No strings attached


Shaik who recently began learning yo-yo tricks demonstrates a beginner trick. Photo by Catherine Lockwood.

Harini Shyamsundar

Juniors Omkar Kawade, Danish Shaik and Emilio Torres-Gonzalez experience both satisfaction and enjoyment from their collective hobby: yo-yo-ing

With hand–eye coordination so acute that it enabled them to coax their yo-yos into a new position with a simple twitch of the wrist, juniors Omkar Kawade, Danish Shaik and Emilio Torres-Gonzalez handled their respective tricks like clockwork. As Kawade twisted his thumb deftly to the side, the whir of metal against string became an effortlessly steady rhythm.

When most students think of having to attend a lesson their minds usually jump to grades, teachers, assessments and the pressures that accompany a will to succeed. For Kawade and Torres-Gonzales, however, a guided lesson in one of their favorite pastimes—the art of yo-yo-ing—consists of watching a specific stunt on YouTube until it is ingrained in their memories. The two boys began their journey in the field of yo-yo-ing in middle school, and both took to the hobby almost immediately.

“I got into it in sixth grade,” Kawade said. “My friend had a small yo-yo, which he would just swing up and down. After that, I decided to learn more about yo-yos, and ever since then, I’ve been practicing.”

For both boys it became, from that point, a quest to learn as many new tricks as they possibly could. They decided to devote any free time to self-mastering the skill, and through hours of dedication and practice, the duo learned to do much more with their yo-yos than just swinging it up and down. For both Kawade and Torres-Gonzales, yo-yo-ing quickly evolved into more than a mild hobby. It became something that both boys looked forward to and a talent that they could pursue with no obligations to a teacher or an instructor of any kind. It was a personal endeavor with no strings attached. After arriving at MVHS, both boys were worried that the increase in schoolwork coupled with an influx of other extracurriculars would require yo-yo-ing to take a backseat.

[quote_simple]“When I came to MVHS, I wasn’t planning on yo-yo-ing any further,” Torres-Gonzales said. “But then Omkar ended up being in my class, and he brought his yo-yo [to school].”[/quote_simple]

And, just like that, their shared enthusiasm resparked. Not only did Kawade and Torres-Gonzales keep their talent alive, they managed to impart their knowledge to others. Mutual friend and junior Danish Shaik recently took to the pastime and he is already happy to have done so.

“Yo-yo-ing is addicting,” Shaik said. “Two weeks ago, I was just sitting around playing video games. And, now, I haven’t touched my PS3 for two weeks. [I’m] just straight-up yo-yo-ing when I’m free.”

All three boys aspire to continue yo-yo-ing in the future and the sport has come to play an enormous role in all of their lives. It is something they can participate in without worrying about being evaluated and something they can enjoy without having to deal with the strss of competition.

[quote_simple]“Most people have a way to find themselves and relax,” Kawade said. “I think that’s just yo-yo-ing for us.”[/quote_simple]
Shaik who recently began learning yo-yo tricks demonstrates a beginner trick. Photo by Catherine Lockwood.
Shaik who recently began learning yo-yo tricks demonstrates a beginner trick. Photo by Catherine Lockwood.