I've already mentioned that I wasn't popular growing up. I was never less so than when we moved from Utah to southern California. I was in the socially important sixth grade and I was the only girl without bangs. You remember, the big poofy kind with a half a can of hair spray keeping it's upper reaches hovering 15 inches above your forehead. Yeah, I didn't have those. At least not until we had lived there for a couple of months. Then I saw the necessity. I remember when I came to school with my new cut bangs, styled the requisite 15 inches over my head, one of the girls in my class actually spoke to me. She said, "Your hair looks much better that way." I remember taking that as a compliment.
There was one other thing that was different about me when we first moved there that may also have contributed to my initial appearance of nerdiness. That was that I spent every second of every recess jump roping (I hate the term "jumping rope" so, if you don't, please get used to "jump roping", if only for this post. I've already separated the words for spell checker's sake, although I like "jumproping" the best). I know almost every girl jump ropes at some point in Elementary school, but by sixth grade, it's really no longer the thing. Or even one of the things.
In Utah I had been on a jump rope team, or jump team (the Jumpin' Jazz) in my Elementary school through 5th grade and the first three months of 6th, at which point we moved. Many of my friends were on the team. We practiced after school, learned tons of cool tricks and made up routines to our favorite music. We had "jumpathons" and did "Jump rope for Heart" at the Rec Center. I really loved it. Plus we got out of class every once in a while to do a show at nearby elementary schools or malls. It was considered a pretty cool thing (I think).
Once in California, even if it wasn't considered cool to jump rope in sixth grade, a few of my friends started jumping with me and everyone had to admit that those tricks were pretty cool. Of course they never did admit it in so many words, but they left me alone, and, with sixth graders, that itself shows that I was okay by them. Well, Michael Durbin and his friends would always call out to me in high pitched voices, "Jazz! Jazz! Jumpin' Jazz!", but I admit that I provoked this, as I repeatedly wore my uniform top to school. As the year wore on girls in the younger grades would point at me as I passed in the halls or come up and watch me jump during recess, sometimes asking for tips. It was kind of cute to have a little fan club. Needless to say, you could see WAY more jump ropes turning during recess by the end of the year than when I first got there.
Of course, the next year I went to Jr. High where I did NOT jump rope in between classes, but I was happy whenever I passed my old Elementary school during recess time (not sure exactly why or how this would have happened, since I was supposed to be at school myself, but I remember that it did happen) and saw that there were still tons of girls (that's many thousands of pounds of girls) jump roping.
My own children have not taken to jump roping until this summer. As in-they jump rope with significantly less skill than their peers. This is mostly because I spent the last two summers either pregnant or with a newborn and therefore had very little desire to "get ready for the day"and take my kids down the 9 stories to the playground to sit with them while they practiced. That's how lazy I am. But we're going to reeeeeeeally make up for it this summer. I've decided that I want to jump rope every day for my exercise. I started yesterday with about 5-10 minutes of not-so-continuous jumping. When Greg got home from work, I told him that you can totally feel how good jump roping is for you, because, apart from the wonders it works aerobically, my leg muscles hurt while I was jumping, and my arms started to, too. His reply- "Well, I haven't been jump roping and my back hurts, so NOT jump roping must be good for you, too."
Then I got this great idea, which I shared with my husband. I thought it would be fun to offer jump roping lessons to kids in the neighborhood. I was thinking that it would be a great summer activity to keep kids active, doing something different, learning a new skill, making new friends etc. Greg wasn't all that excited about it and asked, "Do you think there's a market for it?" It sounded like he kind of meant, "Do you think parents have been waiting for the day someone would finally offer jump roping lessons?" But, like in elementary school, people just have to get used to the idea.
I think it's kind of like with tap dancing. I've always had this secret desire to learn to tap dance well. I imagine myself tapping alone in a big room, just tapping and tapping and dancing and dancing all around the floor, purely for the joy it brings me. I don't imagine this will ever happen anyway, and I think Greg thinks tap dancing is very dorky. I think he secretly feels the same way about jump roping, although, like the elementary kids, he will admit that some of the tricks are cool.
For me, I will say: sky high bangs? dorky (obviously). Jump roping well? Cool. Tap dancing well? Potentially very cool (but I can see how people think it's a bit tacky, too).