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LOL Olympics

May 25 2021

One of many frustrations with living through the covid-19 pandemic is the fact that I have not been able to get my middle school aged juggling troupe out into the community to do shows with near the frequency as I have in past years.  This has caused my creativity to be stretched by learning how to do zoom performances, posting routines on youtube, and most recently the LOL Olympics.  Although I've always been uncomfortable making the art of juggling a competitive event, desperate times call for desperate measures.  The kids were on board 100%, and were broken into two teams: the Skull Crushers and the Blue Bengals.

The events were designed with the help of the LOL officer, and included: exteme toss in, circle pass, combat juggling, endurance juggling, consecutive diabolo high tosses, juggling obstacle course, juggling relay race, balance board jousting, and balloon javelin.

Like all Olmypics, the event started with a torch relay (we're jugglers, so the torch thing was predictable). After the teams were introduced, the first event was extreme toss in.  A juggler holding two balls stood below a 15 foot balcony where a third ball would be dropped down to them.  They had to start juggling immediately, and maintain the pattern for at least 10 additional throws.  Amber was the only student to go a perfect five for five.

In circle toss, all students able to juggle stood around the perimeter of the center circle of the gym.  Everybody had two balls, and an additional ball was given to the starter. This person throws the ball to anyone else who needs to keep juggling long enough to pass to another player.  Student swho drop or throw wildly are eliminated.  

Combat juggling involves jugglers in a designated area all juggling while trying to make others drop.  They may bump, distract, etc. their opponents.  Abbie dominated this game winning both rounds. 

Then it was time to get onto balance board juggling.  Opponents armed with pool noodles got on balance boards that faced each other.  They then tried to use the noodle to get their opponent to lose balance.  This was the closest competition of the Olymypics, It went to sudden death, and the final winner was Natasha.

Zech dominated two events, winning the diabolo toss event by catching 47 consecutive high throws.  no one else scored in the double digits.  He also beat Elana in the final round of the obstacle course, where the competitors had to go up and down stairs, over and under obstacles, dodge large balls thrown by their opposing team, and juggle while walking on a 12 foot long board.  

Time was running out on day one, and we just had time for the relay race.  The legs were:  three ball juggler, another three ball juggler, silk juggler, devil stick-er, and stilt walker.  Nathan and Zech were neck and neck on their stilts on the home stretch, but Zech won by a couple steps.  The day ended with the Skull Crushers having won five events, and the Blue Bengals two.

But what a difference a day makes.  Abbie won the endurance juggling event for the Bengals.  This left only the balloon javelin.  In this event, 260-E animal balloons are shot by putting one's index finger into the end of the inflated balloon, and releasing it.  While an individual winner was impossible to determine as all balloons were launched simultaneously, the top two, and three of the top four were blue signifying a victory for the Blue Bengals.  The overll final score, therefore, was Skull Crushers 5 events, and Blue Bengals 4.  Awards were given out, the balloon javelins were made into balloon swords, and the traditional post-Olympic balloon swashbucking began.  Or, at least, it seems like this could become a tradition, and least in the bizarre world of junior high kids.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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