Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Tricky" Semantics

SuperHooper.org's Lara Eastburn
Browsing SuperHooper Lara Eastburn's treasure trove of intelligently written hoop articles I came across an essay on the word 'trick' as it relates to hooping. She made an excellent point as to the importance of language framing the way we think and feel about what we are doing. That's an important perspective when you see the dictionary definitions of "trick" as she relates: 

"a crafty or underhanded device, maneuver, stratagem, intended to deceive or cheat; artifice; ruse; wile.an optical illusion: 
It must have been some visual trick caused by the flickering candlelight.

a roguish or mischievous act; practical joke; prank: She likes to play tricks on her friends.
a mean, foolish, or childish actionInformal. a child or young girl: a pretty little trick.
Slang. a prostitute's customer. b. a sexual act between a prostitute and a customer."

Not exactly what I want to be involved in. Of course, when you tell folks about 'hoop tricks' they do understand the difference between the dictionary definition and your actual meaning. However, hooping is in a gray area. Is it a sport? Hobby? Dance? Art? Circus Act? With such disparity of perspective from the general population and hoopers alike, semantics are more important than ever. Namely because condescension is easily doled out by "non believers." 

"Hey, thanks for asking about my little tricks.
Have this sticker!"
"Tricks" seem (by definition) childish. Most hoopers, I would think, would not classify their hobby as such. As someone who has been asked how my "little hula hoop tricks" are going I thought Lara's idea of replacing "trick" with "movement" was a great one.

Is the word "trick" something over which I will lose sleep? No. But it was an excellent point. It made me remember the power I have over perception, simply by how I phrase something. 

If you are not familiar with Lara's Hooposphy I highly suggest you give it a gander - that lady knows what she is talking about!

2 comments:

Sean said...

I agree that the term "trick" can be misleading, both to others and for yourself. Almost every hooper reaches a plateau where seemingly there are no more "tricks". All you have then is your style, grace and passion. The sooner any hooper learns this the better.

KymSpins said...

As soon as I discovered this ^ my hooping became so much more enjoyable. Well said!