keep practicing. It might take a while but it pays off in the end.

Do you have any goals for yourself, like learning more tricks or getting better at a certain part of it?
I hope to compete since I’ve never been in a tournament before. A good goal for me is to see how I rank in a state competition.

If you could learn any trick, what would it be?
I would say just to keep making things up, there’s not really one trick that I want to learn. It’s just not all of them are my favorite. I just want to keep making things up that work with my style and my routine and stuff.

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