Jammed into something new

 

When graphic designer Cory Gerard created an experimental iPhone game called “Jump Fuzzy Jump,” he never dreamed the trial venture would drag him into the world of competitive jump rope. And that’s because he’d never heard of competitive jump rope.  It’s not surprising – the sport is not exactly plastered all over TV screens and sports magazines.Kate Dolan supports Jump Rope Jam

But now he’s on a mission to change all that. Together with jumping expert Brandon Harrison, Gerard has started Jump Rope Jam, a media presence designed to raise public awareness of the sport of jump rope. Jump Rope Jam includes a website and regular podcasts with guest speakers, plus a blog, Instagram feed (@JumpRopeJam,) Facebook page and more.

How did someone who’d never heard of competitive jump rope suddenly find himself devoting substantial time and energy to help the sport gain recognition? First, the jumpers found his game. Then they found him. Brandon Harrison, a speed record holder who has jumped with the Green Belt S.I.T.Y. Stars since he was five-years-old, connected with Gerard and shared his infectious passion for the sport. After talking to Brandon and other jumpers and watching numerous videos, Gerard was soon hooked.

They began to share a vision of a world with jump rope as a mainstream sport enabling athletes to continue in the sport beyond their high school years . So they formed Jump Rope Jam with the goals of helping to unite the community, to provide a platform for jumpers to make a living participating in the sport, to push the sport into a larger audience, and finally to make jump rope an Olympic event.

As part of the platform, they also try to make life a little easier for jumpers. For instance, many jumpers like to produce videos showing their art, but if they set the video to music that is copyright protected, they face prosecution or at the very least, removal of the video from online sites. So Jump Rope Jam provides free music jumpers can use with their videos.

The site also includes feature stories on some of the most important athletes in the sport including Harrison, Zac Tomlinson, Maddy DeAngelo, Kaitlyn Simpson, and Dylan Plummer. It’s all new and just getting started and jumpers, coaches, fans and judges are encouraged to register for free to become part of the online community.  Check it out now at Jump Rope Jam. Those interested in sharing ideas or being part of a podcast are invited to send info to contact@jumpropejam.com. And if you want to know more about Cory’s design work, visit Doodle Laboratory.

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I first learned of the sport of competitive jump rope when my daughter, Meg, saw the Kangaroo Kids perform at a college basketball halftime show. We went to the team’s website to see how she could join the team, and we haven’t stopped since. She’s about to complete her tenth year jumping this summer by joining teammates to compete in the USA Jump Rope National Competition at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World and at the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston Texas. I  coached with Kangaroo Kids for 8 years and now work with a Baltimore team called Jump for Joy. To get a different perspective on the sport of jump rope, check out my latest mystery, Roped In.

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