There are several organizations that are dedicated to competitive jump rope and to the spreading of the sport of jump rope. The two national ones we have here are USA Jump Rope and AAU Jump Rope. There are also two international organizations called FISAC and World Jump Rope. Each of them have different rules and different events that are used in competition. There are events involving one, two, three, four, and even up to 20 people. There are three categories of events. The first events in competition are speed events. This is when the jumper uses a bare airplane wire rope and jumps with alternating feet for a certain amount of time based on which event it is. There are four judges surrounding them on a floor with grid shaped tape lining 20 separate stations. The judges have small clickers and click every time the jumper’s right foot hits the ground. The second kind of event is power. Power is the least common of the events due to the fact that it is very hard on the body. During power it is the same floor set up as speed. Except, instead of alternating their feet the jumpers jump high into the air and turn the rope under themselves either two or three times before their feet hit the ground again. There are double unders where the rope goes under the jumpers feet twice and triple unders when the rope goes under the jumpers feet three times. For triple unders, it is usually who ever can do the most of them without messing up. Once a jumper messes up they are “out”. The last, but possibly most important category of events,is freestyle. In these events there is a panel of judges and the jumpers perform in front of them. The jumpers have a space constraint and certain kinds of tricks that they must include in their routines. These routines are also timed and sometimes put to music depending on what competition they are competing in. The routines are then scored and the ones with the highest scores win.
The other side to jump rope is the teaching and performing aspect of it. Us jump ropers are ALL about the learning and teaching of tricks. We also LOVE to perform them for everyone to see. We have performed on America’s Best Dance Crew, Ellen, America’s Got Talent, The Macy’s Day Parade on NBC, and so much more. We have also been lucky enough to perform for people such as Colin Powell, Barrack Obama, Michelle Obama, Keke Palmer, Corbin Bleu, and other celebrities. Not only is jump rope getting into high places, but it is also spreading among the public. Thousands of kids every year join these teams around the world and help to promote the sport of jump rope. I have been lucky enough to help teach these thousands of kids all around the country. The best part about this sport is that everyone wants to teach and learn from everyone. It is very common to have many different friends from other teams. Also, everyone cheers everyone on during competition. This is something very unique to our sport. We all just love it so much and want everyone to love it as much as we do.
Jump rope is not all fun and games though. It is hard core. You need to be in tip- top shape year round. Injuries are very common. Personally, I have had tendinitis in about 5 spots, popped my SI joint twice, set a tendon off track in my knee, dislocated six ribs from my sternum, constant knots in my hips, shifted a bone in my wrist, and something that is called “spots” that hurt in my back from all the constant impact. As you can see, jump rope is no joke. It is constant impact all the time on your body. We are constantly flipping around and falling, but we are very good at getting back up again.
Just like any other competitive sport, we have those crazy obsessive parents who drive everyone crazy. This is actually part of why I left my team of 10 years. Because the parents would not give me a break. Never underestimate a bored housewife with nothing better to do than pick on 15 year old kids. Even though there are SO many great people in the jump rope world who I absolutely adore, there are those few who really just need an attitude adjustment. I am not say this just to bad talk them. I am saying this because I am trying to give you the most accurate information about the world of jump rope, and this happens to be a part of it. These few people did get to me for awhile, as I assume they get to everyone, but I have realized that the amount of wonderful people in our world out numbers the others by so many that it is not even worth worrying about anymore.
Jump rope is my life, and has been for a very long time now. I have been all around the world to compete and I would not trade any of my experiences for the world. I think jump rope is one of the only things, besides cats, that I am truly passionate about. I could go on and on about how great this sport is,and there is not many other things that I could do that with. I am so lucky to have found something I love this much. Most people never get the opportunities that I have had and I am so grateful for all of them. From the good in my life, to the bad, to the sad, and to the happy, jump rope has always been there for me and always will be.
This summer I will be going with one other JMU student, Natalie Fioretto, to the World Jump Rope Pan- American Competition in Florida. I have also applied to be a World Jump Rope Ambassador. This means that I will help teach kids and spread the sport of jump rope directly through this organization with other young adults around the country.
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