Three points: First, a simple suggestion to improve our competitions. It should be easy to implement. Why don't we permit our esteemed judges in the Senior National and Teams competitions to award more than one medal in any category, or to award no medals in any category, at their discretion? For instance one year there might be two golds, no silvers and a bronze; the next year there might be one gold, one silver and two bronzes. There might even be one of each. If you have comments on this idea, please let Laura Green, championships coordinator, know.
Second, it may make sense not to distribute prizes and awards at the competitions in 1991 due to their cost and the fact that we would be recognizing the same stalwart folks for the third year in a row. If you have any ideas about awards or how we can recognize people adequately, please let me know at 206/774-2127.
Third, I've been to five European juggling festivals, most recently in Oldenburg where about 2,500 jugglers registered and probably 500 or more didn't. Do we want to include in the IJA festival people who are not coming now? If so, the factors that make the European Festival so big may be: low cost (about $25 to register for open juggling, the renegade show and the public show); time of year (always on the Labor Day weekend, when the weather has generally turned in Northern Europe, and the tourists have left); camping and cheap housing (probably 95% of the jugglers camped out for free or slept in barracks-style rooms on campus for $5/night).
My gut feeling is that the folks who have been left out of our festival are those who might put off the decision to attend until the last minute, pile into a vehicle with assorted friends and show up without plans, reservations or a lot of spare cash. I personally think we should go out of our way to include this big group of jugglers. If you have ideas on how to do this, let the board of directors know and help them to create ways to "Europeanize" our annual event.
I had an idea for a new column in the magazine that could be called: "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Juggle..."
For instance, last year at the Alexandria Zoo, there was a Halloween fund raising event. Since it was at night, I planned on juggling my home-made torches. During the show one of the wicks flew off of a torch and landed by a bamboo fence in a pile of dry leaves. Needless to say, this experience was the high point of the juggling show (for me, the crowd and the animals)!
I never did find out what kind of beasts were on the other side of the six-foot tall fence. However, if the flaming wick had gone over, I would have followed it. I would rather be known as the guy who died trying to save the zoo than the one who burned it down!
(Editor's Note: Any other contributions out there for such a column?)
I recently received a back issue of Juggler's World with an interview of Dick Franco. He said, "If you can't juggle well, don't juggle in front of people." Since juggling gives me and others enjoyment, I disagree with his attitude.
Furthermore, I propose that an IJA Amateur Showcase be added to the festival where strictly amateurs (those who have never accepted money for juggling) can perform. This event would give serious nonprofessional jugglers a showcase and would give the festival participants a great event.
I have a problem. I juggle. This is not just a flash of the hands, but a burning desire to toss things in the air. It started as a simple challenge of keeping three things in the air. Now it's an obsession that has become an integral part of my thought process.
I can't help myself in the grocery story. The eggs and the apples call to me, "Juggle us, juggle us!" I don't go to the hardware store for parts, but to find things to juggle. My hands go wild with motion. In the stores my kids act like they don't know me. My wife hid my machete. She talked of leaving me when I looked at axes the other day. The first thing I think of when I pick up a tool, ball bat or fruit is balance, space and spin. My cats avoid me at all cost.
There's a reason for this madness. I juggle for the joy of it. There's a rhythm in the rise and fall of ball or bat in a good juggle. The rhythm gives way to peace and release from the everyday pressure and stress of the world. Juggling involves the hands, eyes and mind in a flow of perfect unity and cooperation.
If the leaders of the world were locked up together until they learned to juggle, they would find out that the perfect jug is not just a toss of a ball. Just as peace is not a toss of bullets and human life. Juggling, life and world peace require the coordination, cooperation and communication of all parts in order to keep the flow from crashing to the ground. Life's a jug. Life's a joy.