The Art of Juggling Sports and Safety


Pictures provided by Samantha Rodriguez. Coordinated by Alejandra Gerlach

photo provided by Samantha Rodriguez

In order to keep athletes and students involved with club and intramural sports during this time of remote learning, TU Recreation announced a virtual juggling competition. The requirement? Students had to show off their juggling skills in a creative way.

The video submissions were posted on TU Recreation’s Instagram story on Sept. 11th, 14th, and 16th, where the public could vote for the winner. The prizes included an Intramural (IM) Champion t-shirt and a $25 gift card to local sports bar Bombay Bicycle Club.

While the competition had two categories—hands only and feet only—the initial idea proposed by captains of Trinity’s Women’s Club Soccer was a foot juggling contest intended to engage team members both on and off-campus in lieu of normal club activities, according to Samantha Rodriguez, junior and co-captain of the women’s club soccer team.

“We wanted to come up with ways for our off-campus players to interact with the club, and so whenever Emi [Mondragon, who is also a co-captain] presented the idea to Kristen [Harrison], Kristen was super enthusiastic about it,” said Rodriguez.

According to Kristen Harrison, Associate Director of Athletics for Recreation and Sports Camp, she saw the potential to expand the contest parameters.

“They presented me with a few [ideas], obviously the juggling competition —originally they just wanted to do just a foot juggling competition, and I said, ‘Well, if we’re going to make this an intramural event, let’s make two categories, hand juggling and feet juggling.’ So that way it opens it up for more people to get involved because not everybody can juggle with their feet and not everybody can juggle with their hands,” said Harrison.

Women’s Club Soccer co-captains Rodriguez and Mondragon who—along with Aislinn Marcee, sophomore co-captain —were the brains behind the challenge, submitted a video in the feet only category with team members Margherita Contestabili, senior, Bridget Susman, sophomore, and Sarah Heidt, senior, in which the group juggled a home-made COVID-19 piñata. The video by the group ended up winning the feet only category.

“Sam really came up with the idea for it to be a piñata, and then I found there was a trend that people made coronavirus piñatas… I had some acrylic black and white paint and I said we could use that and make it grey, and then we just bought a circular piñata from Party City and painted over it and got some pipe cleaners and poked them in,” said Mondragon.

Another creative submission was made by Mark Lewis, computer science professor and roller skating instructor, who is known to teach students how to juggle in the hallway outside of his office. Lewis’s submission, which ultimately won the hands only category, included juggling with a basketball on roller skates, and then juggling medicine balls. According to Lewis, his original submission, which had to be trimmed for time, also included a juggling tutorial and a segment in which he read from a textbook while juggling.

“I really do teach students how to juggle in the hallway outside of my office, which was a significant part of the video, and I was like, ‘You know, I’ll actually play off of that,’ and just kind of roll with the idea of how you go about learning it and teaching it. I figure as a professor that kind of makes sense to do this as a teaching type of thing,” said Lewis.

Although the juggling competition has drawn to a close, there will be many more opportunities for students to get active and engage in recreational sports both on and off-campus, according to Harrison.

Later this month, TU Recreation plans to announce a Trick Shot competition that will allow students to submit videos of themselves doing trick shots to win a prize. Other virtual contests are also in the works. One big virtual event that Trinity will host this semester is their annual Turkey Trot.

“We always do the Turkey Trot the Thursday before Thanksgiving. This year we’re not going to do it in person, it will be virtual, so what we’re going to do is that week […] we’re going to open it up for anyone to go ahead and just run 2.1 miles around campus, off-campus, wherever. [Students can] go ahead and take a screenshot of […] whatever app they use fitness-wise to gauge their distance and just email it to us, and the first 100 people, we’ll give them t-shirts,” Harrison said.

Harrison explained that, for on-campus students, there will be the opportunity to compete in person.

“Starting Friday [the 25th of September], we’re going to do our first individual tournament with table tennis. So the plan is, every Wednesday and Friday, we’re going to host some sort of tournament. So it’ll be Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Fridays at 3 p.m.,” Harrison said.

In addition to the table tennis tournament, there will be tournaments in disk golf, tennis singles, pickle-ball, as well as three-point and free throw competitions. Other potential tournaments, which have not been confirmed, include corn-hole, soccer golf and sand-volleyball serving.

These will be individual tournaments with a cap of eight participants. Students will need to sign up in advance at the IM Leagues website ( and be cleared as healthy by a Conversa green pass in order to participate. Recreation will provide the necessary equipment for each participant, which will be sanitized using a Clorox 360 machine. They will also enforce social distancing and proper mask use throughout the competitions.