What did you do for Thanksgiving? While most of us were prepping for a day of gluttonous feasting on turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a cornucopia of other culinary delights, Howard students Devin Meek and Maria Ciarrochi were jump roping their way through the streets of New York City. Find out about their performance on Thanksgiving and their history with jump roping here. First up is Devin Meek:
J.U.M.P in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
I am Devin Meek, currently a junior at Howard High. This Thanksgiving I performed for the second time in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. No, I did not dance. No, I did not sing. I jump roped. Sounds crazy right? What may sound even crazier is that my team and I jumped for three straight miles before performing on live television for millions of viewers on NBC. I was able to perform right alongside with people such as Trey Songz, Mariah Carey, and Dove Cameron. Getting to perform here was not a simple task. My team, J.U.M.P, which stands for Jumpers United for the Macy’s Parade, is a group that consists of the best jumpers from all over the United States. We represented over thirty states, which made it difficult to practice. We had just two practices to prepare with the entire group, one 10 hour practice in Ohio and one 5 hour practice in NYC the day before the parade. This meant we had to trust that everyone was doing their part and training at home. It was super cool having the opportunity to showcase the sport of jump rope for the whole world to see, and watching it all come together through everyone’s individual and group hard work was even more amazing!
Wait wait wait… did you just say jump rope is a sport? If you had a hard time visualizing what we did in the parade, I don’t blame you. If all that you have ever seen is little girls jumping double dutch at a playground, it is very understandable how you don’t see the value in this. When I was six years old, I was at a walk for charity and was watching some local groups perform. Among those groups, one in particular caught my eye: a jump rope performance team called the Kangaroo Kids! They said at the end of their show that there are classes available for six year olds, and after my first class I was hooked. I jumped for four years and decided that I could not get enough of jump rope. I decided to join the competition team on the Kangaroo Kids at age 10, and since then I have been all over the U.S.A competing at national and world competitions. I have earned gold medals in many events. What could someone possibly do in a jump rope competition, you may ask. Let me tell you: generally, there are two types of events, speed and freestyle. You can probably guess what happens in speed, who can get the most jumps in a specific period of time. On average I can jump 300 times in just one minute. That may give you an idea of how fast people jump. Freestyle is my personal favorite. This is where the cool flips and tricks come into play. There are speed and freestyle events for both single rope, double dutch and more. Here are links to my own freestyle videos. These placed in both national competitions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYJvn-6_YUQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YTXSLwFHjs These are really helpful to visualize what jump rope is really like. This is now my 11th year jumping and definitely not my last. Jump rope really is for everyone and I would recommend classes to anyone.
-Devin Meek, class of 2017