Unheralded classics

Among the likes of the wheel, the steam engine, integrated circuits, the moon landings, and the polyester cotton blend, one of humanity’s greatest (if overlooked) achievements is the Koosh Woosh.

In the late 1980s, a small toy company made a bundle selling funny little balls made of strands of rubber. Maybe you never had one. Maybe your parents didn’t love you. We had several – think indoor snowball fights (or as close as you can get in Florida).

Yeah, my parents have some regrets….

Lucky for us all, the Koosh gravy train didn’t end with a funny little ball-like lump of rubber. One Christmas morning I unwrapped a funky lycra disk stretched over a springy wire frame – the Koosh Woosh. Think Frisbee, but not. Ironically, it was voted “least likely to still be around in twenty years” by its gift class. It was a rough crowd that year. Yet my Koosh Woosh has followed me everywhere since: from college dorms and apartments, to condos and our current home.

I could lie and tell you it’s my favorite toy, but there are two problems. One, I’m not a liar; and two, you already know my old PowerBook fills that spot in my heart. On the other hand, I can’t think of another toy that’s been around so long or pops up so often. It’s THE (seemingly) omnipresent toy in the house, good for a glide across the room any time the urge to throw something (in fun not anger) strikes.

The kids have my old Legos, but they don’t love them like I did. This may be my greatest failure as a parent.

It’s lightweight so it doesn’t do indoor damage. Its frame is flexible, springy, and resilient; making all kinds of ricochet shots possible, while keeping it’s shape through years of abuse. And it’s soft, making it easy to catch for the little ones.

I don’t remember why, but we spent a lot of time indoors this weekend… and it didn’t matter. Adam and I had a blast. I used my full arsenal of Frisbee shots: the line drive, the forehand, the backhand, the skip shot, the vertical bounce (a Koosh Woosh specialty), curves, come-backers, soft glides, and bank shots – all indoors – and we have a small house. Think bumper-pool, Frisbee, and (almost) no rules. The only time Adam wasn’t smiling was when he was concentrating on imitating one of daddy’s throws. It was great fun.

When my kids get older, have kids of their own, and the subject of me comes up (there goes my runaway ego again), I hope it’s days like this they remember. We can’t always choose our legacy to our children – not the kind I’m thinking of anyway, but we can at least give it a nudge. I hope I give them enough good memories to be the kind of parent I want to be (if I don’t always succeed).


  1. Ha! Just one Koosh would make an awful lot of worms, enough to set up whole colonies, systems of transportation, trade, the works.

  2. Love the Koosh. But around here, Demon Baby pulls off all the little . . . what do you call them . . . Koosh springs, the little wobbly things that poke out of the Koosh. Given his adoration of earthworms, I think I understand it. So I have little Koosh earthworms everywhere. Hence . . . I don’t buy them as often as I used to.


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