Margaret Clark, For The Miami Student

Brian Long, a junior chemistry major, puts hobbies like Netflix and napping to shame when he pulls out a lime green yo-yo and sends it spinning.

He can knot and twist a string into an impressive web in seconds. He sends the flying plastic wheel over his arm, around his shoulder and, in one particularly alarming trick, around his tongue.

Brian decided he wanted to learn to yo-yo after he saw a man performing tricks while on vacation in 2007.

“I started learning with online videos and trick books,” Brian said. “But then, after a few weeks, I just started doing my own.”

It’s important to do original tricks, he said, because competition judges can recognize individual styles and then score on originality.

Since 2010, Brian has been participating in yo-yo competitions and is now ranked second in Indiana and consistently ranked in the top three in Ohio. He has been to the World Competition in Orlando, Florida and has several competitions coming up, including this year’s World’s in Cleveland.

“There’s one trick I used to do at competitions, but it almost knocked my teeth out,” he said, then threw the string in a triangle between both hands, and spun the rest of the string around and around his tongue.

“I’ve been called crazy for doing the tongue thing a few times. One judge didn’t like it because he thought it was too dangerous,” he said.

Though he loves the yo-yo community, Brian doesn’t usually perform for people outside of it.

“It’s sort of like two separate worlds. You have your regular life and your competition life,” he explained.

When asked how he makes such complicated designs in the air, Brian bashfully said, “You kind of tie knots that disappear. I don’t know how to explain it,” as he swung the string under his arm and sent the yo-yo snapping in the air with ease.

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