by Philo Hagen
Last year Sam Resnicow spun his way into the hearts and minds of hoopers everywhere on our first season of Hooping Idol, capturing the top spot in the public vote for more weeks of the contest than anybody else. Now Sam is returning to Hooping Idol, only this time around he’s one of our judges because nobody understands what it is like to be in Hooping Idol better than someone who has been there before. While we all have to wait until tomorrow to see what he has to say to the top seven finalists during Performance Week on Hooping Idol, we’ve been curious to find out what he’s been up to, what’s coming for Sam in the future and how the whole Idol experience is sitting with him a year later. Find out for yourself when we interview our Hooper of the Week – Sam Resnicow.
Philo: Hey Sam, how did you end up becoming a hooper anyway?
Sam: I started hooping the second semester of my freshmen year at the University of Vermont, just over 2 years ago. I was walking to my Spanish class when I stopped in awe to watch a group of hoopers on the campus green. They were doing the vortex/beam-me-up and I was absolutely mesmerized. I soon found out about the UVM Hoop Troop and had to join. Now I’m actually the President of that club and try my best to hoop on campus to expose other students to the same passion that initially drew me in.
Philo: That’s awesome! I guess you could say that hooping has changed your life.Sam: Hooping has improved my physical, social and emotional wellbeing. First off, it is the only workout where I can be dripping sweat, but still have a smile beaming from cheek to cheek – plus, what other workout gives you a personal massage for every muscle you’re using? It has allowed me to connect with an incredible network of generous and loving people; if I see anyone with a hoop I can instantly strike up a conversation with them. To this day, I have never met a mean hooper. It’s pretty cool to be recognized in Burlington too. I’ve been stopped at farmers markets and college parties with comments ranging from, “You have truly mastered an art” to “Dude, that was the dopest sh*!, absolutely CRAZY!” I think hooping has also provided an incredible outlet for stress and confidence. The hoop is a place where I can forget the weight of school and just engage in the now. I would have never expected myself to be able to perform in front of crowds of thousands of people, but the hoop has allowed me this confidence.
Philo: That’s awesome. So, Hooping Idol.
Sam: LOL. Hooping Idol was definitely an amazing and crazy ride. At times, I found it pretty hard to balance school work, extra curriculars and the competition, but I am so glad I did it. The judges comments were sometimes pretty rough, but they showed me a perspective I would have never seen and in the end, they really helped my hooping. Most importantly, it connected me with some of my favorite people and really forced me to focus on my hooping more, ultimately changing my hobby into a passion.
Philo: What’s it been like since Idol then?
Sam: Since the competition I’ve taught classes and workshops, done charity events and much more. It showed me how I can utilize my passion to spread joy to others.
Philo: And how does it feel coming back and being on the other side of the judge’s table?
Sam: Last year, it took me a while to accept being judged and scrutinized for something that I did simply for me. At a certain point though, I learned to accept their comments as constructive criticism intended to help. It’s hard to be critical because I remember so clearly the efforts I put in that would sometimes go unrecognized by the judges, but I also remember how great it made me feel to have positive feedback from some of my Hooping Idols.
Philo: So what are you currently working on and what’s coming for you in the future Sam?Sam: My studies have been my main focus. I am a Community and International Development Major with minors in Linguistics, Spanish and Studio Art and on May 23rd I’ll be traveling to Honduras to teach a Youth Art Education course until June 7th. I’ve been helping out in Burlington with events such as Hoopapalooza, the King Street Youth Center and Kid’s Day. I’m going to be teaching at Hoopfest New England July 5-9 with some of my hoop inspirations and I will be teaching workshops and classes in Burlington throughout the summer. My hooping goal over the next few months is to nail a hooping headstand and to continue to work on my multi-hooping. On a non-hooping related note, I plan to start a food blog.
Philo: That’s awesome. Any favorite recent hooping memories?
Sam: A few weeks ago on a Friday night a group of drunken college students stumbled into my living room in Burlington screaming, “HULI HOOPS!” Two of them confidently blabbered, “Yo man, we saw you got mad huli hoops in your window, we CHALLENGE y’all to a huli hooping competition.” My roommate and I, Laura Friedland, a fellow UVM Hoop Troop member, decided to humor them and accept their challenge. After a few minutes of waist hooping, the challenge got a bit more intense as we had to take down shots passed to us and hop on one foot. Finally, my adversary amped up his game and started to do some retro disco move, “OHH, TRY TO TOP THAT, DUDE” one of his friends yelled. After I had my fun pretending to barely know how to keep it going around my waist, I combo’d a beam-me-up –> one leg –> double break –> pizza toss –> outside jump-in –> flourish and bow. They all dropped their hoops and started to clap.
Philo: Hilarious. Any advice for those who were and are in the Idol mix this year?
Sam: Don’t let the competitive aspect get the best of you. Remember why you hoop and stay true to your style. Speaking with my “competitors” during the last few weeks really humanized the whole competition and made me stop and recognize the amazing people I was connecting with around the world.
Sam Resnicow lives in Burlington, Vermont, USA.
Philo Hagen is the Co-founder and Managing Editor of Hooping.org. He’s been spinning things up online and off since April 2003.