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Boston mess

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The Boston mess is a pattern where the arms cross and uncross like in Mills mess, but the three balls go straight up and down in three separate columns.

3 reachovers 200Half Boston mess reaching over the arm 3 reachunders 200Half Boston mess reaching under the arm
3 boston mess 2003 ball full Boston mess 4 boston mess 2004 ball Boston mess

Start with two balls in your right hand and one in your left hand. Throw the first two balls straight up, one from the right hand and then one the left hand, and cross your arms so you can catch the ball on the right with your left hand, on the right side of the pattern. With your arms still crossed, throw the next ball from your right hand straight up through the middle of the pattern, and catch the ball on the left with your right hand, on the left side of the pattern. Now throw the right-column and left-column balls straight up again, but since your arms are still crossed, this time you throw the ball on the right with your left hand, and the ball on the left with your right hand. Uncross your arms so you can catch the ball on the right with your right hand, throw the middle ball straight up with your left hand, and catch the ball on the left in your left hand. Then you can repeat the pattern. This is a half Boston mess, which can be done two different ways: when you cross your arms, your left arm can go either over your right arm, or under it.

To do the full Boston mess, alternate crossing your left arm over and under your right arm. This results in a 12-beat pattern:

  • Right hand throws in right column & (unless you're just starting the pattern) catches in middle column with arms uncrossed
  • Left hand throws in left column & catches in right column with arm on top
  • Right hand throws in middle column & catches in left column with arm underneath
  • Left hand throws in right column & catches in middle column with arm on top
  • Right hand throws in left column & catches in right column with arms uncrossed
  • Left hand throws in middle column & catches in left column with arms uncrossed
  • Right hand throws in right column & catches in middle column with arms uncrossed
  • Left hand throws in left column & catches in right column with arm underneath
  • Right hand throws in middle column & catches in left column with arm on top
  • Left hand throws in right column & catches in middle column with arm underneath
  • Right hand throws in left column & catches in right column with arms uncrossed
  • Left hand throws in middle column & catches in left column with arms uncrossed
  • (return to top of list)

This is not a symmetrical pattern - the throws keep going through the columns from left to right: right-left-middle-right-left-middle-right-left-middle-right... Doing a Boston mess with right and left reversed (follow all the instructions above replacing right with left and left with right) is the same as doing the time-reversed version of the pattern.

Boston Mess & Cherry Picker Juggling Tutorial 706:41

Boston Mess & Cherry Picker Juggling Tutorial 7

Boston mess and cherry picker tutorial

The 4 ball version of Boston mess is an 8-beat pattern with four columns.

Video: 4 club Boston mess by Christof Buch

VariationsEdit

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