Twenty years ago I was meeting with six jugglers every Wednesday to throw things at each other. They were a wonderful group of friendly and kind people with a common hobby… juggling. We were not performers back then, although some of us had performed before. We were just jugglers… a breed unto ourselves, somewhere in between performance artists and aerial engineers. Mostly we were athletes in a long-standing, under appreciated sport, that doesn’t involve running (or hurting) someone else.
The space was shared with us by the My Nose Turns Red circus school for kids. Back then it was the only one, and its’ proprietor was a friendly man who allowed us to juggle in exchange for showing off our juggling skills at his year-end gala. Mostly he was just being nice.
This was in a time long before the internet was what it is now. Most of us were self-taught, a couple had even learned at a toy store! I had actually learned from a couple of friends. But in that room, on those Wednesday nights, we pushed each other. We juggled and juggled. We tried out each-others juggling gear, we tried out each-others moves, and we picked a lot of stuff up off the ground.
Our ages ranged widely. We were men and women. We were religious and non-religious. We were educated in schools, and educated by life and we had vastly different incomes. Despite all this, we were instant friends by our love of juggling.
I learned a lot from those people, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss our Wednesday night juggling sessions. The years went by and life separated us. Mistakes were made, and a couple have juggling clubs that have grown dusty.
There are many things I still remember from those days. Some promises yet to be fulfilled, other promises we carry to this day.
Perhaps the greatest of those was the hope of our enduring our friendship. The second is remembrance of the common time and sweat we spent together, and the third dream was of a juggling festival held in Cincinnati! We wanted a festival that would bring jugglers from all over America to share our common love of juggling. I still remember one of our six, a woman who I respect a great deal, telling us her idea. It was not an original idea, there are other juggling festivals other places, but she alone voiced it on a Wednesday night… “wouldn’t it be great if Cincinnati had its’ own juggling festival?” I have never forgotten that.
Flash forward twenty years… I now own the Cincinnati Circus Company! I have taught and shared my juggling for all these years, and it is now that I can finally fulfill that dream. We are inviting everyone and we will be honored by all who attend! But for me there are six jugglers (plus a few) I hope to see above all others on that day. The original group, and my children.