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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pesach 2010 -- Camping & The Israeli Juggling Convention -- Day 2

I wanted to sleep late, but the birds were chirping and the kids (not mine) were playing.....

I turned over a few times, catching a bit more sleep each time, before I woke. 

Breakfast was simple and yummy.  I do not have trouble finding what to eat on Pesach.  I always say, "Give me matzah, butter, and salt, and I am happy."  Well, that was breakfast, and that was good enough for me!  Even eating as little as I do, I had to limit myself from eating more.  I love matzah, butter, and salt!  To top it off, I had half a piece of matzah with jam.  I was a very happy camper!

As soon as breakfast was over, my son headed to the ulam sport (gym), to join the jugglers. I went with him to buy a new Diabolo -- he's juggling with two now.  He only had the new one during the convention (ironically, he forgot his old one in his school locker!), but he was able to borrow a second one from a friend.

That's one of the really nice things about the convention.  Everyone is happy to lend you their equipment, as long as they are not using it.  The atmosphere of sharing goes way beyond the equipment.

In general, there are two ways that people relate to their knowledge/talents:  some want to keep their knowledge to themselves, to be "better" than everyone else, and others want to share their knowledge, to teach others what they know.  Everyone we met at the Israeli Juggling Convention wanted to share their knowledge.  Strangers would stop what they are doing to help you perfect your technique or to teach you something new.

So much giving creates a strong sense of community.

Later in the morning, the girls and I went swimming in the "pools."  We neglected to invite my son, assuming that he preferred to practice his juggling.  We were wrong.  Apparently, we had made the exact same mistake last year.  He was pretty understanding, though disappointed.  I felt really bad about the oversight.  I thought I would take him a different day, but that turned out to be the only time we went to the pools.

That night, at around 11:00 or 12:00, there was an interesting working about the mathematics of juggling, led by Daniel Shultz.  I thought my son would be interested, but he wasn't.  I was.  It turned out to be a workshop for "siteswap" table juggling.   It was challenging, and FUN; I really got into it.  The person teaching it was American (or maybe Canadian), and after the workshop he explained the background and theory to me in more detail. It was fascinating.  There is a correlation between table juggling and regular juggling; the notation is the same and each table move has a corresponding juggling move.  It made me want to learn how to juggle.  (I might be the first person to learn the theory and table games before knowing how to really juggle)

At around 2:00 am, I decided to head for bed.  On the way out, I started talking with one of the jugglers (a teen, 17 yrs old) about the workshop and juggling.  He immediately asked, "Want to learn now?"

It was so late.... but, how could I say no?  So, I said yes.

Ofek, from Haifa, was an excellent teacher. 

First, he told me to throw all the balls on the floor.  Then, with a smile, he said "get used to seeing the balls on the ground, because in the beginning they will be on the ground a lot." 

While he was teaching me, he told me not to pick up the balls, because I would hurt my back by bending down so often.  He kept picking up the balls with his feet, which was totally cool.  So, I asked him to teach me how to do that as well. 

Picking up the balls that way takes more coordination than I realized.  You have to maneuver the ball onto your foot, using your other foot; then quickly, before the ball rolls off, curl your toes upward to hold the ball in place.  Then you have to raise your foot fast, to get the ball to rise in the air high enough, so that you can catch the ball in your hand.  They make it look so easy!

Picking up the ball with my feet was especially challenging for me, because of the stiffness in my hips. I knew there was no way I could do it with my left leg (my left hip joint is just not flexible anymore, because of the cancer), but I kept trying with my right foot, and eventually I managed!

Within half an hour of working with Ofek, I was able to catch the balls six times.  Apparently, that makes me an "official" juggler.  Ofek told me it took him three days to do that.  I responded: "I clearly had a better teacher." (he couldn't argue with that!)  He's a really good juggler, so I felt really encouraged.

When the balls started looking blurry, I decided to call it a night. 

The time: 3:00 am.

I knew it was crazy.

I felt so good.

I did not want to leave, but I knew I had to sleep.

Ofek commented that I looked happy when I was juggling. 

I felt happy.

I felt healthy.

I knew I would crash later.

I was living in the moment.

Enjoying every second.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Leah Goodman said...

If it's *that* Ofek, you have some serious hardcore teacher... he's known worldwide for his diablo skills (He was doing mad tricks with 3 diablo at 13 and is now working with 5!). And three throws is called a flash, six is qualify. If you can do six, you're a ball juggler.


Leah Goodman said...

Oh and sorry about Kinneret singing "Ma nishtana" at 7am ;)

and btw, I totally can't do the kickup thing with balls - couldn't do it before the fibro either. I was just never that coordinated.

Anonymous said...

Juggling Lab will let you experiment with siteswap while sitting calmly at the computer.

Batya said...

I'm impressed!!!

RivkA with a capital A said...

Leah -- not "that" Ofek, though I did meet his father, who was very friendly.

I can catch at least ten throws, but not every time....

Your daughter is adorable!! I do not know whose kids woke me up in the morning....

Josh -- I checked out the site. It set out patterns that would be great for table juggling, if I could just remember what moves corresponded with the notation.... I can't find that information anywhere!

Batya -- by what?