Hoops in the wild - in the park!


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I love parks. I love people coming together and sharing a huge space in an urban centre. I love watching puppies tumble and toddlers waddle.  I love watching people as they pass to give me a sense of who lives in my neighborhood, and to wonder about what their lives are like outside the park. When we hoop we use public space for an activity that's healthy, full of variety, cheap, and overflowing with wiggles and smiles. I began hooping at the start of summer and one of the ways it hooked me was that it helped me spend time more in parks.  Before, I didn't have a reason to use them - I prefer to read my books with blankets, and can't sit still long enough to tan or to get in quality blanket-picnic time.  Enter the hoop! That first summer was spent in my neighbourhood parks, embracing the sun and breeze and occasional rain storm. When friends came along with a blanket, I could spend some time talking and get up to hoop when I felt wiggly or introverted. When I'm out in the sunshine, headphones around my head, and hoop around my body, I'm taking up space in the park, but I'm also adding something - I'm using the park!  We need to continue to appreciate and occupy our green spaces, because that's what shows the surrounding area that these spaces have value. Use 'em or lose 'em!! I traveled to NYC a few years back and was happily surprised by how much they use their green spaces.  Who would want to sit on that grassy triangle in the middle of a busy intersection? Apparently, that old man! And what about that concrete expanse lined with flowers? Two hundred hipsters!  When I came back to TO I noticied how many green spaces we have, and how much more we could use them. I was thinking yesterday about how many have joined this joyful hoop revolution not because they were looking for exercise or flashy tricks but because they were in a public park and invited in to a public jam.  How cool is that? Imagine walking thru a park, seeing people doing something unbelievable, laughing, and joining the pack.  That's community! Being present, creating a welcoming space and stepping up to new experiences. When we hoop in the park we have a positive effect on the space! We are using the space and appreciating the park, and by being there, being ridiculous, we make it easier for others to be a little more unusual! Hoopers - keep on taking up space!   Important side note - Dufferin Grove, home of 2011 west-side hoop jam, keeps having it's funding cut again and again by the city. This park is one of the most community-oriented in the city, with a farmer's market, pay-what-you-can supper every friday, festival/parades Day of Delight and Night of Dread.  Because it's well maintained, yoga teachers, circus folk, and many more can enjoy it's shady spots and bonfire pits.  There is a sleepover tonight in protest of these cuts - stop by if you're in the neighbourhood!

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