Bring on the circus

Monika Spaulding, Digital Editor

Last weekend, our family did something none of us had done before...we went to the circus! We decided to surprise the girls with tickets to the Kosair Shrine Circus for a Valentine’s Day treat. I’m not big on chocolates and flowers. I’d rather go do something!

When I came across the circus a couple of months ago, it seemed like a fun opportunity. And it was!

I had always pictured the circus to be more about animals, you know, lions and tigers and elephants. What I had never considered is how many acts and performers were in the show and how stressed I would be from watching them!

Oh my gosh!

First, let me say that I do not like heights. And I really don’t like heights if there is nothing keeping me from falling.

So, there were these guys on the Wheel of Death. I repeat, Wheel of Death. 

Here is a definition I found online: “The Wheel of Death, in the context of acrobatic circus arts, is a large rotating apparatus on which performers carry out synchronized acrobatic skills. The ‘wheel’ is actually a large space frame beam with hooped tracks at either end, within which the performers can stand. As the performers run around on either the inside or outside of the hoops, the whole apparatus rotates. Performers also perform balancing skills with the wheel in a stationary position.”

And they have nothing keeping them on the wheel. At one point, the performer who was several, several feet up in the air right in front of us, was jumping rope on the outside of the rotating wheel when he tripped. I swear my heart stopped. Even my husband sucked in his breath! But no fears, he caught himself and got right back where he needed to be.

My oldest daughter, Ellie, and I both buried our faces. I practically held my breath the rest of his performance.

When he was done, he came by our seats to get ready for the next act and talked to Katie. I’m pretty sure she was in disbelief that he was standing there talking to her after what he’d just done.

The human canon ball, (what?!) was Abby’s favorite. I’m not sure how that works, but I can assure you no one could talk me into shimmying my way down a cannon and being shot out of it! I was sure we were going to be at the one show where he missed the net. Thankfully, he landed right where he was supposed to and we didn’t have to witness anything terrible.

The man shooting arrows over a woman’s head was also a favorite for our crew. Again, I closed my eyes several times. A few times I watched Jonathan’s face to see how he reacted instead of actually watching it myself. These people are brave. I mean one little mess up and that arrow is going in someone’s forehead!

I’ve decided that the performance with the elephants was my favorite thing to watch. They are my favorite animal and they were beautiful. I didn’t feel nervous or worried! I just sat back and enjoyed watching them do their thing.

I was amazed by the patience and the care these performers and trainers have, as well as the animals. It was obvious there was a lot of love and respect between them. As much as I enjoyed the animal portion of the show, you could not pay me enough money to get in a cage with six tigers.

I definitely think we made some memories that day. Our girls absolutely loved it and all three had a different favorite part. It was fun listening to them all talk about it after the show. 

I have a new respect for the circus, but I don’t plan on joining it anytime soon!

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