Howard’s Kangaroo Kids-Part II

Today’s post is the second in a series about our two Kangaroo Kids and their recent performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Yesterday, we heard from junior Devin Meek. Today, it’s freshman Maria Ciarrochi’s turn to share her story. Check it out:


“J.U.M.P, you may now enter the parade!”  The announcer’s voice boomed through the speakers on the streets of New York City.  I waited anxiously as the coach began counting off to start my rope, and the crowd of millions cheered enthusiastically.  The 3 mile parade route was intense.  It was full of turns and sudden stops, before ending with a 1 minute double dutch performance on live television.  Thousands of police officers and volunteers lined the parade route, taking video of us as we jumped down the streets.

Before arriving in New York on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the Kangaroo Kids (my home team) had been preparing since August.  From outdoor practices around Howard’s track twice a week, to practicing in an empty parking lot if the track was unavailable.  We might have a 1 mile sunny practice, or a 3 mile practice in the cold rain.  All of the practices were definitely worth it.  The experience of the Macy’s Parade was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one that I was fortunate enough to participate in twice! I was invited to jump in the parade in 2013, again with the group J.U.M.P (Jumpers United for the Macy’s Parade).  The group was organized by Pam and Ken Evans, coaches of Heartbeats Jump Rope Team from Cleveland, Ohio.  The Evanses put so much work into organizing all these jumpers, and I am so grateful for their hard work because it allowed so many of us this incredible experience.  Not many teenagers are able to say they were part of the Macy’s Parade!

I have been jumping for 9 years as a Kangaroo Kid and I fully believe in the mission of this team: to promote physical fitness through the sport of jump rope.  I love being able to do that not only through demonstrations and competitions, but through coaching younger jumpers as well. There are so many amazing opportunities that my sport has blessed me with. This past summer I was able to go to Walt Disney World and compete in the USA National Competition as well as travel to Virginia Beach for the AAU Junior Olympics.  The friendships I have made, not only on my own team, but also on teams across the U.S., are ones that will last a lifetime.  I have made friends on teams from Connecticut and Florida, to Idaho and California.  I have known my best friend since 4th grade all because of Kangaroo Kids.  I am so thankful for the amazing and unique sport of jump rope.

For more information about the sport of jump rope or Kangaroo Kids, please visit  Photo creds go to Michael and Erin McGuire for their Macy’s pictures!


Maria Ciarrocchi

Class of 2019

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