by Eric Smith
You think you loom at the pinnacle of existence: an expert channel surfer with unrivaled couch skills who can easily defeat three meals a day plus snacks in between.
Wipe the drool off your chin and read on.
George Daly of Shady Side is the Obi-Wan-Kenobi of the yo-yo. He can make the dancing disc on string spin, flip, fly, sip, rock, loop and sleep. (He has yet to get it to stay, heel or fetch.)
For 60 years he has been a master, but the force that courses through his yo-yo strings is powerful still. Ever since he won his first yo-yo contest as a youngster at the local drugstore in Georgetown, he has fascinated children and amazed adults.
|George Daly: the Obi-Won Kenobi of the yo-yo.
To win you had to do six tricks, he recalls, his eyes following his yo-yo as he lets it unwind down the string. I think they just gave me the prize because everyone else competing had already won it.
After watching his walk the dog, around the world and baby in the cradle, I am skeptical. I am mesmerized. George Daly has won another convert.
Who do we owe for the pleasures of the priceless yo-yo? For that we thank ancient Chinese, Greek, Mayan and Filipino civilizations. All came up with the brilliant idea independently. During the French Revolution of 1789, the French nobility used yo-yos to relieve stress as they struggled to escape the country. It is said Napoleons troops used yo-yos to relax before the battle of Waterloo.
Be warned: These toys are fun, fast and hard. They are whirling weapons. They could put a hole in your TV screen.
How to Yo-yo
Start the string around your index or middle finger. Let the yo-yo spill out of your up-facing hand. When it reaches the end of its string, pull it up again with a flick of your wrist.
Most tricks are done while the yo-yo is asleep at the end of its string. If you throw it to the ground hard, it will sleep, but only for a few seconds. To walk the dog, make the yo-yo sleep, and while it is sleeping, drag it across the ground, like a dog on a leash. Pull it back up to your hand before it can wake up again. You have completed your first yo-yo trick!
Yo-Yo: Whats in a name?
|An ancient Greek yo-yo.
The word yo-yo comes from the Philippine word for the toy; by 1932, Yo-yo had become an American trademark. Now yo-yos are sold by many brand names.
Where did the word go?
From the toy, we get a slang name for a dumb person, as well as a verb that means to go up and down, as in the weather this spring is yo-yoing.
Saturday, April 27
Tune Your Bike
Ready your bike for summer w/ help from the Severna Park Pedal Pusher. 11am-2pm @ Earleigh Heights Ranger Station, off Ritchie Highway, Severna Park:
Sunday, April 28
Kiddies 3-5 walk w/Ranger Susan to explore spring, visiting birds, reptiles and amphibians, animal babies and wildflowers. Meet at 2pm @ Comfort Station, Kinder Farm Park, Millersville. $2: 410/222-6115.
Tuesday April 30
Playtimes for Threes & Fours
Little ones join in organized play, including circle time, story, music, snack, craft and open play. Parents take a turn helping. 9:30-11:30am for 7 sessions, thru June 11 @ YWCA, 1517 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold. $70 + child membership; rsvp: 410/626-7800.
Thursday, May 2
Youngsters 3-5 meet computers at their own level while building reading skills. 4 weekly sessions 1-1:45pm @ Northeast Community Center, Chesapeake Beach. $30; rsvp: 410/257-2554.