Keeping the balls in the air

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Wilmot students learn the art of juggling

By Deb Hurley Brobst

Balls, scarves and rings flew through the air last week as Wilmot Elementary School students learned the art of juggling.

Chris Morgan, Wilmot’s physical education student teacher last semester, returned for two weeks as an artist-in-residence to teach the children the hand-eye coordination needed to keep one, two and three objects in the air.

Morgan has been juggling since he was a youngster, when he started throwing balls from his grandfather’s pool table. He says he’s adept at juggling three items, but it doesn’t go any further than that.

At Wilmot, he began with the basic step of throwing a scarf in the air with one hand and catching it with the other. Scarves are easier, he said, because they float, so a child has more time to catch them.

Next comes throwing a ball from hand to hand, then throwing a ball with each hand and catching it with the other. Then it’s just a matter of adding a third ball.

Juggling is as complicated as it sounds, but several of the fourth-graders Morgan worked with last Thursday mastered the skill. They practiced their juggling skills and played a game of tag with a throwing-and-catching component to music by the Beach Boys.

Morgan walked through the groups of students, offering words of encouragement and giving further instruction.

Fourth-grader Lottie Borowski found juggling to be “sort of difficult,” though she said the juggling classes have been fun, and juggling is a skill most people don’t learn.

Ten-year-old Ella Wehrlen said it was easy to throw the balls but much harder to catch them.

Some of the girls in the class put together a short routine, incorporating cartwheels with throwing and catching scarves. They say they like to put together performances for their friends.

Fourth-grader Kai Runes is a proficient juggler.

“I started juggling awhile ago, and I got juggling balls from Santa,” Kai said. “I’m happy about (having a juggling class) because I like to juggle.”

Contact Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1041. Check www.CanyonCourier.com for updates.