For freshman Adele Rosenthal, jump roping isn’t the 10-minute recess activity that’s usually seen at elementary schools—it’s a commitment she’s made for 10 years of her life.
Adele’s love for jump rope started not on the playground, but in her own home.
“My dad tore a tendon in his ankle and part of his rehab was to jump rope,” Adele said. “I came down the stairs one day and saw him jumping, and I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Adele wasn’t magically given the talent to jump though. After working hard for many years, she joined a jump roping team in Santa Clara. Through all her hard work and struggles, she still remembers difficulties in her jump roping career.
“I did my routine wrong during my first competition,” Adele said. “This particular competition used music and I didn’t know that you had to wait for the judges to call you. I had no idea what the protocol was, so I just went onto the floor and did my whole routine.”
Even after that embarrassing event, Adele still faced more
difficulties in the jump roping world.
“When you’re with the same people for 10 years … you have to work so closely with everyone,” Adele said. “It’s the three of you putting everything you have into one routine for a minute and 15 seconds. You all have to work and agree … at times we can be pretty horrible to each other.”
But even with the obstacles that she had to overcome in the beginning, Adele has managed to gain national recognition for her jump roping abilities. Adele has been jumping with Sol Jumpers, the team she’s been with for 10 years. After practicing five days a week with weekend practices from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Adele has climbed up to competing in the top three youth and top three masters division of the International Rope Skipping Federation (FISAC).
She has also recently become part of America’s national jump rope team.
“The FISAC World Championships and Youth Tournament are basically the Olympics of jump rope,” Adele said. “I’ve been training for 10 years to make it onto the team.”
Despite making it to the top level, Adele is still pushing the limits of jump rope to find a way to make herself better.
“[I’m] never done,” Adele said. “There’s always another competition; there’s always another chance to beat your last score. [Jump rope] consumes my life. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
After making it to the national level, Adele sees the progress she has made to reach her high hopes.
“I used to get so nervous that I basically couldn’t [jump], I couldn’t move and I would cry,” Adele said. “Getting rid of the nerves and anxiety has been huge. I train all year to do a one minute routine on the floor … The amount of pressure and fear is just huge.”
However, being surrounded by jumpers and truly dedicating her life to jump rope has helped Adele embrace her passion for jump rope even more.
“It’s weird to see so many jumpers because I didn’t know there were people like me,” Adele said. “The jump rope world is so different compared to anything. The motto for USA Jump Rope is ‘You gotta see it to believe it,’ and it’s true.”
But even though Adele loves the world that she is a part of, people still do not see the beauty of the sport of which she is so proud.
“A lot of people who jump rope get teased for it,” Adele said. “Even at our competition in Santa Clara a couple years ago, people were booing and saying mean things. People think about little girls on the street when they hear jump rope. It’s not a recreational thing and that’s what people don’t realize. But it’s so much more than that.”
In the end, Adele still stands by her love for jump rope and always looks forward to an opportunity to share her world with everyone else.
“Performing is the best way to show people what competitive jump roping really is,” Adele said. “We love showing competitive jump rope to people for the first time, because the reactions are priceless. It was cool to be in the Diversity Assembly because people don’t usually think of jump roping to be something competitive. But it’s a diverse thing to do. It’s special.”