When one thinks of the duties of budget director in a city councilman’s office, yo-yo skills don’t come to mind as one of the requirements.
Unless of course, that budget director is one Brian Melford.
He’s a state champion yo-yoer and has been a critical part of Councilman Andy King’s 12th district office for five years.
Of course, Melford keeps his two passions totally separate - he won’t even perform tricks like the Brain Scrambler or Breakaway for colleagues, especially on government time.
Not even the trick he invented himself.
Called Mel Hops, when executed correctly the yo-yoer is able to form a triangle out of string while the yo-yo is still spinning.
Melford began his illustrious yo-yo career while still attending Truman High School in Co-op City.
“I didn’t have any tricks to show off at school, so people would say to me, that’s it?” Melford said.
It was at that time he began practicing different maneuvers from the five styles of modern yo-yo through oline videos.
Years later, after winning the New Jersey state championship in two categories in 2015, Melford still hasn’t entered the New York state championship for one simple reason.
Why? Because it doesn’t exist yet.
“There’s no reason New York City shouldn’t have a championship (of its own),” Melford said. Being that he’s also the acting president of the New York Yo-Yo Club, he would know if the city could handle it.
It’s there, at their weekly meetings on Wall Street, that Melford practices upwards of 100 tricks from a collection of 300 yo-yos.
The most efficient yo-yos are made of a titanium alloy and go for as much as $500, according to Melford.
“(Yo-yos are) just like collecting sneakers,” the Williamsbridge native said.
Melford even has his own custom holster that he brought to the Yo-Yo World Championship in Japan in 2015.
It was at that event that he realized to successfully compete one was required to know different trick techniques and tactics to place well.
Come 2019, Melford plans to re-enter the Yo-Yo World Championship scheduled in Budapest, Hungary, to give competitive yo-yoing another try while also getting a chance to travel around Europe.
Until then, Melford will continue mastering his craft, after all it only took him 15 minutes to master one of yo-yoing’s toughest tricks.
He encourages everyone to give the addictive hobby a try, even if it’s just the yo-yo staple ‘walking the dog’.
“Give it a chance. You’re going to get hooked,” the yo-yo master warned.