October 9th, 2005
|howwebullshit||03:53 pm - Interview by Ken Somolinos|
His eye watches over us benevolently from the upper left hand corner of the modified screen; a friendly, calming presence on our journey through the forums. His is the face of Modified.ca, both literally and figuratively. His name is Tom Mosher. You probably have read his blog. You may have kicked with one of his bags. You may even have had your bicycle broken by the famed Canadian. But how well do you really know him? I recently asked myself this question, and decided the answer was: "not as well as I`d like." To remedy the situation, I caught up with Tom last week and hit him with a few questions. Here`s the transcript of the conversation:
Ken: Hi Tom. Let`s start at the beginning: How did you get into footbag?
Tom Mosher: There was this hacky sack legend dude in my camp when I was tree planting up north and he could do strings of stalls and zoid legovers and stuff and it blew my mind to tiny little bits. I took up stitching right away and made a 2 panel leather sand filled hack and right away started drilling my stalls with another planter friend of mine who was also enthused with hacky sack. We would have drilling sessions often after planting and this was all months before I ever heard the word footbag. I came back from treeplanting and looked up hacky sack tricks on google, like so many others have done, and from there I was changed forever. It took me a few months to finally decide to go hell bent at footbag but at christmas I got lavers from Santa and that sealed the deal.
Ken: Like many footbaggers, you used to be a skateboarder. How would you compare the two cultures?
Tom Mosher: The two cultures share similarities in that those involved respect and recognize that hard work had to have been put in to reach where they are however since skateboarding has reached such massive levels of popularity they no longer have the close-knit feel that we currently enjoy. Because of this two skateboarders passing on the street don't think much however if one shredder spots another it's reason to throw your hands in the air and celebrate! It's not like you can just send an e-mail to Tony Hawk and ask if it's cool to crash on his couch for a night or two while you are in town, however precisely that same thing happens in the footbag community everyday.
Ken: You are famous for radically modifying your shoes. Did you modify your lavers as much as you do your climas? Do you regret any of the modifications you have done?
Tom Mosher: I haven't done any mods that I regret, however the 'silver marker mod' didn't do much but stink. I did all the standard laver mods and removed basically all I could, after the walls were off and the broka was cut I took the time to stitch everything back together so it looked pretty.
Ken: Do you find the broka mod makes a difference?
Tom Mosher: I think it's efficacy is largely determined by the individual players ankle dimensions, some players need it however for some it makes no difference. I find that without it I am very restricted... however this makes sense considering the broka mod effectively removes the ankle support and 'ankle support' is synonymous with 'crank prevention'
Ken: Does Worlds need a novice division?
Tom Mosher: No.. I think the hazy grey area between Intermediate and Open is ambiguous enough as is and already causes enough problems. When I signed up to compete Intermediate at Euros I got hassled by some people who claimed I was sandbagging and that really killed any trace of fun for me so I dropped out of the competition.. I really wish they would have just respected my decision. I wouldn`t want something similar to happen to a new player to the sport if it would end up discouraging them in the long run.
Ken: Before Worlds, you stated that you hoped to win intermediate routines. How did you feel about your performance at Worlds?
Tom Mosher: That was a pretty crushing experience for me to be honest.. I chose not to talk about it in my blog because I didn't want to be a downer. I didn't prepare nearly enough and that led to me not living up to the potential I felt I had within me. Did I let myself down? maybe.. I feel like I let everyone else down for not giving it my all. It was rather terrifying putting myself up on stage in front of so many people that I respect so much only to have them watch me go through the most embarrasing minute and a half of my life - twice! There was basically nothing I enjoyed about that experience other than I can now say I competed at the World Championships of * something *
Ken: Do you think you will compete at worlds next year, or the next year you attend? Has last year`s experience turned you off from competing, or stoked your fire?
Tom Mosher: I`ve asked myself that lots.. It depends... I will not approach it like I did this year, if I choose to compete I intend on going hell balls ass at it and put together something real slick and entertaining that I can lay down with confidence. Also, I will be competing Open at the next World's so I can't just half-ass it. I am torn... hey, doesn't torn look just like tom?? neet
Ken: Indeed. You mentioned not writing about the experience in your blog because you didn`t want it to be "a downer." Your blog is the most read blog on modified... how conscious are you of your readers when you post? Do you feel like you can`t post as personally as you used to, or as others do, because you know so many people will read what you write?
Tom Mosher: I used to not think at all about who was reading it because it didn't seem to matter. I got involved in a relationship and stuff I had written in my blog came back to haunt me and had a real negative effect on our relations. I have been very reserved about what I write in it now because I don't want to upset a few specific sensitive readers... that being said.. I am getting tired of holding back all the insane shit that's been going on in my life lately, I need to get it out of me ASAP. It was odd meeting people in Europe for the first time and then hearing from them that they'd read my whole blog and hence knew ALOT about me whereas I knew nothing of them.. I guess I was okay with it since I should have expected that would happen.. but it was still strange.
