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A2Z’s yo-yo team heading to Iceland to compete in world contest

  • Miles Lance, 14, of Williamsburg practices a yo-yo trick at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Sunday, July 31, 2017. The Hampshire Regional freshman will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional freshman Miles Lance of Williamsburg will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hampshire Regional freshman Miles Lance of Williamsburg will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Miles Lance, 14, of Williamsburg practices a yo-yo trick at Pulaski Park in Northampton, July 31. The Hampshire Regional freshman will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest, Aug. 10-12. GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Miles Lance, 14, of Williamsburg practices a yo-yo trick at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Sunday, July 31, 2017. The Hampshire Regional freshman will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Miles Lance, 14, of Williamsburg practices a yo-yo trick at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Sunday, July 31, 2017. The Hampshire Regional freshman will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING

  • Miles Lance, 14, of Williamsburg practices a yo-yo trick at Pulaski Park in Northampton on Sunday, July 31, 2017. The Hampshire Regional freshman will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland, to compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest August 10-12. —GAZETTE STAFF / KEVIN GUTTING



@LaurelDemkovich
Sunday, August 06, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — Miles Lance, 14, owns as many as 50 yo-yos. His favorite: a lime green Duncan Grasshopper. It’s stable and it’s quick, he said. It’s everything you look for in a yo-yo.

Lance, of Williamsburg, has been competitively yo-yoing for about three years. Next week, he and his family, along with six other yo-yoers and their families, will travel to Reykjavik, Iceland, so the group can compete in the 2017 World Yo-Yo Contest on Aug. 10.

Clothed in a yoyoexpert.com T-shirt, sitting at Pulaski Park on Sunday, Lance said he’s excited to go. He enjoys the competition. What he loves most about yo-yoing, though, are the skills he’s gained and the community he’s joined.

One of the most important skills is determination. It’s a trait every yo-yoer has to have to be successful, he said.

“You have to do it a lot,” Miles added. “You don’t need a lot of skills starting off, but you need to practice hard.”

At first, he didn’t.

Lance started yo-yoing about four years ago, taking classes at the A2Z Science and Learning Store in Northampton.

Eventually, he gave up.

But a few months after he put down his yo-yo, Lance started watching videos on yoyoexpert.com. He decided to give it another try.

“I realized there were a lot of competitive aspects to it and you could do a lot with it,” Lance said.

Now, he practices two or three hours a day and competes every few months. His favorite part is creating tricks and routines that no one else has done before.

He’s hoping to perform some of them in Iceland.

The world championship consists of four rounds: a wildcard round, a preliminary round, a semifinal round and a final round. Every registered contestant performs a 30-second routine in the wildcard round to decide who moves on to the preliminary round.

About 200 registered contestants will compete in eight divisions, depending on the type and number of yo-yos being used. Lance will compete in the 1A division, using one long spinning yo-yo to perform tricks usually involving the string.

He’ll be competing as part of A2Z's yo-yo team, with other members from Northampton, Westfield, Belchertown and Worcester. Western Massachusetts has one of the largest yo-yo communities in the world, Lance said.

Other yo-yoers from the area are Eric Koloski, Tylor McCallumore, Remy Baskin, Eli Smith, Micah Wingell and Aidan Cioch.

The team practices together, does demonstrations throughout the Pioneer Valley and teaches yo-yo at the A2Z store. However, when it comes to competitions, the teammates all compete separately.

Yo-yoing also gives members of the team opportunities they would not have had otherwise, Lance said. They get the chance to perform throughout the area with fellow yo-yoers. They travel and compete across the world. They even help teach with after-school programs.

Baskin, 14, of Northampton, has been teaching classes at the A2Z store for about four months.

“Some people I’ve taught are now on the team,” Baskin said. “It’s cool to see their progression.”

Lance’s goal, he said, is to make it to the preliminary round. If he does, he will perform a routine to the song “Boundless” by Aero Chord, a song he chose because of its sharp music cues.

His mother, Ellen Doyle, said she hopes her son is happy with his performance, regardless of how far he gets.

“Even if he gets a knot in his string 30 seconds in, it’s still an amazing experience to get to practice with everyone involved,” she said.

Because of yo-yoing, Miles has met friends of all ages from all different parts of the world. They connect on social media and share videos of themselves freestyling and doing tricks.

“Everyone is super friendly,” Lance said. “I’m excited to go to the championships and meet up with people I haven’t seen in a while.”

Cioch, 16, from Westfield, started yo-yoing at age 13. He said he likes being able to travel and compete while also making close friends.

“When you go to contests, you meet people who you’ve seen videos of online,” Cioch said. “You start talking to them and it feels like you’ve known them forever. You just have a lot in common.”

Yo-yoing also offers Lance numerous opportunities for his future, Doyle said. Some people have opened up their own yo-yo companies. Some design yo-yos, and some judge competitions across the world. Others just yo-yo for fun. While Lance isn’t sure what direction he wants to go in, he does know that yo-yoing will be in his future.

For his parents, the sense of community is what really makes yo-yoing so special. Lance’s father, Jim Lance, said his favorite part of a contest is watching Miles interact with all of the other competitors.

“He now has this big community of friends and mentors,” Doyle said. “He has friends from all over the world.”