Now I remember why I run a uni club!

Tuesday night at our regular club meeting and practice I was reminded of why I
go through all the trouble of running a club. Even if it is small (10-15
members) it still takes a lot of work to make everything happen properly.

A few weeks ago the club had the opportunity to put on a demonstration for the
YMCA at a local family nite in our high school. We attempted to demonstrate
uni-hockey. Since we had only started trying to hit the ball around a few weeks
prior we mostly just pushed the ball around and tried to steal it from each
other. We also talked to a few people and showed a few tricks. Even turned
around once and a lady was riding my unicycle. Seems she learned as a kid and
wants to ride again when she finds the time. Since we only had 1/2 the
basketball court and they were playing ball on the other half, it was only a
matter of time until the sheer number of ball players sort of chased us away.
Most of my riders had long since hit the swimming pool by then anyway.

As I was packing up all my “toys” a mom and her kids (and their friends) saw the
unicycles and were fascinated. Of course I used the small amount of floor space
left to show them what we are about. Even took the show outside so I wouldn’t
get hit by errantly tossed balls. The little girl didn’t want to leave, she was
totally hooked after just sitting on the unicycle.

I gave them a brochure and told them when practice was. She was there on time,
ready to go. After showing her how to get on and other stuff I show the new
riders, I left her alone. She only stopped to let another kid try. At the end of
practice she was riding about 8-10 feet on her own. Since I knew she was hooked
I let her take one of the club unicycles home and practice.

During the week she was practicing and took a good spill and her knee swelled up
so badly she had to have it x-rayed. It only slowed her down a little. Last
Tuesday she comes walking in and proceeded to ride about
1/3 the way across the gym. By the end of the night, she could free mount about
50% of the time ( and I never showed her how to do it, she just figured it
out), ride across the gym and dismount gracefully. I told her she could almost
pass level one and next Tuesday I would test her for level one. In our club
after passing level one, the rider get an official club T-Shirt. Her eyes lit
up when I mentioned the shirt (told her it would smell better than mine does)
and I have no doubt she will be wearing the shirt home. She is already asking
when the next parade is. After practice her mom pretty much had to forcefully
remove her from the wheel in the parking lot so they could go home. She was
all over the place.

I came home with a huge smile on my face, remembering the sheer joy and
exuberance kids (and sometimes adults) experience when they learn to ride. The
feeling is priceless and uncomparable.

This is how unicycling can be emotionally rewarding.

Since we can never get toooooo much chatter going here, how has unicycling been
emotionally rewarding to all you other riders.


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RE: Now I remember why I run a uni club!

Philip wrote

This is how unicycling can be emotionally rewarding.

Since we can never get toooooo much chatter going here, how has unicycling been
emotionally rewarding to all you other riders.

I have to say thay learning to ride the uni was one of the most satisfying
things I’ve ever learnt to do. I think part of that stems from the fact that it
seemed almost impossible when I started. Intellectually I knew I should be able
to do it because I could see other people making it look easy but emotionally I
had to convince myself.

Now it’s a great buzz being able to go out and ride and trying to learn new
things all the time.


Re: Now I remember why I run a uni club!

another warm fuzzy story

I am heavily involved with a Kids Circus in Brisbane, Australia. I was the
co-instigator, the co-director, one of the trainers, the set designer,
treasurer, secretary, funding body, costume designer and maker, … the list
goes on and on.

For the kids, juggling was great, learning acro was fun too, but the thing that
made it as “The thing to do” was easily unicycling.

One kid, David (who is diagnosed with ADD and behavioural problems) who has a
real bad record with every teacher at the school, most of the staff and several
of the parents decided to join the circus. Gulp!

He posed a problem from day one, disrupting things whenever he could. He was on
the verge of being kicked out for the third time… It was only about 4 weeks
into the training term - then he managed to get the hang of unicycling.

It took him a long time to get the hang of (about 2 weeks) but for all that time
he was persistant in his training, much more cooperative in general and even
more pleasant to be around.

David had only been riding for about two weeks when he was detirmined to try a
giraffe. He got up on the 5 foot in front of all of his peers, got scared and
came down. In the past in this situation I would have dreaded to see his
behaviour (got to be tough to save face, you know). His behaviour now was quite
the opposite. He acknowledged in front of everyone that it was pretty scary up
there, but he would try again next week.

The next week he tried again, did it and then was unstoppable. The second big
behavior change happened now. David was quite modest about his achievement and
became a lot more responsive to trying all sorts of other skills.

I would like to say that Circus (and unicycling) changed David’s life and solved
all his behaviour problems but I will be a bit more honest and just say that he
has become a lot more willing to try new things, is naw capable of not always
being the centre of attention and when he is the focus of the group he handles
it a lot better than before.

It has been well worth the amount of work put in as David is only one of 25 kids
who took part in the project.

Wayne van Wijk co-director Kids in the Air youth circus