Ken: Next question, bit of a softball but: What has been the most triumphant/happiest/satisfying moment of your 2 years with footbag so far?
Tom Mosher: Wow.. that one is actually really tough to field.. I think seeing the elation in the eyes of all the people I`ve helped to learn footbag has been the best part for me, I love sharing this amazing gift with people. It's been fantastically rewarding building my club and helping everyone develop. I feel effing greatful to have found footbag, it's changed me forever in a bounty of positive ways, I can't help but want to spread this pure simple natural human joy with others.
Ken: Fucking hippie. OK, keep your stories of groupies and quint dexes to yourself. On the flip of the last question, and you knew this was coming: what has been the most frustrating/hardest part of your footbag story to date?
Tom Mosher: That one is easy: recovering from injury. I think the single most upsetting moment of my footbag career was one week before Worlds 2004 when I twisted my ankle very badly. I was devastated... I couldn't believe that after all my months of hard work and intense dedication I would go and ruin everything in one disgusting crunching cracking moment. And as we all know, as soon as one side is damaged it is forced to fall behind which instigates my biggest enemy in footbag - one sidedness!
Ken: Any advice on recovering from injury?
Tom Mosher: Take it seriously. Rushing it NEVER works.
Ken: You have thrown a few jams in the last year, notably GLASS, the Erik Chan Birthday jam, and the upcoming KickASS. If you could go back in time to the day when you first thought about throwing a jam, what would you tell yourself?
Tom Mosher: Are you asking me what I would tell myself as advice for throwing a good jam?
Ken: Well, its assumed you`d tell yourself winning lotto numbers, etc. So yeah, pretty much anything you`d tell somebody who is considering throwing a jam, who has no experience organizing.
Tom Mosher: 1) make a pretty logo, 2) tell people it will be alot of fun, 3) hype hype hype! (if it is just a jam and not a tourny you can leave out step 1) it's seriously this easy. Of course you have to pick a suitable place to play, but so many different places can suit that need. And then they come in droves
Ken: What would you have done differently at the first jam you ran?
Tom Mosher: Organized it in the town I lived in. It was a frigging pain in the ass trying to throw GLASS in a town three hours from where I live. We pulled it off but I had to do some serious people juggling. KICKASS is going much more smoothly because I get to sink my tallons into every little detail and make sure it all gets done right.
Ken: What is your favorite footbag event to compete in? Favorite event to watch?
Tom Mosher: It's not an event but I love the game where you do a trick then the next person has to do that trick plus one more and you keep going around the circle adding tricks until nobody can hit the string anymore. The rule I always impose on that game is that each time you get the bag you have to start from the other side. I love watching sick 3 when people actually hit stuff. Oh yeah, and sick 1 can be insane when it works out. When James McCulossdjf from Montreal slammed out Crossfire (atomic gs whirl) at TOFU jam it was incredible, the whole place errupted.
Ken: What is your opinion on self serving?
Tom Mosher: It has a place.. but anyone choosing to use it needs to have a firm grasp on tact. There are MANY instances where it is totally inappropriate, however I think logic is the best guideline. When I am with any new player I *always* serve to them and if I see that they are taking alot of self-serves I politely inform them that it is generally considered kosher to pass the bag to others.
Ken: What do you think about the presence of secret forums on modified?
Tom Mosher: Bad bad bad alll bad. Closing doors to people and drawing lines in the sand never helps build a community. It is disrespectful to those not invited and they (secret forums) really have no place in our community. We are too small of a group to be forming 'cool kid cliques' for any reason, period.
That being said, there is still a place for an all-girls forum, it just doesnt have to be a secret.
Ken: Do you think BAP has a positive influence on the sport now (2005)?
Tom Mosher: It depends on one`s idea of a positive influence... it definitely doesn't have the SAME influence it once did however it certainly gives something for motivated shredders to shoot for and on their quest they often achieve amazing things they never thought possible. Also, as people shoot to reach that level thet wind up pushing the level of the sport to crazy heights, the level of play that is considered standard is constantly getting more and more absurd. So yes, I think it does have a positive effect on the sport.
Ken: More specific question: what do you think of people whose quest is to make bap, as opposed to reaching the BAP level?
Tom Mosher: It is tough to stay motivated long enough and work hard enough to reach that high level if your only source of drive is the eventual acceptance of some Posse. I think footbag is great because ones motivation essentially *has* to be pure because the payback rate simply isn't quick enough for someone of impure desire.
Ken: If you came down with some mysterious illness, which robbed you only of your ability to play footbag (like, you could still use your legs, just not to shred), what would you do?
Tom: I am a passionate guy and I find myself motivated towards achieving alot of different things. I would invest alot of myself into completing the footbag shoe project that I have started even though it would be such a foot-tease. I really don't know if I could ever separate myself from the footbag community, I feel quite strongly attatched to it. Wow.. weird.. I am having lots of trouble thinking of what I would do without footbag, perhaps that means that it fills a huge void in my life. I guess I'd take up tennis and find a nice wife and settle down. I love life alot, there are many ways to enjoy it, even without footbag.. I think.
