Tobyn Pearson has officially traded in his life of 30-plus years of corporate jet-setting and meetings in board rooms for a new one “here in paradise.”
The Ontario native worked for one of the country’s largest steel companies up until just last year, when they offered him a transfer to somewhere he didn’t really want to be. They settled on a compensation package, instead, and he asked his wife where she wanted to live.
“We could have moved anywhere,” he says. “I told her, ‘wherever you want to go, we can go.’ And she said she picked Campbell River.”
They’d been here a few times on vacation, visiting some of his family, and she’d fallen in love with the town – “she’s kind of outdoorsy,” he says. He had fallen in love with Campbell River, too, even though he’s admittedly “more of an inside kind of guy.”
But now he needs something to do with himself. He’s not in a big hurry to find a job right away, but he doesn’t really want to just sit around doing nothing, either.
So he’s starting a juggling club in Robert Ostler Park.
“I’ve been juggling and doing magic my whole life,” he says. “Everywhere I went for work, I’d bring my stuff along with me and do some shows for charities or kids organizations or whoever. It was just a way to give back to the community I was in.”
And now he wants to give back some more, this time to the community he’s hoping to call home for the next many, many years.
“I’m just hoping we can get a few people down at the park and throwing some stuff around for fun,” Pearson says. “I’ll have some balls and clubs and scarves for people to try, but if people want to bring some tennis balls or something along, that would be great. I’m more than happy to teach people, too. That’s probably my favourite part of juggling: helping people who don’t think they can do it.”
Pearson says juggling – as complicated as it looks – is really not as hard as people think. If you can toss a ball from one hand to the other, you can juggle.
“I’ve handed things to seven-year-olds and had them juggling within a minute or two,” he says. “It’s not something that’s complicated. It’s more about not letting your mind get in the way and keeping it from telling you that you can’t do what you’re actually doing.”
And it has significant health benefits, he says.
“When you’re juggling, everything else in your brain just goes away,” he says. “There’s no worrying about what you have to do at work the next day or worrying about bills or anything else. You can’t think about anything else while you’re focusing on throwing and catching – then throwing and catching again – and that’s really very good for you, I think, to just turn your mind off for a while.”
It also helps develop hand/eye coordination, obviously, “and I guess there’s some minimal physical exercise involved, too,” he says with a laugh.
The club will meet Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. at Robert Ostler Park, beginning May 28. He wanted to start it sooner, but he says he’d rather wait until the weather would be more consistently cooperative.
There will be no fees, rental charges for equipment or any kind of membership dues, Pearson says. It’s all about just having some fun in a park – and maybe making some new friends while you’re at it. Heck, you don’t even have to “join” the club. You can just stop by the park and give it a try.
For more information, contact Pearson at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his website, tobynpearson.com