They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Malarkey. This old dog learned a new trick not long ago and I'm loving it. A couple of years ago I trained for a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. And shortly into the process I found a hula-hoop that my brother-in-law had left in our basement - hmmm. I picked it up. It was heavier and a bit larger than the ones of my childhood. I started hooping with it. It was easier. I love to dance so soon I was hooping to some rather loud and energetic music.
I had seen flaming hoops at Burning Man and was quite intrigued. So I bought one and began using a flaming hula-hoop. Then I discovered LED hoops. These were fantastic -- very flashy and not a fire hazard! I now have about eight hula hoops of different varieties. Fortunately for me there are some that break apart and so I can pack them easily for my travels.
I take my hoop everywhere. I have introduced hooping to the Batwa people of Uganda -- also known as pygmies. I hooped at Murchison Falls along the Blue Nile, with the Maasia in the bottom of the Ngorongoro Crater. I hooped with Buddhist monks in the kingdom of Bhutan and in front of Graceland in Memphis. Hula hooping brings smiles to everyone's faces especially when an older guy like me is doing it. And it is a great way to stay in shape.
When it came time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro I took my hula-hoop. This past February I hooped on the roof of Africa at 19,340 feet. I checked with the Guinness Book of Records and no one has officially hooped that high. Even the 20-somethings who make up the bulk of hoopers are impressed with that one.
Hoops can be inexpensive and last a lifetime. As instruments of fun and pleasure they have an infectious, universal quality. I can testify to the joy on the faces of children and adults who hula hoop. This Sunday, believe it or not, is World Hoop Day. There are about 200+ events occurring throughout the world including a big one in San Francisco. Hula hoop for health and for fun -- it is never too late to learn something new. Believe me.