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Juggling His Way Through Life

Nick Gregory juggles tennis racquets at 4.5 Senior Nationals.
Nick Gregory juggles at Nationals

By Kevin Wittner, USTA.com

TUCSON, Ariz. – Some young boys grow up wanting to be a firefighter. Others dream of becoming an astronaut, or perhaps a basketball player. Nick Gregory wanted to be a juggler.

Gregory, who is competing this weekend for the Middle States section at the USTA 4.5 Senior League National Championships, has been making a living as a professional juggler in Philadelphia for decades.

A native of Wayland, Mass., Gregory was influenced by the Fantasy Jugglers of Harvard Square. With that inspiration and the same hand-eye coordination that earned him a tennis scholarship to Temple University where he majored in theater, Gregory developed into a capable juggler, performing in the New Market area in Philadelphia.

Gregory no longer performs on the street, as he is a member of a juggling troupe named Give & Take, which works more than 150 events per years.

“We do all kinds of gigs,” Gregory said. “We do school events, bar mitzvahs, fairs, corporate events, you name it. We also do funny jobs like an Upsherin, which is the first haircut on an Orthodox Jew’s third birthday. It’s a big hoopla for them, and they needed a juggler.”

Gregory describes Give & Take’s performance as a theatrical show, involving everything from juggling fire to a Cirque du Soleil-like aerial display.

The shows, which are tailored for unique audiences and different age groups, contain lighter moments as well with Gregory juggling a bowling ball, a bocce ball and an egg.

Laughing as he describes this portion of the show, Gregory says, “People want to make sure it’s a real egg, so we juggle it with a frying pan and a torch. The egg goes in the frying pan, with the torch underneath, and we cook the egg.”

The scope of the performances can be difficult to picture in one’s head, but Give & Take’s Web site, jugglers.com, features a six-minute video of past performances, displaying the variety involved in the act.

As for the craziest thing he has thing he juggles?

“I juggle a small child,” Gregory said. “No, I’ve never dropped one, but you’ve got to see it.”

If you’re in Philadelphia, you just might. Gregory could probably juggle it into his schedule.

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