While we were all enjoying Shu’s amazing 2A freestyle smashing any previous freestyle ever presented by any human being in the history of yoyo play at this year’s world based yoyo contest little did we know that a greater battle was unfolding in outer space. Yesterday a video hit YouTube showing astronaut Don Pettit demonstrating a modern performance yoyo aboard the international space station. “Nothing special to report here” I’m sure you are saying, “this was done years ago on a shuttle mission.” “We all learned about it in elementary science classes ever since. Old news”.
But wait. There’s always something that, as a yoyo player, has always bothered me about that original outer space yoyo experiment. I’m not saying it kept me awake at night STEWING in the thoughts, just whenever the subject was presented I felt the data was flawed.
Here’s the problem: in 1985 astronaut David Griggs was put to the task of using a yoyo in space and researching the effect of zero gravity on the toy. I assume he had some training on the basics or maybe had some residual childhood technique which elevated him to the position of In-House YoYo Expert. Here, you can watch the result of his off-world yoyo experience:
(YoYo magic happens at 2minutes 40seconds if you don’t have the patience to watch the other fascinating toy experiments.)
The reported results were that Dave Griggs couldn’t get the yoyo to “sleep” due to the lack of gravity. Then all the data was compiled into a science program called Toys In Space and made available to educators around the country. The data claimed “The yo-yo will not sleep in space because there is no force to keep the yo-yo from moving back up the string.”
I always imagined teachers explaining this across the nation and the students accepting this fact based on the authority of the experiment and the credentials of the educator. Then in my mind’s eye I imagined that one precocious 6th grader in the back of the classroom who considered himself a bit of an expert on the playground with the yoyo thinking to himself “I could get it to sleep, send me up and I’ll prove it. That guy just had bad equipment and his skill was questionable”.
So yesterday when my email started blowing up at the end of the day with friends reporting the new yoyo video posted on YouTube showing Don Pettit taking a break from rescuing a satellite and goofing around with his yoyo my emotional state hit an all-time high as I watched him demonstrating not only a YoYoFactory® DNA™, but also putting the yoyo through numerous “sleeping” based maneuvers in zero gravity.
Did Don Pettit know that he was taking the first step in space at calling out his predecessor, an outer-space challenge, the first Galactic Smackdown? Does he know the damage he has done to the teachers guides and all of the re-writing that will need to be done? Is this a quantum shift in science? The last one, probably not. But for the 6th grader inside me who just knew that with a little practice and the right equipment the challenge could be beaten… I feel vindicated, smug even. I want to thank Don Pettit for taking the challenge and showing that science is more than just one experiment, more than just one anecdotal experience. Also want to thank him for taking his break from his extraordinary day that allowed me to take a break from my very ordinary day and write this comment.
Guinness Record Holder
If you’re a regular to the YoYoFactory Blog, you’ve heard our praises and hopes for Shu Takada’s 2A. This remarkable player has grown and developed his skills to unmatched heights. And his performance is second to none. Congratulations Shu, 2012 2A World YoYo Champion!
Hiroyuki Suziki’s win this year brought him even more firmly into his position of Most Winning 1A Player at Worlds. For years Hiroyuki and YoYoFactory players have gone head to head for the World title. This year was different. Working together, we put together a very special model for our upcoming Champion’s Collection: the Equilateral. More on that later, enjoy the freestyle for now.
With a seed from US Nationals, Harold Owens III got to sit back and watch the others battle through prelims and semi-finals. Harold had his freestyle on lock and his confidence showed on stage. Coming in at 4th, Harold was the top placing US competitor. And that’s a good spot to be in for Nationals in October.
The term “sleeper” has been thrown around a lot with Gentry Stein this year. Bowing out of competing at BAC, Gentry gave all his focus and attention to preparing for Worlds. Through prelims and semi-finals he didn’t lead the pack. But that was intentional. Gentry didn’t want to give to much away until Finals. With a jaw dropping Final routine at Worlds, Gentry has cemented himself as one of the top Modern yo-yo players in the world.
With Mexican flags waving in the crowd, Luis Enrique took the stage at Worlds. Luis has been working up the contenders ranks for years. 2012 found him on everyone’s list of top players who had a shot. And this freestyle did not disappoint.
Paolo Bueno has been a standout player this year. Dominating his local contest scene, Paolo also placed very well at Cal States and BAC. As players dropped left and right in prelims and semi-finals at Worlds, Paolo stuck in there and earned a prestigious spot in Finals. YoYoFactory Contest Team potential? We think so.