Tag Archives: hacky sack

The Importance of Music

Playing Hacky Sack to music is what it’s all about, for me.

I love kicking to music. Some of my fondest memories of footbag are kicking to live music at the KC Jazz Festival as a young punk that could go for hours on end, and kicking to live music at the Twilight Festival when it was at the courthouse, especially the year after I was inducted into the Footbag Hall of Fame. Something about having that challenge of the beat, and the heat, of the music… It really is what I kick for.

For my first Springtime Bloom on Speakers Circle, I got this tweet-out:

80yearolddancing

Getting called an 80 year old is hilarious enough alone, but I’m truly touched that this person saw the 80 year old man… DANCING. Never even mentioned the Hacky Sack. And, I’m totally OK with that. Take the Hacky Sack away, and that’s what I’m doing. Now, give me my Hacky Sack back, or I’ll kill you, but… that’s still what I’m doing.

When my camera cratered and left me with just my phone to either play music or record, I was devastated. I went from enjoying my footbag sessions, to full-steam frustration, in just a few days. Trying to record footbag suddenly became an anger trigger. This was NOT good. I had to do something. And finally, after one false start, I got the right cable and another iPod and finally got a completely separate source for music, so I could shoot video while kicking to music.

My average rally length doubled immediately. Tonight, even better. A couple really sweet nearly two-minute rallies. What I might not be doing is focusing on 3-add move strings. That just becomes less important that interacting with the music. Also, during my last 2 sessions at the Rec Center with music, I got more people stopping, watching, giving me thumbs-up. Thank you all for your support!

Ironically, no matter how important the music is for kicking, I’m a total music slob. I’ve had the same playlist to kick to for nearly 20 years now, with just a few random additions. I love listening to music, I love kicking to music, but I’m obviously the garbage disposal equivalent of a music consumer. I think that’s why I especially love live music so much; it’s extra different and fresh and really inspires me. Someone needs to help me curate a new kicking music library. For everyone’s sake, not just mine!

But garbage disposal, whatever… I do love kicking to music. It’s what I’m all about, when it comes to playing footbag.

Special thanks to Jorden Moir for recent encouraging words of self-affirmation.

Thanks for Tuning In!

Welcome to the New Year: 2015 Reconciliation, and 2016 Goals

Yeah, a new year. So… what did I set out to accomplish a year ago, and how did I do?

  1. Be nicer, kinder, and more engaging with black people. I tried, but I don’t really know how I did. I think I did better, but I have no real feedback mechanism. A black Twitter correspondent told me that wasn’t enough, that I had to be courageous and provide real pushback against my white racist compadres.
  2. 72 hours footbag. I completely lost count, but I know I’m way up over 100 hours. SUCCESS! I had a good year. I used footbag as my therapy to recover from chronic ankle problems. That therapy has worked infinitely better than anything the Medical Industrial Complex had to offer me.
  3. 5,000 Km on the bike. Final tally: 8,285 Km. Like footbag, I had a really good year on my bike. SUCCESS! This is farther than I’ve ridden in a single year for at least 12 years, possibly 15.
  4. Bring Reflectingyou.com online. 2nd year in a row FAIL. Still a faceless pipe dream. Dream on…
  5. Get another new job. Again, a major FAIL. I’ve applied for everything I can find that I’m even remotely qualified for. But, I’ve only landed a couple interviews, and only one that to final candidate. That one, I go so close. But, in the end, nothing.  Too old, too specialized a skill set at this point. This has been by far the biggest disappointment for me in 2015.
  6. Complete my blog analysis project. Yeah, just another pipe dream FAIL, thinking I’d do this, or thinking anyone might care if I did.

Realistically, these are the exact results I should expect: The things I love, the things I can do by myself without any significant interaction or reliance on other human beings – i.e. footbag and bicycling – I did really well at. Excellent, in fact. Two of the three great conflicts – Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Nature – I’ve got those, and I know it. The other things I can mostly do on my own, but take a lot of time and work and don’t give me the immediate joy and satisfaction that the bike and the bag do, I just… didn’t get to.

Then, anything that requires significant interaction, cooperation, or any kind of any reliance on another human being – Man vs. Man – almost always ends in dismal, miserable failure for me. The evidence is obvious, I’m just not a team player. Instead, I’m an exceptional individual. I have a lot of “near spectrum disorder” social behaviors, which tend to manifest around food, and dealing with other people. Don’t expect me to apologize or try to conform; I’ve long since come to the conclusion that I’m perfectly fine. It’s the rest of society that has the problem.

