By Kyle Petersen

To be sure, there are plenty of bizarre names for sports teams across the nation: the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, the Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes and of course the Orlando Magic. One Catholic school in Upstate New York, however, has selected a moniker near and dear to our hearts, the Notre Dame Jugglers.

We’re not talking about the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish (another wacky, somewhat offensive, sports team name) in South Bend, Indiana but rather Notre Dame Junior-Senior High School of Utica, New York. The team’s mascot harkens back to the medieval french legend of le Jongleur de Notre Dame (as adapted from the school’s website):

“Once there was a very talented juggler named Barnabe who decided to become a monk. Now, it was the custom of the monastery to do things in honor of the Virgin Mary. One monk would write poetry, another would sculpt statues, another would paint, and so on. The juggler could do nothing like this and became very depressed. Suddenly, one day he was happy again. The prior noticed Barnabe’s change in behavior and wondered what caused it. One night, he decided to follow Barnabe and discovered the juggler in the chapel performing his juggling tricks in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Horrified, the prior ran to get the abbot to see the sacrilege that was being committed in the chapel. But when they both arrived to stop Barnabe they saw the statue come to life and the Virgin wipe the sweat off the brow of the juggler.”

In case anyone was wondering, yes, their girls’ basketball team is known at “The Lady Jugglers”.

Shockingly, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of actual jugglers or juggling at Notre Dame. While the school boasts a student newspaper, a chess club and a color guard, there seems to be no juggling club. Nonetheless, Notre Dame has my support. Go Jugglers!

Below, watch juggler Paul Ponce in a somewhat-creepy theatrical representation of the legend of Barnabe the juggler, performed at Circo del Arte.

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