Tuj Lub a regular activity in City Park
Building a court for the ancient sport on Gentry to-do list
GENTRY — Once or twice a week, players from Gentry and the surrounding area (including neighboring areas in Missouri and Oklahoma) gather in Gentry City Park on the old softball field to play Tuj Lub (pronounced too-loo).
The game involves two teams of six players each throwing and spinning tops on a court reaching out some 70-plus feet, with the goal being to hit and knock over an opponent’s tops and target tops and to have your top spin longer than the top of your opponent. The game is played in eight rounds with tops placed further and further away.
Some have compared the sport to bowling because points are earned by the number of tops knocked over.
And it’s definitely a game of skill, both to spin the tops and to throw them with a stick and string with pinpoint accuracy down the court.
The game is an ancient game, thousands of years old, originating in Laos and Thailand and was brought to the United States by the Hmong people who immigrated from Southeast Asia following their efforts in support of the United States and South Vietnam in the Vietnam War.
A Tuj Lub court is a part of Gentry’s Parks Masterplan and is one of the next projects on the list of park improvements to be completed with money from the 7/8 cent sales tax increase passed in 2018.
One-half cent of the tax increase was to be used for the then-developing park master plan as needed for phases and for other city projects, according to information provided by Mayor Kevin Johnston when the new tax was put before the voters. Once that plan is complete, the half-cent is to be utilized to support the operation and maintenance of the new park system and other city projects to improve the quality of life for Gentry residents.
And Gentry may be leading the way in Northwest Arkansas if it builds a Tuj Lub court soon, but the city would be following a good precedent. Numerous cities in Minnesota have already built courts that see much use with regular games and Tuj Lub tournaments.
To see how the game is played and scored, see the following YouTube video: https://youtu. be/6FWhgnRjQME.