You’re larger now than you were when you were 8.

It’s true. It’s time someone just came out and said it. But the growing is good, for the most part.

Your increased size means you’re less likely to be lost in a crowd or fall into a small backyard well. And you tower over the neighborhood’s current 8-year-olds who sometimes like to bury each other’s backpacks in your yard.

But growing also means that some things need to change: The twin mattress in the race car bed frame gets upgraded to a king, the Care Bear nightlight gets upgraded to complete darkness that only mildly still creeps you out. And you’ll need to upgrade the size the of your hula hoop.

Sure, it might be confidence building at first to step into that old pink-and-white ring of your youth, lift it waist high and exclaim, “Look! It still fits!” For a full minute, you may even marvel at your sweet childhood memories — and how it seems like just yesterday that you hula hooped while walking the entire length of your street. (A neighborhood record, even beating Carol, who was always beating you at everything and who was always sort of a snot about it).

In a haze of renewed hooping hubris, you’ll send that hula hoop orbiting around your midsection. And the hoop will rotate once, screech to a panicked halt, collapse down your legs and end up lying motionless and frightened at your feet.

That wasn’t how either of you remembered it.

Hula hoops, it turns out, are not a one-size-fits-all piece of playground equipment. And adults who try to relive the hip-swinging bliss with a hoop from their youth might wrongfully conclude they just don’t “got it” anymore.

But they’d be wrong, according to Dawn Gee, an avid hooper and organizer of Maine Hoop Day, which happens on Saturday.

“Everybody can do it,” she said.

They might just need a grown-up-sized hoop. And during Maine Hoop Day, Gee and hooping instructors from around the state will be happy to prove it.

Taking place at Thomas Point Beach from 10 a.m. to sunset, the first Maine Hoop Day will showcase hooping techniques and instructors with a range of workshops.

Gee wanted to bring area hoopers together — both experienced hoopers looking to broaden their skills and novices wanting to give it another whirl after decades of hooplessness. And she welcomes the self-described clumsy and less-than-coordinated.

“Grace is not my middle name,” said Gee. “If I can do it, honestly, anyone can. I’ve shown people of all ages how to do it.”

The daylong event will showcase teachers from around Maine who do divergent things with a hula hoop, from choreography to calorie burning.

Instructor Christine MacDonald teaches Turbo Hooping as exercise. Amelio Bedelio teaches hand tosses. And Maria Randolph focuses on waist-hooping movement and flow. There are also sessions on sustained spinning, isometrics and stalls.

The “Hooping to Heal” workshop will explore the health benefits of hooping (psst, hula hooping can be a workout), and there will also be an open tent where hoopers can show off their skills — and maybe put their 8-year-old selves to shame.

“There’s no right way or wrong way to hoop. It’s very individual,” said Gee. And Maine Hoop Day is an ideal time to explore your hooping potential.

The $15 admission includes a day of workshops, hoop-centric events and live music. Attendees can bring their own hoop if they have one, and hoop makers will also be on hand selling their circular wares.

The pride in reclaiming your hooping prowess is free of charge.

“To show someone how to do something that makes them happy is such a great feeling,” said Gee. “It’s a sport. It’s an art.”

And as the day comes to a close, some hula hoops will become rings of fire during the sunset LED/fire jam, where experts will hula with lights and flame.

“Folks are invited to just jam out and practice what they’ve learned,” said Gee.

And they can look down at the swirling hoop on their hips and say, “Yep, I’ve still got it.”

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 791-6333 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: mainetoday


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