I’m a reasonably fit adult that enjoys working out but I can’t jump rope because jump rope is hard. It is completely impossible for me to do. Which is really frustrating for me! Because it’s good exercise and it definitely seems fun for those that have it figured out.
But jump rope is hard and I can’t do it.
As a kid I loved watching Sesame Street, like most kids. But the main reason I loved Sesame Street was because it had the little live video interludes where it showed kids in cities. City kids! I had a thing for city kids. Even at a young age I was bored as hell in my rural town and I loved everything city related. So if I saw kids in a place with concrete and a lot of buildings and not as many trees as the places I saw every day, I was like OMG CITY KIDS.
One of the things the “city kids” (based on my definition as a 5 year old), did in these interludes was jump rope. And they were so good at it! And they did it as a whole group! With some kids manning the rope and some kids jumping in and my mind was blown. I couldn’t wait to go to real school and have recess and learn to jump rope.
I knew I was gonna kill it.
Obviously I was wrong because I can’t jump rope at all to this day. Because jump rope is hard.
On the playground at recess and during gym class we were given these weird plastic jump ropes that made a loud ass sound when they hit the ground and that made me really nervous. I also realized that jumping up and then throwing a rope under myself at foot level and then jumping up again was a recipe for tripping myself and a guaranteed way to face plant.
I did not want to face plant. That’s the moneymaker, baby.
So I kind of gave up on jump rope after that. I watched others and sometimes flopped around with the rope, especially if it was gym class and they forced me to for a grade. But I no longer felt the excitement I felt while watching the city kids on Sesame Street. The love was gone.
A little later in childhood they came out with SkipIt, which was different than a jump rope but utilized the same skills. Needless to say I was not able to master the SkipIt or even get any reps around. It counted the reps I think? Bossy little thing.
We didn’t have it at our house because I thought it was trash but sometimes I would see a dormant SkipIt in the grass or the garage at a friend’s house and silently project into the universe, “My friend BETTER NOT make me use that SkipIt today because I will be PISSED.”
I think they got the message. My friends knew I was no athlete and I just wanted to play dress up and create elaborate historical narratives. I mean come on.
Later in high school when I WAS an actual athlete, I still could not jump rope. During this time time I was practicing cheerleading 6 days a week and had a competition or game on the 7th day. It was a lot. My body was very strong and in constant motion. I also didn’t drink so my fuel was relatively pure if you overlook my constant intake of bagels, spaghetti-o’s, and Oreos.
I still could not jump rope. And if they made us at cheerleading practice as part of conditioning I was PISSED.
Stuff I can’t do really pisses me off.
Jump rope didn’t really cross my mind again until a couple of years ago when it came up at the gym one day during a cardio song. They were like “Grab your jump ropes! Yay!” And I was like, “Not yay but okay.”
I struggled through this part of the class while mostly everyone else casually and expertly and happily jumped rope. This was fun and nostalgic for them! They remembered the happy times on the playground!
Those times did not come to my mind. I just struggled and got more pissed and gave up and just jumped up and down while holding the rope and hoped no one would notice.
The jump rope came up again at the gym this morning and I think I handled it a little better. I just did my own personal jump rope move that involves hopping over one foot at a time and tried to focus on not tripping and falling on my face and dying.
Because that DOES happen.
It’s possible I could learn how to do it, I guess. I do think people can learn new things as they get older. I like to think there’s not a cap on that. Even physical things! But within reason, like I’m not going to be able to teach my peers to do backflips because that time has passed. But jump rope seems like a reasonable and possible thing to learn if I tried hard enough, had a good teacher, and put in the reps/took the time to do it.
Maybe I’ll try.
At some point in the history of time I knew a guy that told me he went to a pier to jump rope on his breaks from working at a bar in Manhattan. This really charmed me for some reason. I guess I really admired his skill since I don’t have that skill.
Of course I never SAW him jump rope, I just assumed he had to be good at it if he was enjoying it on a pier in his free time.
As with everything, I created a story of him in my mind and defined him solely by my perception of him and I need to stop doing that and I’m sorry. But I pictured a pier in the Hudson River in front of the Manhattan skyline and the sun was setting and it was summer, and there he was, a city kid grinning and jumping rope in the golden light.
PS I’m unclear on the grammar/verb/sentence structure of this activity and was unsure if it was “jump rope” or “jumping rope” or whatever and I’m sorry.