Jumping rope used to be a solitary sport—rhythmic and just a tad repetitive. No longer. Limp ropes swing into perfectly paired arches with the Illinois Double Dutch League where kids jump with hands, feet and everything they’ve got.
With 15 teams and about 150 kids, the league allows kids to perform and compete. Their routines include gymnastics and hip hop dances, with cool tricks like pushups, round offs and flips.
Double Dutch itself is somewhat of a new sport—the first league was formed in New York in 1973. Now it’s being pushed as a possible Olympic sport. "It’s something fresh and it has that level of excitement and individuality," says league President Shelia Kellogg. "You can be different and original and bring your own style."
Chances are if your kids tuned in to Disney’s TV movie "Jump In!," starring former Chicagoan Keke Palmer, they’ll want to try it out. "It’s so fun," says Deonte Jones, 14, who joined Kellogg’s team about a year ago. "And you can just do stuff for you."
The IDDL is encouraging kids to join or to form new teams with the help of their parents or community schools, churches and park districts. Teams can be as small as three people or as big as you want. League membership is $12 a person for one year, and children over age 8 can enter competitions. The league can provide guidance and host workshops while connecting teams together.
"The important thing is that you have an adult who’s willing to put the time in," Kellogg says. "Once the adult sets up the atmosphere, the kids will come."
If your child wants to join or start a team, contact Shelia Kellogg at (708) 362-9539.