IJA eNewsletter – December 2020

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   IJA eNewsletter   

December 2020

Editors: Don Lewis & Martin Frost

Best Wishes for a Great New Year !


  • Getting back on the wagon
  • IJA Virtual Hangout Jam, January 2
  • Life as a Juggler
  • IJA honorary awards nominations open
  • Getting back to normal?
  • Latest articles in eJuggle (find a few that interest you and check them out!)
  • Upcoming juggling festivals



Getting back on the wagon  by Mike Moore, IJA Chair

Mike Moore

2020 has been quite the teacher.  As many consider our annual resolutions, there are some lessons learned from this year that I intend to reflect upon.

Always have a goal

Goals (in this context) are not the enemy.  They are the destinations that a former you decided were important to work toward.  They (hopefully!) were the result of reflection and forecasting to the best of your ability at the time.

Be prepared to pivot

There will sometimes be external factors that make our goals infeasible.  At this point, one has two options: pivoting or stopping.  Stopping is rarely the best choice[1].  I’ve seen the outcomes of both routes on a community journal that I take part in.  Every person who’s taken part for the past few months has had times when it became clear they were not going to be able to do their initial goal of 10 hours of 5b practice (or whatever) that month.  People who changed the extent of the goal (5 hours of 5b practice) or the category of goal (5 hours meditation) continued to put effort into the direction of their choosing.  People who did not change their goals stopped completely.

Consider a process-based goal or theme

If the direction matters more than the destination, why have a destination?  This will depend on how your mind works.  For me, I love the idea of some kind of destination to my goals[2], and I feel no shame in shifting those goalposts in ways that will continue to motivate me.  If you’re the type of person who values the effort put in, rather than the destination, process-based goals may be more your style (see the Dec 2019 IJA eNewsletter).  Finally, if you’re the type who can be trusted to work toward a more vague goal[3], you might consider a theme instead (communicated well here on YouTube).

In all these forms, goals are directions for effort.  Losing a particular direction is not a problem in and of itself – defaulting to directionlessness afterward is.  Best of luck in 2021, and here’s hoping that you’re able to pick up your props and your self after every drop!

Mike Moore

IJA Chair

[1] – Rarely does not mean never.  But stopping should be a decision, rather than the default.

[2] – After which it’s time to set new ones!

[3] – Or if your honest goal is vague.



IJA Virtual Hangout Jam  by Chris Garcia

The IJA is hosting another Virtual Hangout Jam, and you’re invited, whether you’re an IJA member or not!  So grab your props, clear out some space in your living room, and hang out with your fellow jugglers virtually!  Meetings are currently set to take place on the first Saturday of the month on Zoom video conferencing, accessible via mobile or computer.

Note: As we are in the beginning stages of organizing these hangouts, we are still seeking a day, time, and frequency that works well for everyone.  The IJA has currently chosen the first Saturday of the month at 11am PST / 7pm UK time.  The hangouts will probably last a couple of hours.  We’d love feedback from the community on when is the best time for you.  Let us know by filling out this survey form.

Find latest Hangout info

You can find the latest up-to-date info for the Virtual Hangout Jam on the Facebook Event Page.  For instance, look there if you have trouble joining the Zoom session.

Hangout rules

As this meeting is accessible to both youth and adults, please use appropriate language, clothing, behavior, etc.  This is a safe space.  Anyone espousing hate or bigotry will be removed.  Please turn off your microphone when not speaking, so as to not cause ambient noise interference.

How to join

Download and install Zoom on your phone or computer.  Use the Zoom link below to join us for the virtual hangout.  After you’ve connected in Zoom, an admin will admit you into the hangout from the waiting room.

Next Hangout

Saturday, Jan 2, 2021, at 11am PST / 7pm UK Time

Join Zoom meeting




Life as a Juggler  by Martin Frost

Last month I relayed a story about catching an unexpectedly flying half tomato.  I asked you for more such stories and you came through, as seen below.  If you have a good story about a sudden catch (or near catch!) of an unexpectedly falling object, please allow us to share your story here by sending it to ijanews@juggle.org.  Thanks.

Many years ago, while I was attending a dinner party, the host was setting down a plate of food on the table.  Unexpectedly she knocked a knife off the table and it went flying towards the floor.  Without thinking I just stuck out my hand, grabbed the knife by the handle, and gently placed the knife back in its original location.  The host asked, “How did you do that?”  I just shrugged my shoulders and continued with the conversation.

           Tim Challis, aka Zooby the Clown

It’s early summer in southwest Montana, and snow clings in the high country, while paintbrush blossoms among dry sage brush down low. I embark to hike and traverse the crest of the watershed boundary. This splendid ridge crosses a geologic transition between richly fossiled limestone and potassium-rich granite. Goats keep a clear path along the ridges between summits.

This traverse is a race: gotta beat the afternoon thunderstorms that develop out of sight in the west.

