Northborough – Jugglers, from beginners to advanced, now have a place to get together. The Assabet Valley Juggling Club was formed this past summer by a group of folks who just love to juggle. The club is the place to be if you want to make new friends, improve your technique and, believe it or not, get some cardio fitness too.
Founder, Doug Sherman said that he started the club after taking beginning juggling classes at Assabet High School through Assabet After Dark. Larry Retting, also known as Flippo the Clown, taught the class.
“A year ago last winter, Larry put together an intermediate class at Assabet, which morphed into a club, but then it closed for the summer. Fortunately, Northborough residents Mike and Melissa Maglio decided to host the club in their backyard during the summer,” Sherman said. “Eventually it started getting buggy, and we could not juggle in the dark. We needed a permanent place. That is how we ended up at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Northborough.”
Melissa calls juggling “Exercise for the non-sporty” and noted that jugglers are not like magicians because “we share out knowledge.”
Sherman said “juggling is the first sport that is cooperative rather than competitive.”
All kinds of people come out to be part of this new club. There are adults and kids, professionals and homemakers, and pretty much folks from all walks of life.
Christine Rhubarb,29, said that when she was growing up in Connecticut, all third graders were taught how to juggle.
“I juggled here and there in high school and eventually found a club at MIT,” Rhubarb said. Rhubarb is now involved in both clubs and has been juggling consistently for three years, she said. “I like the challenge because you can always make it a little bit harder…by adding balls and props.”
Robotic surgeon Bhalchandra Parulkar has been juggling since last year.
“Juggling teaches you how to change your dominant hand,” he said. In India, no one juggles outside of a circus, Parulkar said. “I thought it was fun and something I never thought I’d learn in my life.”
Lots of people got together to create the club, Sherman said.
“Alan Greenspan has been an integral part of getting the word out,” he said. The club even has a Facebook page for which Greenspan created the logo.
“If you can teach yourself to juggle, golf does not seem like a hard thing when you juggle five balls at once,” Greenspan said. “There’s a real sense of accomplishment when you learn to juggle.”
The World Juggling Federation considers juggling as strictly a sport, Greenspan said. Those athletes take it very seriously and there are strict competition rules.
Greenspan’s teenage daughter, Jillian, thinks that juggling will look good on her resume.
The Assabet Valley Juggling Club meets at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Northborough on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. The first visit is free, and there is a $3 floor fee to juggle if you join the club.
“We are looking for people to join us. Juggling is unlike magic,” Greenspan said. “It’s an open skill. If you can see it, you can copy it, and then you can do it.”