The Lonely Hoopers Club: Are You a Lonely Hooper?
Are you a lonely hooper? Then welcome to the Lonely Hoopers Club. There are lots of us. When I first started hooping I didn’t know any other hoopers, so it was just me, my hoop, hooping.org and YouTube. It was the start of an intense love affair and I wouldn’t have had it any other way, but I was so envious of those I saw across the Internet who were having hoop jams, taking classes, and had hoopy friends to learn and share the hoop love with. So I decided if I wanted to have other people to hoop with and talk obsessively about hooping to, I was going to have to make it happen!
To get people hooping all you really need in some cases is to hand them a hoop. Show them how to get started and many will be hooked right then and there. Others, however, will be more of a challenge. I’ve found arming myself with knowledge of the benefits of hooping, especially what fantastic exercise it is, can give many others the motivation to give it a spin. Fun + getting fit = new hoopers galore! Then there are other tried and tested ways to aid Lonely Hoopers Club members in finding and building a hooping community too. Let me tell you about four of them.
1. Let People Know You’re a Hooper. One of your best tools to use is your big sparkly hoop itself. Take your hoop everywhere with you – seriously, everywhere! Flashing the hoop signal will help you find out who the other hoopers are in your area and recruit new ones to join you as well. I took mine to work, to the supermarket, the pet store. I found another local hooper at the hardware store who said she just couldn’t let me walk past without stopping me, as she too thought she was the only one! Friends and even strangers will want to know more as well. At work now most of the teaching staff have at least one hoop of their own and many of these new hoopers have been passing on the hoop love to their friends. This approach has a surprisingly good success rate and it is also lots of fun! You may feel self-conscious carrying a hoop around at first, but it soon wears off and becomes normal. You may even begin to feel lost without it!
2. The Power of the Internet. There is a huge online hooping community! If you’re reading this, then you may already be a part of it, or maybe, if you’re like I was, you’re possibly just starting out and/or not really sure of where to even look. If you search for the names of your local area + hooping or hoop dance or hula hoop on Facebook, you might be lucky enough to find a hoop group already exists near you, or maybe there is one that is not too far away. You can also do a search right here on hooping.org for your city, state, province, or country and see if we’ve ever shared anything from a hooper in your area. If you track someone down, send them a hello. Many hoopers will be delighted to find there is someone else near them, and they can tell you what is going on locally in your area too.
3. If You Build It, They Will Come. What if it turns out there really isn’t anyone in your area? Then you’re going to need to be the one to start a hoop group where you live. You’re going to be there ready for the next person to find in your area when they come looking for hoopers. Every local hooping community started with one or two people and one of the best ways to make new hoop friends is hooping in the park. Try taking your hoop and a few spares to your local park. Be visible and accessible to those who wander by. Yes, it’s scary at first. Sure, you might be worried that “people will be looking at me” or “what if so and so sees me?” What you may not realize, however, is just how many people will stop to ask you about it, especially if there are two of you. Bonus Tip: When someone is in fact looking at you simply roll them a hoop and give them the opportunity to try it. Believe it or not some of these people may end up becoming valued and treasured hoop friends. You really never know. Need more tips? Read Creating Hooping Community Where You Live.
4. Then Get Even More Clever About It. There are many other ways to get even more clever about it. I present you with Volunteering For Charity, for example, with your own secret agenda. If you make your own hoops or care to learn how, a great way of introducing people to hooping for the first time is to offer to take hoops for others to use at local charity events or fairs. Once someone has hooped for first time and gotten a serious case of new hooper smile, that’s all it takes. Think outside the box. Where can you take hoops in your area to help you build your local community? Others are waiting for you now.
No matter how shy you are, it’s impossible to fade into the background carrying a hoop – so you might as well hold your head high, give people a smile and enjoy it. Just think, if no one ever got over that initial fear of hooping where someone might see them, we wouldn’t be seeing all of this hooping going on right here, right now! We wouldn’t even know about it. So resign from the Lonely Hoopers Club and go for it! You’ll be glad you did.
Rachel Conlisk was addicted to hooping from the very start and now spends most of her time thinking about hooping, finding new music for her hoop classes, or spinning it up. A data analyst for a school, she spreads the hoop love on campus daily with a hoop club for kids, and teaches a weekly adult hooping class in Smethwick. You can follow her hoopenings at SpinSonic/a> and take her class in Birmingham, England, UK.