Ken: Thanks for your time Tom. Any last advice or message you`d like to leave the readers with?
Tom Mosher: Fun comes first. =) Thanks alot for picking me to be interviewed Ken, it's been a really enjoyable experience.
Ken: Thanks again for the interview Tom, good times.
Current Mood: good
Current Music: Nas - The Lost Tapes - Doo Rags
September 16th, 2005
|inmydaydreams||04:44 pm - Bored at work?|
For those of you who havn't found this yet
Current Mood: bored
September 12th, 2005
Hi all, I'm new to this community. I actually just started playing like...Thursday. I sucked at it before then and then I had some bad news from home (I'm away at what's called job corps right now) and I started playing to keep my mind off of things, and now I'm one of the champions pretty much and it's only...5 days later.
I've taken a strong liking to it and find that it's quit amusing when we play what's called Elimination.
Anyway, I joined because I'm looking for some new friends and lots of tips on hackey sack.
I'm 19 years old and I'm from Long Island currently upstate NY. I also have a boyfriend, well technically fiance and we've been together for almost a year and a half. We're very happy together and can't wait to start our lives together.
Current Mood: amused
September 11th, 2005
New to the community. I certainly hope there are no newcomer induction ceremonies, I can take bag pelts, but may flee in terror if you mention gasoline and flame.
Awkward and unamusing jokes aside *cricket*, I've been playing for about 4 years now. But only within the last year, and well the last month or so have I really been stressing training for freestyle. I've got the 1-adds (toughies, eh?), 2-adds, and 3-adds down and am just dipping by Lavers into the 4-adds. All of the freestyle tricks that I am able to perform are all on my right foot and I've been forced to relearn everything on my left foot, boy howdy, what a repetitive pain in the rear.
My name is Cameron, I live in Seattle, WA, I'm an art major, and I suppose this is the end of my mildy informative and sparcely amusing introduction post.
September 5th, 2005
|zinc_caps||12:05 pm - This has a little bit to do with footbag...|
This is so totally stupid. I'm here on labor day, and I can't get anything done. Most of what I need to do today involves contacting people. But, I can't contact people because IT's LABOR DAY!!! Nobody is at work today...
Why am I here today? I could be at Funtastiks! My boss wants me to work six days a week, every week, so I had to cancel my plans to go to Funtastiks. I'm so annoyed.
It wouldn't be so bad if I at least had a lot to do. As it is, I DO have a lot to do, but I can't do any of it TODAY!!!!
So, instead of having fun reconnecting with friends, stitching, selling bags, and maybe even kicking a little, I'm here, with my thumb up my but.
( what i'm doing at workCollapse )
So, that's what I'm up to now. Pretty cool huh? It's a lot of responsibility, and the creative freedom can be a little intimidating, but over all it's a lot of fun.
I feel so important.
I have, like, a reall, grown-up job. And a title.
That's right. "Supervisor"
August 15th, 2005
|zinc_caps||12:46 am - bummer|
I have this new job, which is really great thank G-d, but unfortunately there is a bit of a problem. I work six days a week. I get no vacations. Ergo I cannot attend Funtastiks.
I'm totally bummed because I really wanted to make my footbag stitching debut there. Oh well. I guess it just means I'll be twice as prepared for the next time.
On the upside though Benny placed third in the world for his level. How totally killer is that? I watched his routine though and it made me crazy because I know he could have done that routine dropless. I'm trying to convince him to do it again for me on camera. We'll see....
August 2nd, 2005
hi. i'm new. i never knew hacky sack is also referred to as footbag haha. i'm not that great at it, but i do love playing it. especially since my friends and i have a knack for starting the game at 12 am and then playing til like forever haha.
July 19th, 2005
Vasek's Semi, Euros 05
Ohhh my motherfucking god. Oh deary deary. Wow.
I guess he dropped in finals and ended up switching to an easier routine... but he still won. That's European Champion, what, 4 or 5 years in a row, now?
He almost tied his Shred30 score again, too. Got 260 and dropped on the last move, my sources say.
Current Music: Gang Starr - Daily Operation - B.Y.S
July 15th, 2005
|zinc_caps||12:28 pm - little green monster|
A friend of mine is in Finland right now getting ready for the competition. I am so totally jealous!
I've got to get back to work sewing footbags. I got really frustrated b/c I'm missing some of the stuff I need and stopped stitching all together. I've really got to pick it up again though b/c I do love to do it aside from the materials hassle.
My friend Juli just started learning to kick. I hope she sticks with it. She can do that Irish dancing thing and I know she could make such a cool blend of the two once she gets the hang of it.
Any of y'all going to World's?
July 10th, 2005
|zinc_caps||04:30 pm - Flying Kicker Cake|
Here (hopefully) is a cell phone picture of the birthday cake I made. Everybody said it was delicious btw!