Saturday, April 15, 2006

juggling: WJF on ESPN2

April 14th at 2:30pm est on ESPN2 the World Juggling Federation 2004 advanced clubs competition, 2005 Advanced balls competition and advanced clubs competition were shown. Since I was at work, I had to tape them. I'm glad I did. It is really amazing how much better people got between 2004 and 2005. If you get a chance to see them they are pretty cool. The 2005 shows were much better. I like Penn Jillete and all, but the color commentary by him and Ben Jennins on 2004 was more than a bit distracting. Penn as an emcee is good, but that should have been the end of it. You can tell that this was the first year of the show and it was not clear to all involved that this was supposed to be fun, but serious. If juggling is going to be taken as a serious sport, the first displays of it on TV cannot be so flippant. Even still, there was some good juggling shown. The 2005 shows were much better. First of all, the commentary was provided by Oewn Morse and John Wee from Passing Zone and was very informative. The competition in 2005 was much tougher. I was amazed by some of the stuff I saw. If someone can watch that and be impressed by a 3 ball cascade ever again I would be surprised :) If you are in doubt about the skills of Vova Galchenko, just watch.

Now, if you dig a little deeper, you find that this whole deal is organized by the president of the WJF, Jason Garfield. After reading his book, I bet he is pleased with the 2005 event. It really made watching juggling as accessible as watching (gulp) figure skating. Good commentary (the 2005 shows) helped you understand what was going on and showed the non-juggler that juggling is just as organized and intense as other 'form based' sports (figure skating, gymnastics, etc). A more in depth scoring guide would be cool for anal folks. (Hey Jason can you post this at the WJF?) Overall, I'm gonna keep this tape and watch it again. Next time I watch, I'll do a new post and review the routines (from my limited perspective).

I guess unless ESPN2 replays these again, the only way to check them out is by buying the DVDs from the WJF store, but unfortunately only 2004 is available at the moment..
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