Thursday, August 13, 2015

My First Goal

The first goal I remember achieving was teaching myself how to jump rope. I had a jump rope from a very young age, but I had never learned how to do it. I couldn't jump over it more than once in a row. For years, I wasn't particularly interested in learning how to jump rope. I found other uses for my jump rope, like tying one end to a tree and turning it while I watched my imaginary friends jump rope. They were really good at it.

At some point in 4th grade, when I was 9, jumping rope became really popular at recess. Lots of kids brought their jump ropes in from home and had contests. I spent recess watching my friends, wishing that I could join the contests too. After several days of watching, I decided that I was going to teach myself to jump rope . This wasn't peer pressure based - I didn't decide to learn because anyone pushed me to or picked on me for not knowing how. I simply didn't like to spend recess watching the other kids jump and I wanted to be able to join in. So I went home one day and decided that I would learn. 

I wasn't sure how to begin, but I knew that getting the rhythm down and knowing when to jump was essential. I knew my issue was that I couldn't manage to bring the rope back over my head and be ready to jump again after I had jumped once. First, I practiced just swinging the rope over my head several times without jumping, so that my arms could get used to what they needed to do. Then I held the rope off to the side of me with one hand and swung it around at about the same speed that I would swing it to jump rope. When the rope hit the ground, I would jump. I practiced this several times, jumping in time with the rope while I swung the rope off to the side. Then I tried jumping rope again. It still didn't work. So I practiced more jumping in time with the rope while I swung it to the side, then swung the rope over my head a few times without jumping to remind my arms what to do, then tried jumping again. I repeated this process several times, until finally, when I tried jumping rope, I kept going. I just kept jumping and jumping and jumping. I reached 42 jumps before my feet got tangled in the rope. I tried again to make sure it wasn't just a fluke, and it wasn't. I could jump rope now. It was real.

I remember feeling so incredibly proud of myself in that moment. Prouder than any school awards or praise from adults had ever made me. I came up with a method, and it worked! No school, no grownups, no youtube video tutorials. It was me. It was all me. I figured out a method of teaching myself how to jump rope, and it worked! I'm 27 now, and I still remember this as such a precious moment from my childhood. Every time I jump rope now, I remember that 9-year-old girl who taught herself how.


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