This is the fourth volume in a series where I try to provide updates on jugglers who were once in spotlight, either via the IJA conventions, performances, or otherwise, but who aren’t so much anymore. As I did in the first three of these articles, I hope that reading this either reminds you of this juggler, or introduces you to them and their unique contributions, and gives some insight to what they are up to now.
As always, if you have a juggler that you would like featured, drop me an email at email@example.com. If you know anything about what they’ve been up to, or contact information, feel to share that too if you have it.
For jugglers who attended IJA conventions during the late 1980s and 1990s, Brian Patz is name that likely brings up fond memories. From Albuquerque, New Mexico (USA), Brian started attending festivals as a youngster, coming with his family. Brian was a frequent competitor in IJA Stage Championships, winning medals in the Juniors Championships four years in a row, from 1989 – 1992, and finishing in the top three in the Individuals Championships in 1994, 1996, 1997, and 1998. His consistency as a top flight stage competitor is unmatched at the IJA. His easy going personality and sunny disposition made Brian a very likeable person to jugglers as well.
Brian performed impressive routines with clubs, balls, and rings (including a six ring color change). He was also a top cigar box juggler, and released an instructional DVD on Cigar Boxes.
Brian was also a performing professional juggler for quite a while, performing in Japan for several stints.
So, where is Brian Patz now? Well, it appears that he is quite the world traveler. I was able to contact Brian’s mother and she reports that Brian is in the Czech Republic teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), and also still doing some performing whenever the opportunity arises. Brian graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Communications and Cultural Studies. He has taught ESL in Japan, China, and the Republic of Georgia, in addition to the Czech Republic. He often incorporates his juggling into this classroom teaching. Brian enjoys studying and experiencing different cultures, ways of life, and meeting people from all around the world. He has traveled to 44 different countries.
Like Brian Patz, Darin Marriott was a constant staple of IJA festivals for a number of years. One of the best technical jugglers of his generation, Darin learned to juggle from a friend during a trip for a track meet in 1989, but didn’t start practicing juggling until Fall 1990 after his father passed away. At that time, Darin was already heavily involved with his other passion – engineering and science. He won 1st place Grand Award in Engineering at the International Science and Engineering Fair as a high schooler the following spring. The first week Darin ever visited a juggling club, no one was there, so he almost left to never return. However, someone realized he looked lost and explained that all the jugglers were at a big festival …the 1991 IJA Convention in St. Louis. Darin returned the next week. The first jugglers he remembers seeing pass clubs were Raising Cain (me and my brother David).
Darin met his future wife Heather at Ohio State in 1994 and they started going to IJA festivals in Pittsburgh in 1997. In the subsequent years (1997 – 2004), Darin won 23 IJA Numbers Gold Medals, which was a record when he finished competing.
He and Heather also won the IJA Teams Championships as Redefining Gravity in 2000. Darin held a number of juggling passing world records as well, and was known for his monster passing ability, being part of the first trio to successfully pass 14, 15, and 16 clubs. Darin and Peter Kaseman became the first duo to do a flash of 13 and 14 club passing in 2004.
Peter Kaseman, Heather, and Darin
Darin was featured in the 2006 World Almanac Book of Records and the 2012 Guinness Book of World Records (paperback edition). In his solo juggling, flashed 8 clubs, and got 20 catches of 7 clubs, 10 catches of 10 balls, and 10 catches of ten rings in competition!
Heather and Darin were married in 2001, and in 2003, he received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, having done research on neutrino detection and plasmadynamics for space propulsion systems. Ivan was born in June 2004 and the new family went to the IJA when he was only a couple months old. Darin injured three disks in his lower back a few weeks before that IJA, after which his back slowly deteriorated until the next March when he required disk removal surgery to regain proper function of his legs.
So, where is Darin Marriott now?
Darin taught Aerospace Engineering (primarily Space Propulsion Systems) and did research for NASA (high speed maglev catapults) while at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University from 2004 until 2008. 2007 was his last IJA. Darin and Heather separated and eventually divorced, and he moved to Boston to work at MIT from 2008 until 2012. While at MIT, Darin switched from juggling to fencing before taking up ballroom dance, which he found is better for the posture and began the end of almost 6 years of nearly continuous and often debilitating pain (despite the surgery and multiple spinal injections).
Darin moved to the Washington DC area in 2012 to take a position as a Research Coordinator. He still dances occasionally, and also makes it out to the Fairfield Juggling club sometimes. When the opportunity arises, Darin still enjoys social club passing with people of any level from absolute beginner to high numbers passers. He recently told me that still deeply appreciates the many friends he made through juggling and the graciousness with which so many jugglers opened their homes and fed him when he was a poor college student visiting festivals. However, he is currently focusing on his career and academic interests. He is proud to say, however, that he finally learned how to cook nice dinners and slow down to appreciate simple things like quiet evenings, stars at night, and beautiful sunrises. The thing he was always most proud of with regard to juggling was developing the self-double for numbers club passing. However, he injured his left arm in September 2000 shortly after the IJA and was never again able to throw consistent left handed doubles or triples.