Monday, February 16, 2004

Hearts get pumping when team is jumping

Basic training

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Ropin' Rockets are just jumping to show off their skills.

Members of the Ropin' Rockets practice at the North Avondale Recreation Center.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
Coach Chris Emerson introduced team jump roping to her students at North Avondale Montessori 10 years ago. They've been hopping all over Greater Cincinnati since then as the official demonstration team for the American Heart Association. The group, ranging in age from 6 to 18, "jumps off" to start the association's annual "Jump Rope For Your Heart" programs for 30 to 40 schools in Cincinnati and Clermont County.

What is it?

Competitive jump roping.

How did the team get started?

I am the physical education teacher at North Avondale Montessori. I went to a national physical education convention and saw a jump rope team from Colorado. I was so impressed, I followed them around for a week. I learned many new jump rope skills to teach the children at my school and started a jump rope club after school. One year later, a representative from the American Heart Association visited, told me that my students were terrific and asked if I would like to start a demo jump rope team and perform for schools all over the city.

How much does it cost to get started?

It costs the students only the cost of a jump rope, $3-$5, depending on what type of rope they use (licorice-style or beaded).

What type of equipment do you need?

A lot of jump ropes and double dutch ropes and, because we are a competitive team, speed ropes (which are made of wire and cost $7-$10).

How long does it take to get started?

Just to jump rope, to get a team together, takes several months of whipping them into shape. Jumping rope is a very demanding sport (for the cardiovascular system). It takes a month or two for the children to be able to keep jumping, especially while they are doing all sorts of unimaginable tricks while they jump.

How long did it take to learn?

It takes awhile to learn all sorts of different tricks and double dutch. It takes several months to be good enough to be able to perform. There are several easy tricks beginners can learn and have much success.


Basic Training spotlights Greater Cincinnatians who work hard at having fun. To nominate someone who keeps fit by playing sports or developing a new skill, e-mail, fax 768-8330 or write to Basic Training, The Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. Include a daytime phone number for you and your nominee.

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