I’ve been hooping long enough now that I am certain I am devoted, committed, and want to spend the rest of my life hooping. I’ve taken the plunge, tied the knot, and said “I do.” I’m married to hooping and just as with a real marriage, it has its ups and downs, its good days and bad. Veteran hoopers will surely understand what I’m about to describe. New hoopers, you may see yourself in one of the following stages of your hooping relationship.
When I was first introduced to hooping, it was at a music festival about five years ago. My “boyfriend” at the time was photography, so I was toting around my trusty camera snapping away at all the costumes, characters, creatures, and scenery. Then, right in front of the main stage, I saw her. A beautiful girl with one long peacock feather tied in her flowing brown hair, dancing with a hoop. She was twirling and spinning and doing tricks I’d never seen before, all the while with a smile on her face. Immediately I began snapping pictures. She was absolutely stunning subject material. She looked so happy and graceful and free. Then I found myself putting my camera down and just watching her, probably with my mouth wide open in awe. She was captivating. My thoughts went from “I want to photograph her” to “I want to watch her” to “I want to BE her!” I suppose you could call this stage one: The Introduction.
It wasn’t long after that festival I broke things off with photography and bought my first hoop. I spent the first little bit just flirting with it. I would have fun, we’d play occasionally, but I didn’t get too serious. I practiced keeping the hoop going around my waist, sometimes trying some spins and turns, but nothing earth-shattering. I was, after all, just having fun. This was stage two: Flirting.
I realized after some of time, however, that if I wanted to really get something out of hooping, I was going to have to get more serious. It would require practice, devotion, and determination. I decided I was up for the challenge. I started practicing more difficult tricks, watching hooping videos on YouTube (back then, there weren’t quite as many as there are now!), and learning about successful hoopers. I spent more and more time doing these things. I found myself becoming consumed by a hooping world I didn’t even know previously existed. Before long, I was swept away into stage three: Infatuation!
Infatuation is by far the most exciting stage! I couldn’t get enough of my hoop, practicing sometimes two or three hours at a time. I took my hoops everywhere I went, always ready to hoop at the drop of a hat. Even when I wasn’t hooping, I was THINKING about hooping! For example, while listening to a song in my car, I would be picturing myself hoop dancing to it. I would think to myself, “Now is when I would do this trick, and now I would do that move, ooh yeah, that would look really good!” When talking to others I would describe myself as passionate, fascinated, and totally obsessed with hooping. And it was the truth! I was consumed by hooping, mind, body, and soul.
What’s so exciting about the infatuation stage is that, for a while, it just seems to get more and more intense. When you see a new trick that blows your mind, it’s a vigorous desire, a lust. You will master it. And that feeling you get when you finally nail that move you’ve been coveting and practicing is most supreme. It only strengthens the bond between you and your hoop. The more you practice, the better you get, the more confidence you have, and, consequently, the more fuel you have to keep going! I felt unstoppable. Me and my hoop, we were something special. There were times during this stage I think my actual husband felt a little neglected!
Then, I moved on from the infatuation stage. Not by choice, really, but over time, just as with a human relationship, things change, feelings evolve. Of course, I’m still madly in love with hooping, but I don’t feel the need to hoop everyday, nor do I spend every waking moment thinking about it. I go through spells where I might feel like I’m in a rut, or get stuck just performing the same movements over and over. Marriages can be like that. We can all fall too deeply into our routine if we’re not careful.
That’s why I make it a point to keep things from getting stagnant. I spend a night here and there, “date nights” if you will, perusing hooping.org and YouTube for new moves and styles that might add some spice to my relationship. I spend time thinking of ways to create new energy and new types of hoops. Fortunately, with the hoop community being as wonderful and creative as it is, there is no lack of inspiration out there!
Hooping and I lasted through the blindingly wonderful infatuation stage and emerged more in love than ever before, but it’s a deeper warmth, a connection that isn’t going anywhere. My feelings have evolved past pure, lustful obsession into appreciation, gratitude and happiness, in short: true love! So when hooping popped the question, I said yes, and I am thoroughly and happily secured in stage four: Marriage. It’s been an amazing hooping journey so far, and I’m still very excited to discover what stages I haven’t even made it to yet. But one thing’s for sure for, it’s me and my hoop…’til death do us part!
Katie Sunshine of Katie Sunshine Hoops has spun up more of YouTube’s most watched hooping videos than anyone else with millions of views and spun her hooping passion into a way of life. She lives in Conway, Arkansas, USA.