Determined. And stubborn.
I was about seven or eight years old. It was the Euclid house. When I put my mind to something, I didn’t stop until I accomplished what I set out to do. Like a goal. You know that about me, if you have read my posts. Remember the broken collar bone? Yeah. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. Some might say I am still that way. I think they are pretty good traits to have, to a point. Determined is great, stubborn maybe not as much. I have gotten way better and have learned to control my stubbornness. I’ve grown. When I was a kid though, it helped me become better at things.
At the back of the Euclid house, outside, there were steps that led to the upstairs apartment. Two women lived there, Myra and Sharon. They were nice and put up with a lot from us. I am sure we were loud and obnoxious. We were always outside so I am guessing they could hear us all the time. The steps were made of wood. I used those steps religiously to up my jump rope game.
I was learning how to do double jumps. These days they are called double unders. I couldn’t do them. I was mad and frustrated and frankly pissed off. Why couldn’t I do them? They seemed easy enough. You jumped and twirled the rope underneath your feet twice. Big deal. Why should that be so hard? Why couldn’t I just do that? I loved jumping rope. I had a jump rope in my hands most of the time when I was a kid. I loved it. It was fun. It was challenging. That’s why I loved it.
The rope itself was not made of rope. It was made of plastic. That part had to be perfect. Not too thick, not too thin, just right. Like Goldilocks. Red Owl (now Dakotamart) is where I bought my jump ropes. They had the best ones for sure. I bought a lot of them. The worst part about finding a favorite jump rope was when they were used so much, they wore out in the middle and broke in half. The concrete did that to them. Back to square one. Good thing jump ropes were cheap. They came in many different colors and lengths. The best way to measure was to step on the jump rope at the center and to hold the handles to your armpits. That was how to measure for length. If it wasn’t measured correctly, jump roping did not work. At all. It messed up the timing.
I came up with a plan on how to finally master the double jumps. I thought about it for days. I tested it multiple times. I was sure it would work. How could it not? I was determined. And stubborn, so it had to work. My plan was to start out on the bottom step. I would stand on the step sideways. I would then jump off the step to the side and perform the double jump. I figured I would get higher in the air and then be able to turn the rope faster and therefore be able to get it twirled twice under my feet. A few times I jumped too far to the side and lost my balance. Several times I landed on my knees. But I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I kept trying. Nothing was going to stop me. Timing was everything, when it came to jump rope. If the timing wasn’t there, it just was not going to work.
I would get off the step and practice other jumps. Criss cross, backwards jumping, backwards criss cross, front criss cross, moving the feet AND the elusive double jump. I still couldn’t get the timing down. Back to the step it would have to be.
Standing on the step, I got the jump rope behind me and told myself this was it. It was time to get this. Because I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I jumped and twirled the rope at the same time. It felt like slow motion. It felt like this time it was going to happen. I could feel it. The jump rope twirled twice under my feet and I landed on the ground without falling! I was elated. I did it. I did a double jump. I did it! Holy crap, time to try again. I got up on the step again. I repeated everything as before, step by step. I did it again! It worked, again! I was so excited.
Well, you know what came next, right? Of course I had to try it off the step. I made it a big production, even though I was by myself. I acted like I was on a stage and I had no choice but to do it. I had no choice but to get this jump. I was determined. And, I was stubborn. I got in position. Feet together on the ground, jump rope behind me. Deep breath. 1-2-3. I jumped and twirled. Twice. I got it. Again. It felt good. It felt, almost easy. Had I practiced so much that now every piece was going to fall into place, every dot was going to be connected and all of my hard work was going to pay off? Could it be that easy? Could practicing so much really pay off? Why yes, it can. It really can. That is the only way we are going to get better at something. Sometimes we want it right now. I should say a lot of times we want it right now and we are not willing to work for it. I see it all the time. We need to be patient and we need to work and practice something if we want to get better at it. That should be common sense.
After I got the one double jump, I started practicing more and more. I started stringing together one after the other, until I could do 25 unbroken double jumps. I then started practicing backwards double jumps until I perfected those as well. I was so happy with my progress. I was determined to reach my goal. And, I was stubborn.
Be determined. And, be stubborn.