The route is a fearsome scramble on rotten rock,

as I learn in real time. My lead on the invisible storm is now visible. I scramble with urgency toward a place where I might safely descend, but I’m about to be overtaken. I switch plans: I’ll cower on the lee side of a slab and wait in the cold wind for the storm to pass, then the rock to dry — it won’t be more than 90 minutes. Waiting so, I am underdressed and there’s thunder all around; I’m shaking in my shoes. Then a close one: FLASH>BOOM! I automatically duck in a crouch, arms over my head as I glance up. A dark thing is falling almost horizontally toward me in the blustering wind. My instincts snatch it from space, as if it were one of my favorite felt juggling balls. The object’s softness startles me, and still in a crouch I drop it at my feet — an unconscious little chickadee.

I figure it was stunned by the close lightning strike. Some 20 seconds later, it comes back to awareness, rights itself, hops about, then launches into the turbulent oblivion, leaving me to endure the storm.

           David Ayala

A few weeks ago I was cooking dinner for my son when I reached with my right hand for something in an upper shelf in the cabinet.  In doing so, I accidently bumped a small bottle which then fell off the shelf toward the counter a few feet below.  Without looking down, and before I realized it, I had brought my left hand across my body to make the grab before this wayward object crashed into the counter.

Sometime later, after I had read Frost’s “Life as a Juggler” article, I walked in my front door while carrying a bag of groceries.  For some reason I looked down and my glasses slipped off my face.  I went for the grab with my free hand but fate was not with me.  Instead of making the catch, I managed to slap the glasses back up in the air where they headed for the back of a shoe rack and landed in a hard to reach spot in a corner behind some boots.  There I was on my hands and knees, half-blind, searching for the glasses.  Well, this wouldn’t be a juggling story without a humiliating drop!

           Jonathan Mazer

I was amused by Martin Frost’s recounting of his experience with the sandwich and the “flying” tomato in his “Life as a Juggler” article (in the Nov 2020 IJA eNewsletter).  I’m always amazed by how fast a juggler’s hand can react to an unexpectedly falling object — often snatching it out of thin air before the conscious mind has time to engage in any decision-making process.

Someone once accidentally knocked a piece of paper off of a counter near where I was standing.  My hand closest to the counter, despite holding a mostly full cup of coffee, instinctively lurched toward the hapless cellulose.  About a tenth of a second or so later, my brain caught up with what my hand was doing and (fortunately) aborted the hand’s ill-conceived plan to toss the cup into the air to rescue the falling object — but not before hot coffee was sloshed all over the place.  Of course, far more effort was expended wiping up the resulting mess than simply picking up the worthless sheet of paper from the floor.

Sometimes being a juggler can get you into trouble.  🙂

           Ernie Petrides


IJA honorary awards nominations open

Please think about who you would like to nominate for an honorary IJA award to be presented during the IJA Festival next summer. Past award recipients have often said how meaningful the awards have been to them, so is there someone you believe should be honored next?

Our website lists all the previous IJA award honorees. https://juggle.org/history/honorary-awards/

Nominations are open for the following IJA awards:


        In recognition of excellence in the art of juggling through professional performance.


        In recognition of a lifetime of influential work and extraordinary achievement in juggling performance.


        In recognition of years of coaching and mentoring jugglers to help create and improve their acts.


        In recognition of a consistent commitment to provide outstanding support and promotion for the field of juggling.


        In recognition of outstanding efforts to teach juggling to non-jugglers and expand the knowledge of those who already juggle.


        In recognition for providing exceptional promotion to the public of the art of juggling.

Please submit nominations to awards@juggle.org by January 15th.


Getting back to normal?  by Don Lewis

Wow, vaccines are starting to flow, after the fastest development time ever.  The optimistic projections that I am hearing seem to be that next winter (2022) is going to be better than this one.  The experts are expecting another surge of COVID-19 cases after this Christmas-New Year period.  And that’s on top of the U.S. Thanksgiving surge that is still going on.  Things may ease up in the spring as people naturally move outside and distance.  Meanwhile, there are hundreds of millions of people to vaccinate – billions worldwide – and that is not going to happen overnight.  As jugglers, we tend to be healthy and fit.  I expect that we will come well after health care workers and the more vulnerable.  So perhaps we’ll get jabbed in late summer or fall.

The vaccine probably does not make you immune to the virus.  It should reduce the severity of the infection.  Regardless of how mild a case you might get, you can still spread it unknowingly.  To be safe as a population, we’ll need to be wearing masks in public for a while.  For the vaccine to really control the virus, a major portion of the population has to be inoculated.  A lot of people are saying that they don’t want to be vaccinated.  They’ll take their chances.  The problem with that is, they are taking chances with everyone else’s health too.  It is an interesting ethical question: does personal freedom include the right to infect others?

Be safe and stay healthy.  Wear a mask when you are around others.  If you have to wear a mask for long periods of time, change it from time to time.  A damp or wet mask isn’t very effective.  If your skin is irritated by wearing a mask, then apply a moisturizer or barrier cream to your face before putting the mask on.  Stay away from crowds and gatherings.  As summer arrives in the northern hemisphere we’ll discover what the new normal will be.  Gravity is still reliable, so take advantage and juggle.



Latest articles in eJuggle



Upcoming juggling festivals

Note: Virtually all juggling festivals planned for the coming months have been canceled or rescheduled because of the worldwide pandemic, though some will be held online.

To find a juggling fest near you or online, check the fest list at The Juggling Edge.  Eventually festivals will return.

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