This is one of the reasons I like being out in nature so much more than being around other human beings. Other human beings always have some bias, some hidden agenda; that ever-present back-stab somewhere, to someone. In contrast, nature is completely open and honest. It can be brutal, and sometimes even very selective, but… it’s not personal. It’s never personal. Nature never consciously decides to treat one person better or worse than another. Humans do.

So, what do I want to achieve for 2016?

  1. 8,000 Km on the bike. I did it last year. I want to do it again this year. Ironically, it’s a somewhat hollow “victory” to have ended up riding that much last year. Many times, the only reason I’ve ridden my bike is because when I get angry about all the bullshit in my life (almost all job-related), it’s often the only activity I can do that takes enough use of my body to keep me from committing some kinds of destructive or violent act. But, if I have to ride because it’s my anger therapy, I will ride. I will ride a lot. I will ride more than ever. I LOVE TO RIDE MY BIKE! 
  2. 120+ hours of footbag. I’m almost certain I did that much or more last year, and want to be way over 120 again this year. Hacky Sack is my personal well of emotional and spiritual refreshment. Barring injury, I will kick a LOT this year. I bought a winter membership to the Rec center, and I’ve been kicking 3-4 hours a week this winter so far. Prognosis looks good. I LOVE TO PLAY HACKY SACK!
  3. Get a new job. Failure at this last year was by far the biggest disappointment in my life, and continues to be the source of virtually all my unhappiness, anger, sorrow, and likely a lot of the chronic health problems I’m experiencing. I used to love my job, but… I don’t any more. The atmosphere has become poisonous: all negativity, reproach, poor communications, misunderstandings, persistent conflicts and turf wars both internally and externally, way too much chaos and last-minute crises, willful disregard of company policy, and a host of oppressive, unevenly applied, seemingly psychotic reactions and policy implementations, almost all of them either punishment-oriented towards employees, or turf-war conflicts with other business units. I fully admit to being an integral part of the poison at this point; you can’t spend your life swimming in the shit without absorbing it and becoming poisonous yourself. I Just. Want. Out. I’ve gotten lost, and I need help finding my way out. Please? I’ve come to the realization that my current skill set – everything AudioVisual – is a dead-end. There’s exactly one job in this town that needs that skill set, I’ve got that job, and… I don’t want it anymore. Not that I don’t like the work, but having such a unique skill set makes me way too vulnerable to changes in the workplace I have no control over. I’m planning to get as many other more commonly sought networking, database, and server admin tech skill certifications as possible this year, and bring those to the table the next time I can land an interview.
  4. Continue to believe, and state, that Black Lives Matter. Do my best to live up to the challenge laid down by my Twitter correspondent. There’s no set goal here, and little ability to measure effect of effort, but this is important to me.
  5. All the other same crap as last year, but… realize they aren’t really that important, comparatively. Priorities are footbag, bicycling, and job. If I get to anything else, I’ll call it a bonus.

Sorry I can’t be more positive and upbeat. My cycling and footbag are such incredibly joyful, happy, fulfilling things in my life. I plan to focus my time in 2016 doing those things that bring my joy, happiness, and a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. My job, in stark contrast, has become such a disappointing, depressing, demoralizing nightmare. I will continue to work towards, and hope to find, a new, better job.

I’ve got a lot more stuff to blog about soon. In the meantime, thanks for tuning in!

 

The Gospel of Hacky Sack

by Benjamin Kochuyt

The Gospel of Hack

A medley of shouts ring out across the connecting streets of Speaker’s Circle. From a distance, their message is indiscernible. But on closer inspection, the hostility becomes quite clear.

Opposing groups lash out in spurts, competing in a chaotic volley of ideals, both vying for the upper hand, searching for a way to publicly embarrass the other into submission and acceptance. One man stands in front of a group of students, reading from the Bible, randomly choosing passersby to insult. The students who stop join the mob of their peers that are already engaged in attempts to bully the preacher into silence.

One man, however, seems to have a different approach to spreading his message. Standing in his own corner of Speakers Circle, clothed in nothing but worn down sneakers and some small red shorts, his thin limbs flourish with an uncanny grace for someone who is 52 years old.

Derrick Fogle is Columbia’s infamous “Hack Man,” and he prefers to speak with a beanbag rather than words.

