A teenager in my Cornelius neighborhood has a talent I thought had died out in the early 1960s. Matt Kenyon, age 17, is an avid Hula Hooper, so much so that he has even broken a camp record. Matt explained how his talents developed.
In the summer of 2007, Matt attended Philmont Boy Scout camp in New Mexico. Part of the camp program was an 80-mile hike that took several days. The Boy Scouts had to carry backpacks with all their supplies during the hike.
Each night, the boys stayed at a different campsite. On the 10th day, the campsite had activities for the guys.
One activity was a climbing wall, and whoever made it to the top won a box of donuts. No one was able to make it to the top.
Another activity was to Hula Hoop with a big, black PVC pipe filled with sand. If you broke the camp record of Hula Hooping for more than 35 minutes, you also won a prize. Matt assumed the prize would be the box of donuts, so since no one was Hula Hooping, he thought he'd try.
Matt took the hoop off the wall and lasted about 10 minutes before failing. He became determined to break the camp record.
On his second try, Matt Hula Hooped for so long and it got so late that all the hikers went to their campsites, leaving only him and his timer behind. Matt said he was “stupid” and decided to try Hula Hooping blindfolded, and “lost it” after hooping for 54 minutes, 39 seconds.
Matt went to collect his prize, and all he got was a warm pudding cup, without even a spoon to eat it with.
Matt said the best part of the experience was that he got to write his name and record time on the eaves of the cabin. The worst part was that the Hula Hoop was so heavy and he had hooped for so long that he had black and blue bruises around his waist for the rest of the trip.
Matt has tried to teach a few people how to Hula Hoop and said that using the lightweight hoops sold in most discount stores makes the hooping harder. He recommends a heavier-weight hoop to start but warns that it will make you all bruised. After hearing this, I understand why Hula Hooping is a talent that should be left to the young people.
The Cornelius Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Department offers lots of programs at the recreation centers at Bailey Road and J.V. Washam. Sports programs available include badminton, adult and senior basketball and volleyball. If you are a young musician, attend a session of the Cornelius Youth Orchestra as a guest. Teens can join the Lake Norman Teen Council to help plan teen activities in our area.
Cornelius and Davidson have also begun registration for the 12th season of youth basketball. The program is open to boys and girls ages 5 to 17. Register until Oct. 31 at www.corneliuspr.org or at the Cornelius Town Hall or Davidson Parks & Recreation office.
Skills assessment days will be Nov. 12-17, with practices and games starting in December.
The program still needs coaches, timers, scorekeepers and team sponsors. Please volunteer if you can.
For more information on the recreation programs in our towns, in Cornelius go to www.corneliuspr.org or call 704-892-6031, ext. 160, or in Davidson go to www.ci.davidson.nc.us or call 704-892-3349.