Until recently, I found jump rope a frightening and unpleasant activity.
My deftness as a dancer never translated to deftness a double-dutcher, or even as a single-dutcher. Imagine my displeasure when last week Danielle discovered the jump ropes amongst our basket of a sports goodies and decided to bring it to class for the girls.
When we arrived on the court with the sogas, or ropes, a majority of the girls were very excited to play one of their favorite games, while a few were anxious because they did not believe themselves to be very skilled at “saltando la soga.” I completely empathized with the latter group, and was determined myself to stick to turning the jump rope.
As we began class, I watched in amazement as girls fearlessly ran at the rope. As a child I was used to starting with the rope at my feet, in between the two people who were turning it. As if jumping that way were not hard enough, our chicas dinámicas all insisted upon saltando “con entrada,” or with entrance, which means that Danielle and I would start turning the rope and the girls would enter while it was already turning. Most of the girls entered with ease and without hesitation. Those who were hesitant and had less experience jumping rope were cheered on by their classmates and eventually ran at the rope with a big smile on their face, even if their attempt resulted in a head-on collision.
I was in awe of these brave chicas. There were those who scoffed in the face of the oncoming rope, courageously entering and jumping without breaking a sweat. However, I was even more impressed by the girls who faced their fear of the rope and came out victorious. Some had to endure multiple collisions and failed attempts before they got in a single hop, but we were all ecstatic once they were successful.
Watching their daring and determination, I was inspired to confront the rope myself (and was also half-forced by the girls who insisted that the profes have a turn). My first attempt was met with the rope landing square on my head. Next I was able to enter unscathed, but jumped too early and was met with the rope again. I was also met with laughter from the girls, but of course along with encouragement to try again. Finally on my third try, I was able to enter and jump successfully!
The next day I was excited to bring the jump ropes and help more girls feel that same exhilarating feeling of conquering the soga. No girl would sit out, no girl would shrink away in fear. With our support and encouragement, all would confront the rope, and jump.