Skyline Vista Park - Top Spin Court, 2595 West 72nd Avenue
In the fall of 2008, the City of Westminster dedicated a new Top Spin court to the community. It is located in the middle of Skyline Vista Park.
Westminster City Council and staff worked with Hmong community leaders to develop the park, which is the only one of its kind in the country.
Westminster's Top Spin court is a relatively new sport being played in Westminster. The sport originated in China in the mid-1800’s and was adopted by the Hmong people at that time. When the Hmong migrated from China to Laos, they brought the game with them. To view how the game is played and for further information on the game, please watch the video below. (Running time is 6:26)
It’s called top spin, or by its traditional name of “too lu.” And it’s a relatively new sport being played in Westminster.
The sport originated in China in the mid-1800s and was adopted by the Hmong people at that time. When the Hmong migrated from China to Laos, they brought the game with them. This 150-year-old game was traditionally played almost exclusively during Hmong New Year celebrations.
Today however, you can find top spin players almost every day of the week in Westminster, thanks to the city’s new top spin court, the only court of its kind.
In the fall of 2008, the city of Westminster dedicated the new top spin court to the community. It is located in the middle of Skyline Vista Park, which is situated in the southeastern part of the city.
With the growing Hmong population in Westminster and surrounding cities, Westminster City Council and staff worked with Hmong community leaders to develop the park. This court is truly one-of-a-kind and is a major improvement over the plastic or wooden boards that the game has historically been played on.
While steeped in tradition, today’s top spin has been modernized, starting with the equipment. Years ago, top spin was played with bamboo poles and tops carved from wood. Today, that has changed. Each top is specially designed and weighs about 1 and a half pounds. Top spin players use nylon or fishing line for the string that wraps around the top. Thanks to the stability and strength of the golf clubs, top spin players can launch the top at 50 to 70 miles per hour.
Top spin is played with 2 teams with 6 players on each side. The first part of the court consists of a launching area from where the players release the tops. Next, there is a square, called step or station 1, where each defensive player spins a top which is hit by an offensive player’s top. Whoever’s top spins the longest scores a point. The final portion of the top spin court looks like a long jump platform and consists of 9 different steps.
Teams score points by hitting tops at each of these steps. Each step has a different configuration and a different number of tops. For the 1st and 2nd steps, the tops are actually spinning. At the other steps, the tops are static. For many players, the last step provides a significant challenge.
There are currently five formal top spin teams in the Westminster area that compete locally and nationally. Some of the best top spin players in the United States live in the Westminster area. They travel to compete against other teams in Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Virginia and other states. And when it comes to who is tops at top spin, look local.
Top spin isn’t just for adults. The game is being played by the next generation and future top spin aces are getting their start in Westminster.
But it’s not just about building skills. The young players will be the ones that will carry the sport and tradition forward.
And while top spin is primarily a Hmong sport, the players at Skyline Vista Park in Westminster would like to invite anyone who is interested in learning more about the game to stop by. You can watch or even try your hand at the game. You can find top spin players out almost every day in the summer. On weekdays, there are games from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 7 p.m.
Hmong top spin, another example of the rich cultural diversity in the City of Westminster.
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