ORLANDO, Fla. — The pandemic is leading many people to try out new hobbies and activities, some people are making cocoa bombs while others learning how to crochet.
An Orlando teen has spent these past few months ensuring he's widely known for his hobby and now, he's down in the Guinness World Records to prove it.
When the pandemic began, 17-year-old Joey Toscano found himself without too many activities to juggle — so he amped up his juggling game.
“I was just bored,” said Joey Toscano.
Getting this skill off the ground took time to master. He first tried juggling out around four years ago.
“Throw the ball, ball goes over here," he said. "And I was like dang it, so I was frustrated a little bit."
Eventually, the 17-year-old was finally able to get everything airborne in the right rhythm.
“It got to a point where I could just juggle normally,” Joey said.
“He’s known as the kid, ‘oh, you’re kid is the one that rides around the neighborhood, juggling on a unicycle,” said Wendy Toscano, Joey's mother.
Growing up using balance boards, juggling and unicycling, Joey's mom Wendy jokes that she wanted to pass these same circus-like skills down to her sons. And, she said, she's glad that Joey stuck with juggling balls and not fire.
“That always made me nervous because he’d be juggling fire and I’d be like, just do it by the pool! If you catch on fire, you can jump in the pool,” she said.
Last year, Joey got the idea to get his juggling prowess written down in the record books but the question that followed was how?
“And the first one I saw, it was longest time spent juggling three balls. It was 13 hours. I was with my dad at the time, and said 'Dad what do you think about that one?' He said no,” Joey said.
Instead, he opted to try for breaking the record for juggling while on a balance board. The previous record, Toscano said, was 41 minutes and 19 seconds.
But that skill too, took time to learn. His first try, he lasted around 15 seconds. Finally, he was able to balance the board while juggling for well over an hour, smashing the previous record.
It's an intensive process to document.
"You know, we had to have two timekeepers with stopwatches, we had the two GoPros set up. We had two computer screens up, keeping the time, and we had people spread out with masks. Setting a world record during a pandemic has its challenges and then, he wore his mask for the whole hour and two minutes setting the record," Wendy said.
But formally earning the title of world record holder took months of watching and waiting.
“I put my application in last March. I found out a week ago,” Joey said.
“We’re all very relieved, too! We didn’t want to have to start all over with Guinness,” Wendy said.
After months of trying, Joey Toscano's talent has officially turned into a world record. At least, for now.
“You never know, I could say that today and tomorrow, somebody breaks it,” Joey said.
Even if his record now eventually breaks, Toscano said he’s glad Guinness now counts him"‘best in the world".
“Definitely,” he said.