Remember last week when I told you about learning how to do double jumps and how hard I worked to perfect them? Well, every year there was a jump rope contest. Each school was represented. There was the girls and the boys contests. The PE teacher, who was Mr. Bucklin at the time, chose who from each class would represent their school at the contest.
We practiced and practiced and then practiced some more. I was in 4th grade at the time at Lincoln Elementary School. The house was the Prospect House.
Every recess a bunch of us girls jumped rope. A lot of times I played football with the boys, but it was jump rope season now and that meant practicing every chance I got. There were several good jump ropers in our grade and we all wanted to go to the competition.
Mr. Bucklin was super tall. He had blond hair and glasses. He was really nice and we all liked him as a PE teacher. He had a hard job. He had to choose who was going to go to the contest. It was narrowed down between me and Marianne Bassett. Marianne was a really good jump roper. This was going to be a tough decision for him.
It was the day. The day of decision. The day to see who would represent the Lincoln Elementary School 4th grade class. Would it be me or would it be Marianne?
I can still picture us on the playground, jump ropes in hand. We were on the west side of the building, near the double doors. That was the flattest spot on the playground. It was good cement, like sidewalk cement, not the other rough stuff the rest of the playground was made of. Mr. Bucklin had us start with plain old jumps, then we moved into criss cross and backwards jumps, criss cross backwards, fancy foot work and double jumps. We got to show off a little bit. I remember doing criss cross double jumps backwards and frontwards. Marianne could do them too. I don’t know how he was going to pick. Why couldn’t we both go? Well, it doesn’t work that way, obviously. He finally picked. He picked me!! I was elated. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to go to the contest. I felt bad for Marianne though. She worked just as hard as I had.
The contest was a few weeks later. It was at the Junior High school in the gym. It seemed like there were a ton of people there watching. It also seemed like there were a ton of competitors. It is kind of a blur what happened next. I can’t remember if girls went first or if boys went first and if each grade went in order. That part is a blur. I do remember the jump roping part. I remember there was a line of judges and we were facing them. They would call out the jumps that we were supposed to do. I specifically remember doing double jumps during the contest, and jumping fancy footwork style too. I also remember making sure not to miss. I don’t know if points were deducted for missing, but it would only make sense.
It was hot and it seemed like the contest took forever. When all was said and done, I won!!! I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my parents. At the same time I wondered why they hadn’t come to the contest and watched. I always wondered that. Always.
Our house was about three or four blocks from the school. I ran all the way home. I always took the shortcut home. Up the alley. That’s the shortcut. Up the alley from the Zesto. I slowed down when I was almost to the house. I could see dad out watering the grass. I walked up to him with my hands behind my back and was pretending to be sad. He asked me how I did. Instantly the giant smile appeared and the hand came flying from behind my back holding the first place ribbon.
He was happy for me. I was happy for me. I won the jump rope contest.