|Duncan Imperial. Emerald Green. Oh, yes...that's right.|
In my desk drawer, I have an emerald green yo-yo. The condition of the string and the scuffs all over the outside edges will tell you that this yo-yo has been well-used. This yo-yo has been in my desk drawer since my very first day as a teacher, and I use it in class sometimes too (though not as often now that I'm teaching in higher ed.)
My love of yo-yos goes back to my own middle school experience. In middle school, I had many yo-yos, and I learned lots of tricks. Walk the dog. Shoot the moon. Around the world. Loop-the-loop. Rock the cradle. It was the late 80's, and I wasn't alone in my yo-yo fandom in middle school...but I definitely geeked out about it. I learned to yo-yo with both hands, so I could alternate. (Very impressive, right?) I even had different yo-yos that I used for different tricks. (Because the shape of the yo-yo makes a difference!)
As I look back and reflect, I think this was one place where I recognized my geekiness, and was okay with it. It's hard for middle schoolers to be okay with being geeky. So often, they feel like they will be ostracized for that thing that makes them a little odd, a little different from the norm--and to be fair, sometimes they are ostracized. Kids at that stage of life don't realize that everyone is geeky about something--that thing that they love and obsess about. For me, one of those things was yo-yoing. I accepted it. I knew, even then, that it was a little weird to carry a yo-yo in my pocket, but I also knew I was good enough at it that other kids might joke, but they were also impressed when I would do five or six loop-the-loops in a row without missing.
Thinking back 25 years, I can see that this was a formative part of my middle school experience.
So when I became a middle school teacher, it seemed right that I should have a yo-yo available in my desk. Sometimes it came out on recess duty with me. Sometimes I tried to use it as an object lesson in my science classes. Sometimes I yo-yoed during prep hours, just for stress relief.
Why is it still in my desk drawer after all these years? Honestly, I'm not sure. It just doesn't seem right at this point to not have a yo-yo around, even though I don't use it regularly. Maybe it's just a good reminder of where I've come from...both as a student, and as a teacher.
I think I better check and see if I can still loop-the-loop.
Still got it.