Jump Back Ball Shop Nights

Jump Back Ball - Shop Night at PlayhouseSquare Idea Center

As a kid, I loved attacking anything I could with markers, paint and colored pencils. Still today, it’s an easy way to lift my spirits.

That’s why I get excited this time each year for Jump Back Ball Shop Nights.

I realize, though, I’m a little very weird. So if harnessing your inner Michelangelo isn’t your idea of a fun night out, why should you go to Shop Nights?

Well, I asked Scott – who I used to have to drag with me –  to share his story:

Jump Back Ball - Scott at Shop Night

Fun with glitter at Scott’s first Shop Night in 2011

I’ve sung on stage in front of hundreds of people. I’ve performed improv and sketch comedy in a dozen bars. Through cable I’ve broadcast myself doing ridiculous activities for the viewing pleasure of the population of Philadelphia.

I say these things not as some sort of weird ego boost, but to give perspective; if after all that I was reluctant and a little scared to attend a Jump Back Ball Shop Night, then no one should feel like this trepidation is out of the ordinary. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t misplaced.

I know it doesn’t make any sense for me to fear a small group of people making decorations for Cleveland’s most awesome party. It’s sort of like how I know the little house spider is of no actual threat to me, but I still jump and shiver whenever I see one.

Part of it is undoubtedly the unknown. What if the spider isn’t what I think it is? What if, at Shop Night, I mess up? I cut the wrong thing? I glue the wrong part? I step wrong, or trip, or sneeze, and suddenly I’ve ruined someone else’s hard work?

Through repeated actions I’ve learned not to be so fearful of the little spider. And through repeated visits to Shop Night, and working with the wonderful people there, I’ve learned that my fears of it are also unfounded.

Jump Back Ball - Shop Nights 2012

If it’s your first Jump Back Ball Shop Night, there are plenty of volunteers to help you

Shop Night is filled with friendly, helpful people, who are happy to be together making such wonderful things. And thus I learned that I couldn’t cut wrong, because someone would be there to show me how – or show me how to fix it when I deviated from the plan.

Glue can be undone, covered up, or creatively incorporated. And everything can be remade…sometimes better!

You’ll always have someone helpful nearby to show you whatever you need to know.

I’ve really come to enjoy Shop Nights. The people are welcoming and warm. The hum of the conversation and tools is comforting. Seeing things take shape around you is always amazing. There is an energy in the room, very similar to prepping and performing on the stage.

After all, we are creating a set – a set hundreds of people will be a part of, and I will be able to grin, point and say, “I helped make that!” to anyone who will listen.

Jump Back Ball - Scott celebrates

If you come to Shop Nights, you may have the inclination to celebrate at Jump Back Ball like this

And it is all for the good of Playhouse Square!

After a few years of Shop Nights I now look at my fear and know it is baseless. Just like I will never lose that uncomfortable feeling for spiders, I do still get butterflies when going to Shop Nights. But now I know that once I walk through the doors the butterflies will be gone, replaced by all the good will and energy overflowing from the work being done.

And if you’re not too full from that, there is always the free food.

Jump Back Ball - Wonderland Caterpillar

Where else can you help make the Alice in Wonderland Caterpillar?

Shop Nights will be held throughout February on the 4th floor of the Idea Center (accessible off of Dodge Court). Join us on the following dates from 5:30pm – 8:30pm and bring your friends:

  • Monday, February 4
  • Thursday, February 7
  • Monday, February 11
  • Wednesday, February 13
  • Monday, February 18
  • Thursday, February 21

You can find out more about Jump Back Ball Shop Nights and how you can get involved at playhousesquare.org/jumpbackball/involved.html.

This is part 5 of my Jump Back Two Spaces series. Check out my previous posts:

Please follow and like us:


  1. So true! I am not a crafty person at all, but I ended up loving Shop Nights and proudly pointing out my contributions at JBB last year. See you at a Shop Night soon!

  2. Nice to meet you and Scott Monday at Shop Night. Scott & I managed to combine our limited collective mechanical ability and actually built something that may work! Hope to see both of you at another one!

    • Nice to meet you too! We’re heading there a bit late tonight and then next week – can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

  3. Pingback: Clue Into Cleveland: Jump Back Two Spaces for Jump Back Ball 22

  4. Pingback: You Don't Need to be Q to Help Out at Jump Back Ball Shop Night

  5. Hi there, all is going well here and ofcourse every one is sharing information,
    that’s actually excellent, keep up writing.

    my blog … simply click the following site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>