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Library visitors learn the basics of juggling

By Staff | Jul 23, 2009

Last Thursday, Cape Coral resident Gerard Tricarico brought his “Out of my Hands” juggling workshop to kids and adults at the Captiva Memorial Library for the Lee County Library System’s “Be Creative @ Your Library” 2009 summer program.

A group of nearly 20 curious Captivans and visitors turned up for Tricarico’s hour-long juggling and magic extravaganza and, as a bonus, everyone was given the opportunity to learn how to juggle.

“Someone taught me back in 1988. I was working at the tennis courts for the city of Cape Coral and a tennis instructor taught me how to juggle,” said Tricarico, who’s job as a recreational aide was to sweep, answer phones, take out garbage and pick up tennis balls.

One day, Tricarico recalled, the instructor began to juggle tennis balls just for fun and Tricarico decided to ask the man to teach him.

“He took the time to show me the right way to juggle,” Tricarico said.

He’s been juggling ever since.

“I really have a love for doing this,” he said.

Tricarico now owns his own juggling performance business called “Out of my Hands” and puts on shows and workshops from Tampa to Marco Island, visiting schools, libraries and even performing locally at his church.

Tricarico says his record stands at 1,000 -performing for at least 1,000 people over the course of only one day, that is.

But at the Captiva library, the crowd – and the average age – is much smaller.

The excited group of youngsters and parents filled the Captiva Community Center and watched Tricarico perform various feats of skill and coordination and many mysterious magic acts.

After juggling mini-baseball bats, coins, basketballs, a bowling pin and tennis balls of varying sizes (not all at the same time of course), it was time for the audience to try their hand at juggling.

For safety reasons, audience members were given pink scarves and some basic instructions. Then, Tricarico built up the challenge-level by giving the fledgling jugglers some different tricks to try – including Tricarico’s “criss-cross-applesauce” technique – and ultimately handing out two more scarves.

“It really is a workout,” said parent Sue Borschke as she and her daughters, Lucy and Sara, tried to master criss-crossing two scarves.

“When you think of juggling, most people think of court jesters, gypsies and the circus. I’m trying to get away from that,” Tricarico said, noting that juggling isn’t always just about fun.

Even mastering the basics takes discipline, practice and a don’t-give-up attitude, something that Tricarico feels is an important lesson to teach young people.

“I start them off with scarves, because they’re easy to catch and you can encourage the kids. It’s good for their self-esteem,” Tricarico explained.

“It’s a fun thing to do, but you have to take it seriously. You want them to learn it and you want them to have a good time – especially now with a bad economy. People want to get away and do something fun.”