What the Hoop

I’m in Ottawa the next couple of days for business. This afternoon while wandering about downtown I noticed a lot of green space but not much in the way of playgrounds or playscapes. I walked across the Alexandra Bridge hoping to see something at the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Québec. I remembered there had been something there for kids 15 years ago when I used to live here. Either it was too late in the season or it was just plain gone.

On my way back to the hotel I came across a mini hulapalooza under the gaze of the National Gallery’s gargantuan arachnid. People were starting to pack up and head home as I installed myself on the sidewalk for some good natured gazing. The light was failing but some of the hoopers stayed on squeezing out a few more gyrations. With dusk creeping across the sky, specialty hoops started to pulsate with light. I wished that Nellie-Rose, our 4-year-old, could have been beside me to revel in the colourful moves and try some of her own.

Mystic Myron and Awesome Alwynne swore by the hoops as a cure for everything. They were part of the Ottawa contingent celebrating World Hoop Day with their brethern and sistren in farflung parts of the world. Plans are underway to bring out the hoops for the next iteration in Diourbel, Sénégal. I had to give it a try. As you’ll see, I failed miserably but I had a lot of fun.

Now these young folks are keeping fit, creating a community and learning about the wider world. They put on public shows and don’t ask for any money in exchange. Seems like a good past time – if I only had the moves, I’d sign up. Now I’m not sure that hoops will herald in world peace but there’s nothing wrong with bringing a little joy into someone’s day. I was smiling as I watched them and thinking of how young kids must love this shiny, magic dance. If you hear about a hoop jam in your neighbourhood, check it out. It’s more than just pretty lights.

Last word to the amateur circus performers. Long live the hula hoop….


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