Sailors and Pretty Girls Playing Jump Rope, July 1935
I can remember being about 7 years old; waiting in line to jump rope. There were two big girls swinging the rope and we each had to jump in, one at a time. When it became my turn, the big girls started to swing the rope and count slowly…1…2…3…4…5….6…7…8…9…10. I was doing fine and then one of them yelled "HOT PEPPER". Without any other prior notice, the rope began to turn at a rate that could have accelerated a star ship into hyper drive: 1234567891 arrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh. I went down in a twist of rope, legs and neck. I never really tried to jump rope again (for my article on jump rope chants click here).
This is the agony and ecstacy of jumping rope. In doing an appreciation, I was looking for depictions of people in either an ecstatic or agonized state. It may say something about my jump rope skills but I could not find any good images of the agony. Here then are people loving their jump rope moment:
I rally like the above picture of sailors and girls jumping rope on the beach. They are so much in sync with the rope and themselves.
Any of you who have either read Tom Jones or seen the 1963 movie with Albert Finney will know of Sophia Western, Tom's love interest. Above, we see her in an evocative image of grace and beauty as she is about to jump rope.
Double Dutch Jump Rope in the Streets of Brooklyn
The 25th Annual "Double Dutch Holiday Classic" took place last week, December 4, at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. It's become very international with the best teams coming from places like Sweden and Japan. Yet, for most of us, the iconic image above reminds us of its roots in African American neighborhoods and the energy that these young girls brought to what was once a far more sedate pass time.
The above image of girls jumping the same rope at the same time is a wonderful moment in time as it captures their agility, confidence and grace.
And we end with the little girl shown below, circa 1950's / 1960's, having her moment of joy.