Juggling is creative outlet for engineering freshman Sarah Earl

A trip to the grocery store with Sarah Earl could get interesting. Oranges? Apples? All she wants to do is start juggling (she usually holds back).

The freshman electrical engineering major and amateur juggler is unassuming about her rather impressive hobby. She has always loved math, and both math and juggling require pattern recognition. “When you see a pattern, and the pattern clicks, it’s like when you solve a big long math problem,” explained Earl, who is currently taking Calculus III.

And when she nails a complicated juggling trick? “It’s the best feeling ever.”

The Fort Collins native discovered juggling in 8th grade. She found she picked it up quickly ­­– for which she is swift to credit good teachers. She can do various tricks with up to five balls (or other objects) now, and is starting on six. She’s dabbled in torch-tossing and club-passing. She has attended several International Juggler’s Association festivals, and has come away with a few age-group prizes, including for “joggling” — running a mile while juggling. “I did cross-country, too,” she notes.

At CSU, Earl has found a like-minded community with the CSU Circus Club. The club meets on Friday afternoons, and includes not just traditional toss jugglers, but enthusiasts of performance arts like poi, flow and Claymotion (a style of juggling). Many professionals incorporate a combination of these skills in their performances, Earl explained.  

So while Earl certainly likes juggling alone, she’s also eager to practice with and learn from other jugglers — some of them professional performers — in the Fort Collins and Boulder areas, as well as with the CSU Circus Club.

“Juggling is a creative outlet that helps me focus,” says Earl, who describes herself as an introvert. She also plays violin in the CSU Concert Orchestra, and enjoys drawing.