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Jump, Jump, Jump!

Jump, Jump, Jump!
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
Jump, Jump, Jump!
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

As I worked on the computer the other day, I accidentally navigated to a video showcasing the “Jump Rope Dudes,” some lean, tan guys who post workout videos that revolve around jumping rope. Their motto is: Jump rope. Get Lean. Live more.

I don’t usually watch these types of videos, but the fact that jump ropes were involved caused me to take a closer look, and so I watched these shirtless guys jump rope for ten minutes. They made working out look fun and manageable.

My memory kicked in and moved back in time to when I was a little blonde-headed elementary school student with only one thing on my mind — recess.

As we filed onto the playground to burn off some energy, sometimes the teacher would bring out a long length of heavy rope, and we’d line up to jump and dance around the swinging rope.

We’d skip, twirl, and leap high in the air with our knees folded close to our chests, our pigtails or ponytails bouncing in sync with the rhythmic thump of the rope pounding the dirt with each rotation. Sometimes we’d chant as we jumped rope.

Cinderella, dressed in yellow, Went upstairs to kiss a ‘fella, Made a mistake and kissed a snake, How many doctors did it take? One, two, three, four, five… Each leap was a few moments of liberation as we soared higher and higher, defying gravity and embracing the swing of that single rope.

I hopped independently, but sometimes a friend or two would jump in and hop alongside me. The joy of jumping rope transcended the physical realm; it was a celebration of youth, friendship and togetherness. The playground came alive as we took turns, cheering on each other as we leaped into the unknown. This shared experience forged bonds that we thought would last forever. Some playground friendships did last beyond childhood. Others didn’t.

In my small circle of girlfriends, I was a master jump roper. However, there were less coordinated girls in my class who couldn’t swing a bat, couldn’t kick a ball, and couldn’t even jump in without the rope tripping up their legs or feet — the agony of defeat written all over their faces. But we were an encouraging tribe.

“You can do it!” we’d call to them, and sometimes, we’d help them jump in at precisely the right moment.

“Now! Jump! Jump! Jump!” we’d call, helping them understand how to maneuver their bodies avoiding the swing of the line. We’d clap for each other as if it was performance art, and I suppose it was.

Then in fifth grade, a teacher introduced us to jumping two ropes at the same time — each swinging a different direction. It was difficult at first, but I soon learned that it, too, was all about timing and consistency. I later learned that this was called “double dutch” jumping.

Jumping rope was more than a recess pastime. It was a game. It was a sport. It was an art form. It got us moving.

And that’s what I flashed back to last week as I watched the Jump Rope Dudes jump for fitness, health and wellbeing — adding a touch of fun (and nostalgia) to their easy workout routines.

Before I knew it, I was ordering a one-pound weighted jump rope off of Amazon for $12. I plan to try their 10-minute workout for a month, and see if it will help me tone up and get back into shape, not to mention improve my balance and agility — things we all tend to lose as we age.

I hope to reclaim the joy of jumping rope and rediscover the rhythm that beats within me — the childlike spirit that yearns to come out sometimes. Yes, I’ll use that jump rope as a means of exercise but also to celebrate life itself. It will be a reminder that, no matter how old I am, I can always find joy in the simplest of activities.

Amazon says my jump rope will arrive this Wednesday. I’ll be jumping with the Jump Rope Dudes by Wednesday evening. I’ll keep you posted.

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