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Interview With An Island Joggler

The other day we talked about a school that was offering a college course on Joggling. Well, this had me intrigued so I contacted the course originator Dana Lee Ling to see if I couldlongtime joggler get some more information. This could be a new feature on Just Your Average Joggler…interviews with jogglers.The following is an interview with Dana Lee Ling done through email.

Introduction: Dana Lee Ling a Professor and Chair of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics at the College of Micronesia, Pohnpei. He holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and also a BS in Astronomy from the same school. He even has a Chicago connection as he graduated from Evanston Township High School which is right near the city.

JYAJ: When did you start?

LING: I began jogging in 1978 while in college in Florida. Later, in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1985, my Ghanaian house mate was up an avocado tree tossing down ripe avocados with great rapidity. I had to catch each carefully and then bend over to set them gently on the ground. At one point I did not have time to bend over, so I lofted one avocado back up, caught the next one falling, and then caught the lofted avocado. Although not juggling, I suddenly seized on the idea that I could probably do that repeatedly if I tried. About a month later I finally figured out how to shower three, then I quickly figured out cascading. Backwards I guess, but I was on my own teaching myself.

JYAJ: Why did you start to joggle?

LING: I did not do much more than juggle three objects for a number of years, no tricks, nothing special. In 1986, I was goofing around after a run with three tennis balls when I realized I could jog and juggle. I struggled with doing this on the sidestreets of Pohnpei for the next few months, gradually getting good enough to handle the roads of Pohnpei replete with their potholes.

JYAJ: Do you joggle in public?

LING: I usually exercise by jogging and juggling, the kids all recognize me by that. After fifteen years here, I now have college students who used to be little kids watching me along the roads of this very small island.

I did not learn until much later that what I was doing had a name!

JYAJ: Do you do any joggling races?

LING: I now joggle the four or five 5k events on Pohnpei each year. My longest joggling “race” was a couple 10ks around 2000. I say “race” because I trundle along at anywhere from 6.5 minutes per kilometer to 7 minutes per kilometer. Yes, per kilometer. The tropical heat and humidity take care of the sweating part of the routine.

JYAJ: What about the joggling college course?

LING: The course ran for three years during a time when the college had no ESS instructor. The course is no longer offered, but may again be run at some future time. I learned that all of my Micronesian students – and that is the only students we have here – can learn to joggle usually by midterm, about the eighth week. I figure that class might have been the only college course for credit where joggling was the sole goal of the course. For the dubious, it is akin to an introduction to the sport of fitness running seen in many other colleges. It was always quite a sight to see the whole class joggling down the frontage road.

JYAJ: Do you have any advice for would-be jogglers?

LING: Out here a key word of advice is to not look at your balls. There are cars, potholes, low hanging branches, and loose dogs to pay attention to!

Thank you Professor Ling! Hopefully, this has inspired some of the JYAJ faithful to do a Google search and find out just where the heck is Pohnpei.

And go here for more for more joggling interviews.

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