Head Over Wheels: A Love Story
Before I found the German wheel, I thought you could only fall in love with a person.
I had things I liked, of course. I liked to read and write. I enjoyed playing tennis and learning languages. I loved juggling. But it wasn't until I stepped on a German wheel for the first time that I completely fell in love.
It was 2012, and I was at a juggling festival called MadFest in Madison, Wisconsin. A local performer, Rob Summerbell, owned two wheels at the time and thought it would be fun to bring them to the festival for jugglers to try. I had never seen a German wheel before, but as soon as he walked in, I was fascinated.
I immediately signed up to try. When it was my turn, he gave me some basic instructions and I started rocking back and forth. It felt fantastic. Rob took a step or two back and studied me. "Are you sure you've never done this before?" he asked.
Yes, I was sure. But I was also sure that I belonged in that wheel. After an errant fire alarm cut my rocking session short, the German wheel was all I could think about. Rob hosted a weekly wheel "jam session," and I went the very next day. That night, I fell asleep and dreamed about wheeling. The next night, the same thing happened, and then it happened again, every night for THREE WEEKS. That's when I knew it was possible to fall in love with something other than a person.
My boyfriend, Luke, asked when I was going to order a wheel. My eyes bugged out of my head. I hadn't even realized such a thing was possible, but after he suggested it, I couldn't stop thinking about it. We ordered a wheel together just one month after trying for the first time at MadFest.
Since then, my love for wheel has only intensified. It has led me to co-found an entirely new organization, the Madison Circus Space, so I could have a place to practice. It's inspired me to earn my coaching certification, a process that took three and a half years, thousands of dollars, and dozens of hours of practical training. It's brought me to wheel in places as incredible as Lignano, Italy; Taunusstein, Germany; and Tokyo, Japan. It's made me amazing friendships and connected me with hundreds of fascinating students who I would have otherwise never met.
I could have never dreamed when I was first rocking in that wheel that it would transform the entire course of my life. But I found a place where I knew I belonged, and staying there has made me the happiest I've ever been.