Local juggler has mastered his hobby

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 15, 2001

If juggling is considered an art form, then Larry Nordstrom is a Rembrandt.

Thursday, March 15, 2001

If juggling is considered an art form, then Larry Nordstrom is a Rembrandt. He’s at least among the most accomplished jugglers in Freeborn County.

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Upon walking into his home between Manchester and Freeborn, evidence of Nordstrom’s hobby is everywhere. Baseballs, pool balls, clear acrylic orbs, batons, knives and other jugglers’ implements lay about his living room.

&uot;Whenever I have a spare moment, it pick something up and juggle it,&uot; Nordstrom said. &uot;It’s like second nature.&uot;

Nordstrom began juggling as a young teenager with golf balls. He discovered he had a knack for it, and progressed into other objects and higher numbers of them. He continued to hone his concentration, stamina and coordination.

That was 24 years ago. Now he ranks among the best jugglers around, especially with his object of choice, the bowling pin.

&uot;I don’t know why jugglers don’t use bowling pins more often. They’re perfect for juggling. They have the right shape and a good weight to them,&uot; Nordstrom said.

His trademark skill is making the pins flip at astonishing speeds, reaching up to five rotations before they slap into his hand again. Nordstrom doubts any other juggler can achieve four rotations with a bowling pin, let alone five. Add some black lights and pounding music, and it’s a sight Nordstrom says people don’t forget.

&uot;It’s something I’ve been working on for years. I mean I can juggle flaming torches and all that stuff, but to me the bowling pins are more impressive,&uot; Nordstrom said.

The pins actually weigh about 3 1/2 pounds, and can cause injury. Nordstrom has an eight-stitch scar on his brow to prove it.

As a juggler, Nordstrom actually prefers heavier objects, though they can be more dangerous. One of his favorite juggling objects are a trio of seven-pound iron batons.

&uot;The heavy stuff is actually better to juggle because they’re easier to control. It’s harder to have an errant toss,&uot; Nordstrom said.

Though he welcomes opportunities to perform and is a regular at regional festivals and events, Nordstrom has never had aspirations beyond the occasional engagement. He values juggling as a enjoyable pastime and good exercise.

&uot;It’s a hobby. It has always been that to me,&uot; he said. &uot;Many people have suggested to me over the years that I should take the act on the road, try to make a life from it. I don’t think it’s for me.&uot;

Instead, Nordstrom prefers keeping his talents close to home. Children are his favorite audience.

&uot;Kids are so much fun to perform for. They just get this glow on their faces when they’re amazed by something,&uot; Nordstrom said.

Nordstrom is available for local parties and events of all kinds. For more information call 507-863-2150.