People who don’t juggle call juggling clubs “pins”. Besides humming “Enter the Gladiators” or calling us clowns it’s the thing that bothers jugglers most. It’s understandable that it bothers us, we know that they are called clubs. That is their name, yet, the layperson continues to call them pins. That’s because they look like bowling pins. So they persist in calling them pins and we persist in correcting them and calling them clubs. Why?
There is already a disconnect between what a juggler knows and understands and what an audience knows and understands about juggling. We’ve all talked about how an audience can’t tell the difference between 5 and 7 objects. We all know that your cool three ball trick is lost on the average muggler (or No-Jug for the American readers). We’ve all taken steps in our shows to make sure that the presentation is built in such a way to be accessible to our audience. Why not take it a step further and just call them pins?
We are already asking our audience to take in a lot of information as comedy jugglers. Juggling is a separate thing from the rest of people’s lives. It’s strange movements AND objects are being manipulated in a non-rational ways AND we are asking them to listen to our jokes AND we are asking them to accept our puffy pants, three piece suits, and converse. It’s too much. Some jugglers combat this by wearing contemporary clothing and juggling everyday objects. By doing that you are removing two of the barriers that an audience must work through to appreciate and enjoy the show.
Calling them pins is an easy way to add relatability to the show without changing anything. By calling them pins you get a free association. The mugglers will associate them with bowling pins (which they already do) and because people have some concept of what a bowling pin is, they will appreciate it more. You call them pins and you still get to juggle with a balanced professionally made prop and they appreciate it more. It’s win win for everyone.
Save the word “club” for depositions and baby seals.