For Dale Myerberg, the graffiti greeting “Yo, man, Yo” gets tweaked to “Yo-yo man.”
Dale is a yo-yo master. The simple spool and string invention has enabled this SLC native to perform shows around the world. But most importantly, Dale says the yoyo has provided the means to achieve his life’s ambition. “I always wanted to be a kid when I grew up,” he says.
A recent performance at the Millcreek Public Library saw Dale delight an audience of children and their yo-yo mas with an array of tricks that usually ended with him landing a yo-yo in his pocket. Myerberg performs nearly 40 shows a year, including Snowbird’s Oktoberfest. Kids naturally are fascinated by yo-yos and Myerberg encourages them to develop their hand-eye coordination through practice, persistence and patience. “Learn one trick at a time and keep on learning,” he says.
Yo-yo history goes back thousands of years to the Greeks and Chinese. The name derives from Filipino origin and means “come back.” Natives there used it both as a weapon and a hunting tool. The entrepreneur Donald Duncan came across the toy in 1929, and soon thousands of school kids were playing with their Duncan Yo-Yos.
Dale was introduced to the yo-yo at age five by his brother. During Dale’s childhood, Duncan sent yo-yo pros around the country to conduct workshops and demonstrations. When he was 14, Dale was hired at one dollar an hour to help Duncan perform shows in Utah. The yo-yo helped Dale through life’s ups and downs, and in 1996 he won the yo-yo world championship. He was inducted into the Yo-yo Hall of Fame in 2005.
Dale gets his yo-yos to dance through smooth, graceful movements instead of erratic jerks. He says the way the string attaches to the center spool is critical. A single loop allows the yo-yo to “sleep” and thus perform such classic tricks as “walking the dog.”
Now in his 70s, Dale laughs and says, “I’m still going strong and at the top of my game. I absolutely love what I am doing.” With that viewpoint, earning a living can hardly be considered work.
You can see Dale in action on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=POgy3b8yH5c