Posts Tagged ‘jump rope’

The Dubious History of Jump Rope

Monday, November 16th, 2015

I thought I would combine my favorite subject—history—with the subject of my latest book—jump rope—and write a blog about the history of jump rope. However, I should warn you that I could make up just about anything in this blog and you’d be hard pressed to prove me wrong. It turns out there’s little real evidence about the history of skipping rope.K.D. Hays discusses the history of jump rope
The Jump Rope Institute speculates that the sport began in Egypt where skilled athletes jumped over vines.

The International Rope Skipping Federation says that jump rope originated in ancient China where ropemakers played at game called Hundred Rope Jumping as part of their New Year’s celebrations. (The Traditional Chinese Game League confirms this – more or less. They say jumping rope was called “jumping 100 threads” because a rope circling through the air looked like it had been split into 100 separate ropes. But most of their discussion of the “tradition” involves a Chinese Jump Rope which is a large elastic loop that is nothing like a “western” jump rope.)
The National Double Dutch League suggests that the style of jumping known as Double Dutch, where long ropes are turned toward each other while one person jumps in the middle, originates with ancient Phoenician rope makers. (more…)

Competitive what?

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

During November and December, to celebrate the release of Roped In,  I will be on a “Virtual Book Tour” and posting a series of blogs about jump rope.  Tour stops are listed on my webpage hereRoped In is a Karen Maxwell mystery (which means a detective novel  with humor rather than horror) that delves into the world of competitive jump rope.

Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until about ten years ago when my daughter Meg saw a jump rope team perform during halftime at a college basketball game. She was so excited by their skills and tricks that as soon as she got home, she immediately pulled out a jump rope and tried to jump while bouncing on a ball in the living room. I insisted that she learn how to jump rope without the ball first (and outside rather than in a room full of her grandmother’s antique furniture).  Meg Weidman jumps with her favorite prop

That was the start of our journey into the sport. (more…)

The Rope-Skipping Governess

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Teachers are often put in a difficult position in today’s society, but I think the situation faced by their historical counterparts was often much worse. A governess brought into a home to teach girls and younger boys was expected to be everything but was treated as nothing.

To begin with, according to a servants’ guide published in 1826, any candidate for a governess position had to be “respectable and well-educated.”  That education was supposed to include the ability to  write a “graceful” letter, speak fluent French and have some familiarity with Italian. (The language, not the food.) She should play piano well enough to give lessons, and preferably play harp and guitar as well. She should be able to teach the elements of fashionable dance and “not be ignorant of” arithmetic. (It seems clear that dance was considered more important to the female education than math, however.)  “Of course” the governess was expected to be an expert in all types of needlework, and she should also know geography, popular sciences and literature. And she should be an expert in drawing, as well, because it was “so essential” for the young ladies to achieve proficiency in this skill in order to be considered “accomplished.”

The governess probably would not be attired quite as fashionably as this, but she would be training young ladies who would need to be prepared physically and mentally, to wear this sort of monstrosity

The governess probably would not be attired quite as fashionably as this, but she would be training young ladies who would need to be prepared, both physically and mentally, to wear this sort of monstrosity. Perhaps the recommendation for weight training is not so surprisingly after all…

Nevertheless, the expertise of the governess should be doled out in limited increments so as not to weary their pupils too much. (more…)

Why we love the Olympics even if we don’t like sports

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Even though Americans watch a lot of sports on TV, I think most of us watch the Olympics for the drama rather than actual athletics. Parents who groan at the prospect of sitting through their own children’s swim meets will glue their eyes to the television to catch the expression on Ryan Lochte’s face if he beats Michael Phelps in the 200 IM. Television shows us the drama of the competition up close—we see the relief and exultation when athletes succeed and the agony when they fail or, most heartbreaking of all, when they do their best and their best simply isn’t good enough.

a heat of double dutch power in the 2012 Junior Olympics

The Double Dutch Power event at the 2012 Junior Olympics in Houston

Watching the Olympics is especially poignant for me this year because I just had the opportunity to spend four days working on the floor at the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior Olympic Games in Houston, TX. The athletes competing in these games are not as famous as those competing in London– though some of them eventually may be—and I’ll explain that later. (more…)

Jumping rope and signing books

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Not at the same time.

Meg’s hobby, sport, passion and biggest pastime these days is jump rope. When members of her precision jump rope team, the Kangaroo Kids learned that we’d written a book together, they invited us to hold a book signing during the group’s annual Holiday Hop. I’d really like for people to come out to the event this Saturday from 12-4 p.m. at the Glenwood Community Center in Cooksville, Maryland. But I don’t care if anyone buys our book. I want people to come see what these kids can do with a jump rope. (more…)