Competition is arguably the centerpoint of human existence, if not all life on earth. At a fundamental level we compete for access to basic survival needs of food and shelter and reproduction. Historically it was done through violence, today it’s done through more ‘civilized means (competition for the money required for our basic needs).We compete for fun with our friends, we compete when we play games. It is what brings us together as a team, the striving against ‘other’ even if it’s only for a 60 minute game, or 1 minute on stage at a yoyo contest.
Yoyo contests are a small part of the yoyo world, and the players who compete an even smaller subset of those who attend. I was reflecting today on what I get out of competing while I was yoyoing at a bus stop. Since I’ve stopped competing my overall Yoyo skill has diminished (there are other factors, but that is one clear correlation). I’m not making up tricks as often and definitely not polishing long combos like I did when I was trying to perfect a 3 minute routine. So to a degree attending and competing at yoyo contests is something I need personally to drive me forward with my skill development. I don’t put the work in unless I have a goal. I never had any illusion of being a champion at any level, it was the goal of being on stage with a solid routine that kept me moving.
I still compete casually in 4a. The other main thing I get out of competing is the love of performing. When I was in grade 12 our band teacher (yup, I’m that kind of geek as well) gave us the opportunity to perform solo or group songs as part of the year end concert. I had been playing guitar for a year and a half and decided to do a challenging instrumental song by The Tea Party called The Badger. I went on stage, played the song with minimal errors and came off the stage determined to do it again. The rush of having just performed art in front of 500 people was amazing. For me yoyo contests fill that need to a degree.
It’s my opinion that every yoyoer who is able to should get up on stage at least once, if nothing else than to see if they like the feeling. It’s not for everyone. Many people just have too much anxiety or need to be perfect and it’s just stressful, but if you have never tried, there is no way of knowing if it’s right for you! As well, the time leading up to the contest will take your skill to a new height of polish and drive you to innovate and perhaps explore the sport in new ways!
What moves you to compete?