Archive for Monday, May 21, 2007

Juggling club members like tossing around hobby

May 21, 2007


— Kevin McBeth has been juggling since he was 9 years old.

He can remember first seeing juggling at a presentation while he was in elementary school.

"I don't remember what the presentation was about, but I do remember the juggling," McBeth said.

Since coming to Kansas State, McBeth, a senior in mathematics, economics and statistics, has been a member of the Kansas State juggling club. The club has about 20 to 25 active members and an electronic listserv that helps around 100 members stay in contact.

"It's pretty informal," said club president Bekah Smith, a senior in accounting. "We have everyone from Kansas State students to community members."

The club meets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday in either the Bosco Student Plaza at Kansas State or inside the Union if the weather is bad. The hours spent practicing their craft came to fruition recently with the club's second annual Little Apple Juggling Festival at Kansas State.

"What's cool about juggling is that people can turn their hobby into a presentation. This will be some of the club members' first time to perform and once you perform and hear people clapping, it's an amazing experience," Smith said.

People have been basking in praise for juggling for thousands of years. Juggling is defined as having more balls in the air than hands, and having twice the number of catches per object (for example, if there are three balls employed in the juggling, there would have to be six catches), according to members of the Kansas State University juggling club.

Members of the K-State juggling club are looking to dispel the popular conception that people only juggle if they're associated with a circus or carnival.

"It's not just something people do when they're in the circus," Smith said. "Juggling can be a hobby and it's not hard to learn."

McBeth agrees that juggling is an easy skill to acquire.

"All you need is 10 minutes and a good teacher," McBeth said. "We teach people everywhere we go. Contrary to popular belief, hand-eye coordination is not required."

One thing the club members are looking forward to is the largest Kansas Shuffle passing pattern attempt.

"There are lots of juggling tricks and patterns and this is a pattern we invented last year," explained Smith. "It was probably invented before, but we're trying to name it and have the name catch on. We'll rotate people into our circle and walk around and throw to each other."

Club members juggle anything from balls to rings to clubs to machetes and torches. Not surprisingly, juggling a torch is one of the toughest things Smith has worked with.

"The end is lit on fire and it's difficult because you're typically doing it at night and you can't see anything except for the flaming end," Smith said. "It's a cool thing to do to impress people without trying too hard."

McBeth said he doesn't really know why he juggles - he just enjoys the pastime.

"It can be fun to do at a party and it occasionally provides a good opportunity to meet people," McBeth said.


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