Skipping a generation

I saw a rare sight while walking my dog yesterday. No, it wasn’t an honest politician or a teenager wearing sensible clothes.

It was girls skipping rope.

Have you noticed that kids don’t skip rope anymore? Why not? I would love to know what happened between my generation and the next to create this skipping rope disconnect.

I don’t remember learning to skip—it seems that I always did it. When I was ten years old, I was a super-fast, Double Dutch skipping queen. We had a repertoire of skipping rhymes with phrases like, “Fly away Peter. Fly away Paul,” or “Tell me when your birthday comes. January . . . February . . . March . . .” We even skipped rope when no one was around using the kind that slipped over one ankle with a loop.

A few years ago when I was a Girl Guide Leader, the City of Ottawa Parks and Recreation department offered to send instructors to our unit to teach the girls how to skip. At the time I was astonished. ” What? They don’t know?”

When the skipping instructors came, sure enough, the girls did not know how to jump rope. They floundered like puppies on ice. The couldn’t get the timing right. And Double Dutch? Forget about it. I was doubly shocked, because my daughter was one of the floundering ones. How could it be that my daughter did not know how to skip? I felt like I had failed at parenting in some fundamental way.

What the heck happened?

So, it was with great joy that I saw these two girls in their front driveway. There were only two of them and one rope, so they tied one end of the rope to the lamp-post and took turns spinning and skipping.

They had no idea how happy their innocent fun made me.

I hope skipping is making a comeback. It’s affordable for everyone, and it’s great exercise. For those two reasons alone we should all be doing our bit to bring it back.

I think I’ll head out to buy a rope . . .


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on April 8, 2011, in good faith and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Coincidently, my neighbour’s seven year old daughter was out on their deck this bright sunny morning, skipping up a storm. I didn’t realise why it was that I was fascinanted – until your reminder.

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