The Art Of Double Dutch

Whatever happened to that clever & exciting urban game of Double Dutch?  For those who do not know, Double Dutch is a rope skipping exercise played when two ropes are turned in eggbeater fashion. While the ropes are turned, a third person jumps within and maintains a rhythm, cool footwork, in order to avoid hitting the ropes. It was a favorite past time of mine and it included playing on the sidewalk along with singing rhymes. Double Dutch involves coordination, timing and cooperation. It’s definitely a teamwork effort. doubledutch3 The ones who turn the rope have to be in tune with each other, handling the rope firmly, hitting the pavement on a beat. I remember having to count to myself before I jumped in the rope. The object was to wait for the rope to go up as in opening a tent, and you stepped in and started moving. Knowing when to jump in and out was important to the game. Unlike single rope jumping, Double Dutch required good perception and a lithe body. So much fun, a single roper was great to watch but every now and then, there were two ropers who decided to test their skills and jump together. To me, that was like rainbow sprinkles on an ice cream cone. Jumping together, each one had to be on point with their moves, yet there was room to “do your own thing” for example, one could decide to “criss-cross” their feet while the other would do a “two-step”. Some even got the hang of doing handstands within the rope! Amazing! Holding hands while jumping was also a good move and quite often a favorite. It was a neat exercise and it helped to draw a bond with many girls, of all cultures. There is a national double dutch league founded by former NYC Police Detective, David A. Walker.( http://www.nationaldoubledutchleague.com) where training workshops and tournaments are held annually. Keep in mind, in order to have the best experience you will need quality, smooth-turning jump ropes. As a child, I remember we used anything we could get our hands on, and it worked. For safety, I would recommend investing in ropes that are durable. I would love to see the legacy continued on, not only in schoolyards, but in many neighborhoods as an alternative to the rise of internet gaming.  Double Dutch has always held a strong and affirming presence in my life and I’m sure countless others. Ultimately, having a healthy environment where kids live, eat and play sounds like a dream we can all make into a reality. One step at a time. Double-Dutch-2013