Oct 032005
Authors: Amanda Schank

Some people see them at the corner of University Avenue and Isotope Drive and can't help but stare. In this case, they're used to the attention.

To the members of the juggling club, it's not a group of gawkers – it's an audience and an invite to put on a show.

Every Wednesday afternoon, the juggling club transforms its chosen corner of grass into a scene suggestive of a three-ring circus. The club has enjoyed a gradual increase in membership this year and prides itself on the unique talent and added diversity it brings to CSU.

"There's just something about the fact that you can pick up three balls or rocks, or just three random objects anywhere, and entertain yourself," said Vicki Beaugh, human nutrition graduate student and president of the juggling club. "Once you learn one trick there's always another to learn, so it's a never-ending feeling of success."

After a one-year hiatus, the juggling club has regained their status as an official club and boasts a membership of about 40 names. Unlike other clubs, their membership includes not only students, but faculty, alumni and community members as well.

Its weekly two-hour meeting, which starts at 5 p.m., is at a drop-in pace in an effort to attract more members and appease those who currently attend with flexibility and spontaneity.

"This isn't a club where you actually sit down and have a meeting," Beaugh said. "It's more of a chance for people to come together and have fun …We try and make it so everyone can come."

Juggling's roots can be traced as far back as 1994 B.C. to the paintings in ancient Egyptian tombs portraying women throwing balls. Almost every ancient population across the world has some documented history of juggling including the Chinese, Greek, Roman, Indian and European civilizations, according to Wikipedia Encyclopedia Web site (www.en.wikipedia.org).

In 1793, John Bill Rickets opened America's first circus with a horseback-juggling act to an audience that included George Washington. The art of juggling didn't reach its pinnacle point until the mid-18th century when Vaudeville shows became the height of entertainment.

Juggling became an official hobby in 1947 with the formation of the International Jugglers' Association.

To the members of the club however, juggling is more than a hobby, it's a method of release and reward.

"I juggle a lot," said Adam Hernandez , a junior sports medicine major. "The times when I think about it is when I want to escape something and it just clears my mind. No school, no politics, no money issues – that's when it really comes to me. It just pops into my head to do something recreational and fun, and that's just it – juggling is fun."

Both Beaugh and Hernandez attend the club meetings regularly and bring various objects for everyone's juggling use. Their list of toys includes types of balls, clubs, devil sticks and a unicycle.

"Before you think it's silly come try it out and chances are you'll want to keep doing it," said Kevin Depue , a computer science graduate student. "It's rewarding and it's great because you can come at any level and still have a good time. It's one of those things that once you try it and get three objects in the air, you'll be hooked."

The juggling club provides for and encourages people of every skill level, Beaugh said.

"I never knew how to juggle before but coming to the club and having everyone around you trying to teach you and give you tips is really helpful," said Sara Cummings , a sophomore biology major. "It's a club, but you have a lot more freedom than what you'd expect from one."

With cooler weather approaching, a current threat to the club's stability is the lack of permanent location. The club has searched for an indoor space but been unsuccessful in securing one yet.

While the club isn't involved in any competitions, Beaugh said it would be interested in acting as an entertainment liaison for other clubs. An increase in membership could expand the club's borders by providing it with a chance to create and perform multiple shows reminiscent of the Vaudeville age.

"There's always some other trick to learn, the possibilities are never-ending and the more people you get together the more possibilities," Beaugh said. "If you have even the smallest desire to learn we're here to teach anyone at any level, so come out and juggle."

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