Picture yourself in a gymnasium. You hear something. It sounds like a basketball being dribbled down the court, but it can't be. The sound is too light and airy. Not the solid sound you're used to. What is it? You ask as you turn your head this way and that. Finally your eyes rest on three girls and what looks like two ropes being turned around and around. Two of the girls are holding the ropes firmly in their hands, turning them in a circle. The ropes turn fast and make you dizzy watching them twirl in time to a beat. One, two, one, two, one, two, each rope cries out its beat. But you don't know which rope said what.
Your attention is drawn away from the ropes to one of the girls turning. To the left of her is the third girl. She is watching the ropes carefully. Suddenly she throws herself forward and lands safely inside the twirling ropes then starts lifting her feet up and down to the rhythm of them. One, two, one, two. Each foot making a slap as it hits the ground. Then she starts to turn to the right with her left foot lifted and lets her turners count to eight. She finishes the circle and jumps twice then switches direction and foot and repeats what she just did. Your mouth hangs open as she jumps twice again then crosses her feet twice in one direction and twice in the other.
She then lifts her legs high and commands the turners to speed up. You hear the ropes slap harder on the court as you hear the turners call out "One, one, two, two, three, three..." until they reach ten. The ropes slow down and the girl's feet slow with them. She jumps toward the turner in front of her and skillfully exits the ropes. The turners stop turning the ropes and set them gently on the ground.
You find yourself clapping loudly and two girls turn red as they thought they had been practicing without spectators watching. The third and less bashful girl playfully bows and smiles at you. They introduce themselves. The girl who just jumped is Tina and the two turners are Daisy and Kim. "What activity is this?" you ask as you point towards the ropes that lie on the court.
"It's Double Dutch", replies Kim, "Tina here was doing compulsory." "Oh," you say, "are there any other exercises you do in the ropes?" "Yes!" exclaims Daisy then blushes at the loud sound her voice made. Kim laughs then says "As Daisy just exclaimed there are a few other things you can do. Like speed and tricks. Daisy does speed and I do tricks." "Wow," you say, "Can you show me?" "Sure." Kim answers.
The team turns back to the ropes. This time Kim is the one jumping. But she doesn't stand next to a turner; instead she takes her place a couple feet to the side of the still ropes. Daisy and Tina pick the ropes up but don't turn them instead they spread them further apart and turn their heads to look at Kim. She nods at them, does a cartwheel and lands with both feet inside the gap the other girls made. The turners start to turn the ropes and Kim lifts her feet so she doesn't stop them. Then Tina calls out "jumping jacks" and Kim obeys. Tina calls out other tricks such as "clap under legs, foot in the back, foot in the front, low stoop" and a few others. You are amazed as Kim flips in and out of the ropes. When they finish you clap and hoot your approval. Kim beams with pride while the others blush.
Kim runs to the bleachers and takes a gulp of water then runs back to take Daisy's end of the rope. Daisy takes her place next to Kim and signals them to start turning. The ropes turn and shout their beat to Daisy. She throws herself into the twirling ropes and commands the other girls to speed up. Her feet fly up and down. She commands the ropes to go faster and faster and faster till her feet can no longer be seen. Kim and Tina's arms twirl the rope as fast as they can, huffing all the while and calling out "Breath, higher feet and one, two, one, two" whenever Daisy slacks. After a minute Daisy shouts out "Slow down!" and they obey. For fifteen seconds Daisy jumps slowly, catching her breath. Then she shouts for the turners to turn faster. The ropes speed up and Daisy's feet with it. Then Kim calls "Time!" and both turners slow the ropes. Daisy jumps toward Tina and sails out of the rope breathing heavily.
Again you clap, amazed at what you have just seen. "That was AWESOME!" you exclaim as the weary team trots over to where you are standing. "Thanks." Daisy says while she reaches for her water. "Yeah," Kim agrees, "but you should see the double teams. That's even better!"
"Really?" you ask "How?" "Well," explains Tina, "instead of three people on a team you have four." "How do you do the different things in the rope?" you ask, puzzled. "Two people jump." Says Kim. "For compulsory two jump and two turn," Daisy explains, "for tricks it's the same but for speed it's a little different. Instead of two people jumping at the same time the two jumpers jump separately; one for one minute and the other for one minute." "Mmmm..." you say as you ponder all you've been told. "That's really amazing."
You lower your head in thought. Maybe I should try it sometime you think. When you raise your head to ask the team a question your eyes meet nothing but the empty court. Not even the ropes are there. You shake your head in bewilderment and walk out of the gym, promising yourself to sign up for the next class on Double Dutch.