Discovery

Fogle has been playing Hacky Sack (also known as footbag) at Speakers Circle for nearly 20 years, which has made him somewhat of an urban legend on the MU campus. Every week, he gathers up his iPod, speaker, camera and hacky sacks for a trip to campus. He plays for as long as he feels like it and then packs up and heads home, simple as that. He doesn’t make the trip so that he can talk, even though its called Speakers Circle. He simply goes there to be seen doing what he loves.

“Hacky Sack cleans my soul,” Fogle siad, “It makes me feel beautiful (…) I want everyone to know they can share that joy.”

He means it, too. Fogle has been promoting the sport since he was 17, when his older brother exposed him to it in the mountains of Colorado. Ever since then, Hacky Sack has shaped Fogle’s life in dramatic ways. Looking back, Fogle said Hacky Sack saved his life.

“I wanted to get good, so I left all that stuff like soft drugs and petty vandalism behind me,” he said. “[Hacky Sack] has been the foundation for my entire skill set and my success.”

Success has been plentiful in Fogle’s life, too. He has two children, a 17-year-old son and a 20-year-old daughter whom he said he loves abundantly. He also has a wife of 29 years and a career working with computers that allowed him to see some of the first PCs and Macs to ever roll off the assembly line. Besides that, Fogle is an avid environmentalist. He loves to bike, and over the course of his life in Columbia, he has biked over 150,000 miles that he would have otherwise driven in a car. Still, he attributes nearly all of his work ethic and success to his career as the “Hack Man.”

Lessons

Fogle spent most of his early career in the Kansas City area, where he began to organize tournaments for other hacky sack players and even started a hacky sack club. Before he had Speakers Circle, he religiously practiced his skills at JC Nichols Fountain in Kansas City. His main focus for the first 14 years of his career was promoting the sport to those who had never been exposed to it and competing in world championships. It was at these international contests that he met one of his fiercest competitors, Scott Davidson, who claims to hold the current world record for the most days consecutively playing footbag. He said he hasn’t missed a day in the last 11-and-a-half years.

“Derrick is one of the rare old-school players who is stull playing,” Davidson said. “His years of running footbag tournaments brought exposure to the sport throughout the Midwest and introduced many players to the sport throughout the years.”

Fogle’s dedication made him one of the top competitors in the world and even got him accepted into the Footbag Hall of Fame in 2005. However, as the sport began to grow, Fogle said he began to see a paradigm shift that put him at odds with the rest of the footbag community.

“It started to only be about the competition,” he said. “We had turned our backs on the base of what the sport was.”

Fogle, who first fell in love with footbag because of its friendly and non-judgmental atmosphere, said that the sport went through a long phase where that atmosphere began dying.

“It was killing the sport,” he said. “I wanted to get back to my roots (…) so I decided to stop competing.”

Because of that decision, Fogle said he fell out of favor with many of his longtime friends who disagreed on how to advance the sport. But, he was unmoving in his philosophy. He said he knew hacky sack was a sport rooted in pushing boundaries and coming together, not avoiding mistakes and chasing conformity.

Full Circle

Now, Fogle’s focus is completely centered on spreading the lessons he has learned from Hacky Sack to those who will listen. One such person is Lance Doughman, a senior at MU who likes to join Fogle at Speakers Circle. He pointed to the Hack Man as a huge reason why he still plays Hacky Sack.

“[If I hadn’t met Derrick] I probably wouldn’t have played on a regular basis at all.”

The Hack Man sees himself as an antithesis to the “hate preachers” who regularly advocate for their religious beliefs at Speakers Circle.

“It doesn’t matter what you find salvation in,” Fogle said. “Everyone finds it differently. But I found mine in Hacky Sack. I just want people to see that if you work hard enough and you really sink yourself into something, you can succeed. Everyone can have this joy.”

Fogle said he wants to continue spreading the gospel of hack for as long as his body will let him – not with his words, but with his quiet meticulousness and flowing grace. So next time you see him, take a minute to watch him tell you all the things he doesn’t need to say.

Blog Reboot v3 Complete!

The Blog Has Been Restored. I repeat, the Blog has been Restored.

Yeah don’t expect a lot of peeps to care much but here it is back in action a place for me to publish my own stuff about my footbag adventures, bicycling, etc. Rebooted, with almost all archives and everything restored, so it’s all here except maybe some links to some pictures or video, and one lonely post that really got lost. Still working on old blog link QC.

Next up, another great class project article about the Hack Man!

Thanks for tuning in!