Most of us have memories of skipping rope — summer afternoons spent with Double Dutch, and seeing if we could cross the rope between our legs as we jumped. But for the Comet Skippers of Mason, these maneuvers are not just a memory. They’ve entered the world of competitive jump-roping, with aspirations of taking the sport globally.
Three years ago, Carmen and Mike Simpson moved from Texas to Ohio, and formed the Comet Skippers with the hope of fostering and promoting their children’s interest in the sport. Since then, the team, which includes the Simpson children, Stephen, 18, Alexandra, 16, and Katie, 15, has expanded to 65 members, with ages ranging from 7 years old to adult.
And in the mere three years of the team’s existence, they’ve accomplished what many teams can only hope for. Last year, they placed fourth in the national jump rope championships in Orlando, Florida.
“It’s unheard of for a team as new as ours to be winning as much as we have,” coach Carmen Simpson says. “They’ve been so successful so far; they can only get better.”
Toss in tours to Cyprus and Germany, a television spot in Israel and featured roles in an Xbox commercial and the Disney movie “Jump In,” and it’s clear how versatile these athletes are proving themselves to be.
Jump-roping is no mere child’s play for nationally competitive teams. In fact, the Skippers’ routines could be described as Double Dutch meets break dancing. Witnessing even one complex routine sheds some light on the choreography, agility and physical exertion this sport entails.
Last year, the Skippers won the bid to host the 2008 U.S. trials for the International Rope Skipping Federation, the world competition for the sport. In January, teams from all over the country poured into Mason, with hopes of winning a spot on Team USA. Eight Comet Skippers qualified.
With plans for a summer camp and a long-term goal of having jump-roping recognized as an Olympic sport, the Skippers do not plan on slowing down.
“We’re really trying to rock the sport,” Simpson says.
For more information, visit www.cometskippers.org