Competitive jumping rope team double-dutches to success

Competitive jumping rope team double-dutches to success

February 04
04:13 2016

Victoria Monteros | Staff Writer

@ToriLaSuper

For 11 years, competitive jumping rope team the Falcon Flyers have been performing in the North Texas region.

Created by coach Wendy Bailey, the team is comprised of 44 members aged from fourth to 12th grade. Bailey, a former physical education teacher from Lake Dallas Independent School District, taught P.E. for 18 years. As a new teacher she attended a state P.E conference, where she became more aware of jumping rope and took a double-dutch workshop.

She took the sport back to her fifth-grade students, but few showed interest. When a performance team from Grandview came to visit, she reached out to them instead.

“I said, ‘How do you learn this? I’ve been wanting to teach this,’” Bailey said. “They told me, ‘Go to the USA Jump-Rope website,’ and I did.”

The next weekend, Bailey attended a workshop for jumping rope. She then went on to recruit more children.

“I took 10 kids I picked just randomly off the playground and thought [about] who would have a good attitude and wouldn’t be rude at this workshop, who had good stamina and coordination,” Bailey said. “I took some kids and fell in love with it and started an after-school club, which turned into a national competitive team.”

Viri Apaez and Flor Cedillo practice jump roping together at their after school program Falcon Flyers. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Viri Apaez and Flor Cedillo practice jumping rope together at their after school program Falcon Flyers. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

The team participates in speed events, both single- and double-dutch ropes, free style events and team shows, which are four to five minutes in length and can include up to 30 individuals on the floor.

Assistant coach Katelyn Romero, currently a sophomore at TWU, originally started jumping rope on the Jumping Jammers and has been jumping since second grade. She discovered the sport through a childhood friend and has since fallen in love with it.

“I like being able to be creative when I am creating routines,” Romero said. “I enjoy being creative with kids, working back and forth with kids.”

A kinesiology pre-occupational therapy major, Romero also said working with the kids frequently enables her to observe their jumping abilities and see their motor skills develop.

The members of the Falcon Flyers are visibly energetic, enthusiastic and diligent, dedicating hours to practice and eager to learn new skills.

“You get to jump in front of people and you get to show what you’re really good at,” fifth grader and Falcon Flyer Cedillo said. “And then I like it when they applaud [sic] at you and it makes you really happy.”

Yenna Hall and her sister Jina Hall are both in the Falcon Flyers and double dutch rope together. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Yenna Hall and her sister Jina Hall are both in the Falcon Flyers and jump double-dutch together. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

Aside from the great physical benefits and showcasing opportunities, being in the Falcon Flyers provides a benefit that goes beyond physicality. They learn valuable lessons of discipline, independence, good manners, responsibility and giving back to the community.

“I think [my favorite part is] helping the younger ones get new tricks and watching them make new routines,” Falcon Flyer and Denton high school junior Stephen Miles said.

The team works with the American Heart Association and has appeared on live news broadcasts, getting the chance to meet news anchors and observe what goes on behind the scenes. They have also performed for professional and college sports events including Texas Legends games and, most recently, a UNT women’s basketball game.

“I think what I like the most about it is the door opens for other opportunities and it teaches them responsibility,” Bailey said.

Featured Image: The Falcon Flyers team practices after school to perfect their competition routines. Hannah Ridings | Senior Staff Photographer

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