When I started at The Manitoba Museum we had the Circus! exhibit on. It was a great interactive display that looked at the science under the big top. Off to one side of the exhibit floor was a purple cart containing various juggling items, such as juggling balls and rings, the Diablo and Devil Sticks.
As an animator it was part of my job encourage visitors to explore all aspects of the exhibit, but at the time I didn’t know how to juggle and was feeling sheepish when visitors asked to either see how juggling worked or wanted to learn how to do it themselves.
This is when Len, one of my co-workers, stepped in. One of Len’s many hidden talents is being able to juggle; the other is finding situations where he can cause a little harmless trouble to lighten the day.
Len quickly took me under his wing and walked me through the basic steps of juggling in about ten minutes. In so doing he killed two birds for me with one juggling ball. I now had the basics to juggle and a great technique to teach visitors.
Over the weeks Len and I would pick up the juggling balls whenever the exhibit was quiet between school groups and practice. Len would keep me motivated by appealing to my competitive side and show me some new trick that he’d learnt and challenge me to get it. I didn’t always manage, but I did learn a couple cool moves this way to add to my repertoire.
As the one up man ship continued, Len jogged around the exhibit one day while juggling and at that moment a devious plan was born. Len and I would train to joggle (that’s juggling while jogging) the Manitoba Marathon Relay. We would of course need other team members, but the idea was now in the back of our minds.
As time went on we did manage to coerce a couple other people into the idea, but the run was sometime after the exhibit had closed and I fell negligent in keeping up my juggling outside of work.
The Manitoba Marathon came and went and Len began to wonder if our joggling debut would ever come to pass. Then he stumbled on the perfect event for us: The Grand Beach Sun Run! A short 5 km fun run that we could to without fear of killing too many people if we dropped our balls.
In a moment of what many might call insanity I agreed under the proviso that I test out my running skills before the run. So one week before the run I laced on my running shoes for the first time in probably a decade and went for a jog. By some miracle I managed to get my way through about 3 km, at that point I figured I could walk the rest of the 5 km at the run.
Then came the big day, July 15th. That morning I had already gotten up early to catch the conjunction with another co-worker. With no luck seeing the conjunction, I head off to got my groupies, my parent’s who could just not pass up an opportunity to see what crazy shenanigans I had gotten myself into, and met up with Len at a Tim Horton’s before driving out to Grand Beach.
Len and I registered, stretched and warmed up turning a couple heads and creating a great many smiles.
Len and I placed ourselves very strategically at the back of the pack so as not to kill anyone if we dropped a ball. When the horn went off, we took off at our slow pace just a few meters ahead of the walkers that were also doing the 5 km.
We encouraged each other on, we joked with race marshals as we joggled passed and, most importantly, we gave a great many cottagers something to talk about as they looked out their widows having breakfast.
When we hit the mid point, I was still going strong. I credit the rhythmic movement of my balls that probably half hypnotized my body into keep going.
By the end Len and I joggled the whole 5 km and we did it in about 45 min., a full 15 min. bellow what we thought it would take us! Regrettably, the walkers lapped us on the home stretch, but next year they may not be so lucky.
My parents took a few videos, but without a video editor I can’t shrink them enough to up load them. I’ll try and figure something out and get them up as soon as possible. Sorry.