I’ve had a number of hobbies throughout my life. I’m not talking about the occasional puzzle over the Christmas holiday. I mean things you stay with simply for enjoyment or personal growth, our diversions from normal workaday tasks.
I’m pretty transient in my interests. As a kid, I loved building models. My lack of patience and desire to see the completed product often led to a less than desirable example of skill. One I stuck to the longest was when I was a runner. Four times a week I’d pound the sidewalks around my neighborhood, generally logging 15 miles a week. While I loved the outdoors on nice days, I jokingly noted my biggest discovery was that the vaunted “runner’s high” was a myth. The only high I got was when I finished. These days, my primary interest is a good book.
I recently read an article about a change in hobbies since COVID. You know. With all the extra time beginning when things were shut down. When I saw the article’s headline, I expected to see card playing, dominoes, painting, gardening and the like.
This particular survey was conducted in Seattle and said pickleball — reportedly the official sport in the state of Washington — had seen the greatest amount of growth, up 275 percent from 2019-2022. Now percentages can be misleading. If I jog 100 yards today (good luck with that) and 400 tomorrow, it’s a 300 percent increase. But pickleball, I can see. Number two on the list was ax throwing, which I’ve always thought of as kind of a fad and something that wouldn’t last.
Fitness, photography and art classes made the list, but so did cheese tasting, pole dancing and Muay Thai, which looks to be a form of kickboxing. Also making the list at number four was glass-blowing. Now that’s something I’d really like to try. I’ve been fascinated for years by the art of Dale Chihuly and his blend of swirling color and shape in his artistic creations.
But number three had me opening a new browser window to find out what “zorbing” is. Look it up if you wish, but it’s basically placing yourself inside a giant hamster ball and zipping around at speeds up to 25 mph, presumably downhill. They describe the orb as a ball inside a ball, with two feet of dead air space between the two to keep “zorbonauts” from feeling the impact as they bound and bump down the course.
In some cases, you’re strapped inside the conveyance. In others you’re free to bounce around inside, possibly into other riders. My research indicates the orbs can contain as many as three persons.
It’s no different, I suppose, than people in the 1800s who thought it would be fun to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Personally, I prefer hobbies that include less adrenaline and more personal growth. I’m clumsy enough in real life. I need a hobby in which the greatest chance of injury is a paper cut.
David Stringer is the publisher of The Lawton Constitution, a past-president of the Oklahoma Press Association and a media professional for over 40 years, more than half of that in Oklahoma. He can be reached at email@example.com.