Monday, June 04, 2012

Jump Rope

The word for the month is jump. And when I think of jump I immediately add rope—jump rope. Growing up in the Bronx with sidewalks for a playing field, jump rope games vied with hopscotch and stickball. All you needed was an inexpensive rope or a wet clothesline and some footwork. We didn't know that jumping rope dated back to the Egyptian times when they used vines instead of rope.

How many times could you jump? Did you do double dutch jumping?

One of our favorite games involved two people standing a distance apart and each holding on to a rope end. Once they start moving their arms and the rope began its turns the third person —timing when the rope is in the air and when it hit the ground— jumps in and begins to jump rope. Not as easy as it sounds—wrong timing and your feet get tangled up in the rope.

The only competitions we had were created on the fly.

How many times could you jump before you missed? Who could skip rope up and down the street without stopping? How many jumping rhymes could you recite while jumping?

No one imagined international jump rope competitions or uniforms or anything better than a wet clothesline pounding the sidewalk.


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