Monday, September 19, 2011

Grappling with Hoops of Steel

Which refers to Polonius' speech, in case you were wondering . . .

Joanna here, talkin g about the history of hoop chasing and the many misconceptions we nourish about this.
Right off, let me explain how chasing or bowling or driving or rolling or trundling a hoop came about.

Bright young lad's father
About seven minutes after the invention of the wheel, some bright young lad standing in the back of the cave noticed you could roll the thing and chase after it.  It probably took a half hour's experimentation to discover you could roll it even better by knocking at it with a short stick.  You could make it go fast or slow, turn, even spin backwards.  A new human activity — part sport, part contest, part art, part meditation — was born. 
It proved amazingly popular.  There's something in the human race that wants to chase a rolling object.  We're like golden labs. 

I want to claim Classical sources for my subject.  And, indeed, the Classical Greeks were great hoop trundlers.  

The rest of the post is at Word Wenches Here.

I'll be giving away an early copy of Black Hawk.  I'm hoping I get my copies before they start selling them in the store.  But, in any case, It's free.


  1. Anonymous7:11 AM

    What an interesting post, Joanna.

    I grew up in the southwest and had a childhood friend who was of the Navajo Nation. Though it isn't 'old-time', my friend's mother made me a traditional Navajo papoose for carrying my doll. It is made just the way they have been being made for generations - with beading, bend wood, cloth and leather. It is just beautiful.

    Thank you for the nice memory on a Monday morning!

  2. This is so absolutely wonderful and touching.

    Part of what traditional toys and games and childhood customs do is connect us to human history. You become part of a tradition stretching backward to the beginnings of humanity.

    Probably one of the first human inventions was exactly such a baby pack for carrying the most precious thing the tribe owned. Before the hoe, before the atlatl, before the travois, before the bow and arrow.

  3. The first - I think the only - time I saw a reference to a hoop and stick was in Bernice Thurman Hunter's That Scatterbrain Booky, about growing up during the Depression. I've always wanted to try playing with one.

  4. I don't think I ever came across hoop rolling in any of the children's books I read.

    And I used to read old ones -- from the 30s and 40s and before. Nancy Drew drove around in her 'roadster' and wore a cloche hat. But no hoops. *g*