When I was young my father bought me Juggling For The Complete Klutz. It came with three balls which I quickly lost and the book sat around unread. In late 2012 I picked up juggling as a hobby and this past Tuesday I hit a huge milestone… without realizing it.
Juggling For The Complete Klutz offers some sobering information on numbers juggling. If juggling three objects is a “level 2” difficulty and four objects is a 5, juggling five objects is level 34. Well, on Tuesday I juggled a 34.
Stay with me for some math here. In the juggling world “qualifying” a number of objects is the most basic unit of being able to say “I did it.” Qualifying means juggling for at least twice as many catches as the number of objects being juggled. For example, 14 or more catches qualifies 7 balls. For some reason my brain doesn’t like thinking in terms of catches and prefers to think about throws. When juggling five balls it is possible to have five throws and no catches (i.e., if they all fall to the ground), so I set a goal to qualify five by achieving 15 throws – the “throw-equivalent” of ten catches.
Practicing daily, I steadily increased through 6, 7, 8, and 9 throws. Last Wednesday I reached 11 throws and last Thursday I got 12. During my Tuesday practice I hit 13 throws and texted a juggler friend to let him know. I also told him that I had thrown “12 to collect,” meaning 12 throws followed by catching all of the balls. Cool.
I went inside to take a well-deserved shower.
I came out to see a text message: “12 to collect means you qualified 5 ball.”
Almost two weeks of work and I had achieved my goal without realizing it. How anticlimactic!