Once in a while an ad executive gets a great idea for an advertisement that involves juggling. Here are two recent examples from Burger King and Visa. These commercials are interestingly similar even though they represent completely different products. Notice how juggling is associated with success, efficiency, and intelligence.
There’s just one thing my wife refuses to do; learn how to juggle. She’s just not interested. Sure she’s seen my juggling show a million times and spent hours watching me practice new tricks but she just seems immune to the juggling bug. How do some people do that? So many of us jugglers learned to juggle because we saw someone do something amazing, thought in our head, “I could do that,” and then couldn’t rest until we mastered it.
Juggling is so addicting. But my wife won’t go near it. And somehow I admire her more for it.
This is one of those “don’t try this juggling trick at home” situations.
When I was going to school in Boston I had the opportunity to meet a ton of talented Boston street performers including Peter Panic, Stitch, Lucky, and Etienne. I think the king of them all was Jim from the Jim show.
Jim has created one of the most professional street performing careers I’ve ever seen. In addition to being an awesome entertainer, he has found a way to bring class and dignity to a sometimes misunderstood occupation.
Some of the things he does so well: He has a great Web site. He doesn’t resort to fire or knives to get people’s attention but uses some simple but hilarious ball and club routines. He let’s people see him try and fail. He builds his own set pieces.
Jim’s got a great, dry humor (one article described it as Koffmanesque) and he delivers a quality show with impeccable professionalism. Don’t miss his show the next time you find yourself in Boston.
This video’s really entertaining. Also entertaining: the discussion on YouTube about whether it’s real or fake.
The juggling subculture has invaded the land of television. On this season of Beauty and the Geek (Tuesday nights on the CW), John, an MIT student and analog circuit designer, plans on winning the competition using his brain and his juggling skills.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of a trend of jugglers invading reality TV. Next we’ll find a juggler on America’s Next Top Model, or becoming The Next Food Network Star!
Until then, from one juggling geek to another, I say: Go John Go!
(See an interview with John and his “beauty” partner Natalie by clicking here.)
Juggling is a sport of runs and ruts. I’ve been running lately. I had a breakthrough with 5 clubs, and have been picking up tricks with four clubs all over the place. Consequently, I’ve been inspired to practice. It feels great. I wake up in the morning, plan my day out in my head, and have been able to fit in 30-60 minutes of juggling almost every day.
But today I started thinking a bit too hard. All this practice. All these great new tricks. What will happen if I hit another rut? What if I don’t practice much for a month? Six months? A year!? Will I go backward?
So far my experience with juggling has been that it’s like riding a bike. Once you train your muscles how to do a trick, they remember it, and, even after some dormant time, can whip it out when you need it. At least that works for the basic tricks. But does that hold true for the really hard stuff? Or is it a use-it-or-lose-it situation?
I don’t want to lose it!
Recently, Google challenged its users to submit videos interpreting how email messages travel around the world. The result was a fun collaboration in which juggling made two cameo appearances. (If I’m not mistaken, the first jugglers you see are the Raspyni Bros.)
Here are three things I learned through practicing for and achieving my five club goal:
1.Step back to move forward. My usual five club practice routine would go something like this: Get clubs out, psyche myself up, throw five clubs in the air, catch a few, drop all of them, get frustrated, go in and watch TV. But recently I decided to take a step back and work on my 4 club juggling. I’ve had a decent triple, single pattern with four but have not been able to keep a steady 2 in each hand, double flip, off sync pattern. This proved more difficult than I would have thought, but practicing in the land of double flips trained my arms nicely for the flips I’d need to nail 5 clubs.
2.Don’t forget to breathe! I think Mr. Miyagi said it best when teaching Daniel how to paint the fence. “Don’t forget to breathe; breathing very important.” Do you ever hold your breath while learning a strenuous new trick? I do. All the time! I don’t know why, but I do. I realized though, that when I was really in my groove, my best, steadiest, 5 club patterns came when I was taking calm steady breaths.
3.No pain; no gain. Maybe I’m just not hard core enough but I rarely get injuries from juggling. When I practiced for a couple of hours and finally achieved my goal, however, I got a pretty nasty blister. We’re talking an, oozing, bleeding, make my wife screech in horror, kind of blister. I guess if you really want something, you have to be willing to go through pain to get it.
A couple weeks ago, when I turned 25, I made a goal: In my 25th year on this planet I would achieve 50 catches with 5 clubs.
“Enough monkey-ing around,” I said to myself. “Stop being a wuss. If you’re a real juggler, prove it!”
I’ve been able to flash 5 clubs for about four years now, but for some reason I haven’t been able to get past a lucky 20 catches. Sure, I had to join the workforce and give up practicing every day. Sure, I got married which stole time away from juggling. Sure, I have plenty of excuses, but the fact is that I felt like I had plateaued as a juggler, that I had lost the ability to learn new things. That’s why, on my 25th birthday I put a stake in the ground and declared that I would achieve something–or else.
The following few days I put some good practice time in but didn’t see a ton of progress. I soon wondered if I would ever achieve this goal and what would happen if I couldn’t. Would it be time to put my juggling stuff away in an old trunk in the garage and reminisce for the rest of my life about the old days when I dabbled in juggling?
Then, last night, a breakthrough!
I was at my parents house for a Chargers/Patriots game and for some reason my dad had hooked up a TV outside in his backyard. I took advantage of being outside and started practicing with my clubs. I warmed up for a while and then out of nowhere it came: 50 perfect throws and 50 steady catches. What I thought wouldn’t happen for months and months, what I’ve tried to do for five years–happened.
I did it.
The odd but cool thing was that it felt just like the first time I did a successful under-the-leg catch with three balls when I was 12. It felt just like it did when I performed in front of an audience for the first time. It felt good. And it helped me remember why I juggle.