Press releases were sent out, the festival came and went, and the IJA’s plaque came in the mail and was hung on the wall moments later. Little did I know what else was coming my way… As it would turn out, BOTH the Democratic and Republican senators from Pennsylvania heard about this award and had plans of their own!
On July 12th, Senator Bob Casey (D) had the flag raised over the US Capitol building to “…honor Thomas Wall – an academic and circus performer who works to preserve American performing arts history.” Two days later, on the 14th, Senator Patrick Toomey (R) also had the flag raised over the US Capitol building “…in recognition of Thomas Wall and his receipt of the International Jugglers’ Association Excellence in Education Award… a lifetime achievement which has been given out fewer than 30 times since the organization began in 1947.”
Does juggling truly cross the aisle and generate bipartisan support? Is juggling the “great uniter”? (Or was there a simple paperwork mix-up?) In either event, the hallway leading to MVP’s office is now a patriotic stroll between a pair of flags–as tall as the corridor itself–flown over my nation’s capitol in recognition of the work I do. And that’s pretty cool.
A massive thank-you to the International Jugglers’ Association, my artistic and academic collaborators, and everyone who’s suffered through long-winded answers to questions about juggling technique and history. You’ve made this juggler swell with pride and have encouraged him to stay the course.