Monday, August 14, 2006

Jason Garfield Haters

There are 139 more days until I reach my third anniversary of juggling. I have learned a lot about juggling during those previous 956 days. What I didn't expect to learn about was the people involved in the juggling world. I had no idea when I fell in love with and became addicted to juggling that there were so many talented jugglers whose performances inspire, entertain, and make us laugh. I had never seen a professional juggler before I had started juggling.

One such professional juggler that I've had the chance to meet is Jason Garfield. The first time I saw Jason was at the Portland Juggling Festival (PJF) in September 2004. I had been juggling for nearly 9 months at that point in time and had not been to a festival yet. I had no idea who Jason Garfield or anybody else was in the juggling world.

So here I am walking around, amazed by all of the talent around me, most of which appear to be hippies and juggling geeks. I have nothing against hippies, I'm just painting a picture for you... and now I'm one of those geeks. Then I see in the distance a man walking around outside. This man was very strong and muscular with a shaved head. He was wearing a black tank top with white and red lettering on it. From a distance, I thought the letters spelled UFC which I know stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The UFC is an intense sport fighting competition where people try to seperate other people's body parts using their bare hands. He appeared to be angry at someone or something as he was walking, and I was afraid that some unfortunate juggler was going to be the victim of a vicious attack by a well trained killing machine.

Fast forward to the PJF main show. I was lucky to have a friend's unicycle troupe performing in the main show and was allowed into the venue to watch the performers warm up. I saw the muscular man again and realized he was a performer. He didn't appear to be angry either. In fact, he was joking around and laughing with the other performers who were warming up. I got the impression that this guy with a killer look was actually very friendly and funny.

Fast forward from World Juggling Federation I (WJF) in December 2004 to the present. At this point I know who Jason Garfield is. I know he started the WJF as a way to promote technical juggling. I understand that he does not appreciate clowns and that he doesn't believe Chris Bliss' juggling finale is hard juggling. Jason has developed for himself an angry juggler persona which has turned off quite a few people.

This post is all about people who seem to hate Jason Garfield the persona versus hating Jason Garfield the person. I would like to offer evidence that Jason Garfield the person is actually a friendly and funny guy.

Below are some pictures I had Crizzly (the kilt guy) take of Jason and I at a celebration dinner after the Seattle International Juggling Festival in June 2006. On Jason's way out, I asked him if I could get a picture and he said yes. Since everybody was done eating at this point, everybody was watching us. I didn't just want a picture though, I wanted Jason to look really pissed off in the picture, playing off of his persona. So I asked him to do that. He agreed.

The first picture below is of Jason laughing histerically along with everyone at that dinner table. It was tough for Jason to keep a straight face in front of his friends. Believe me, we were all laughing incredibly hard with him.

The second picture below is Jason attempting to compose himself in front of his friends and associates. He covered his face for a few moments to help himself. Meanwhile everyone is still laughing.

The last picture shows Jason was able to pull it off. He looks angry, kind of.

I was after one simple picture and got three fantastic pictures and an amazing memory as well. This event secured in my mind that Jason Garfield, the person, is as human as you and I. I urge those of you who are Jason Garfield haters to think about this event whenever you feel the need to bash him.

Quote of the Day

Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open. ~Elmer G. Letterman


At 5:02 AM, Blogger juggleritus said...

I've never met him, but started to like him after seeing about 200 videos of him. You should check ou his wjf profile on for his idea about juggling.


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